BF.C Spring Preview: WR

IF YOU ONLY looked at what the Beavers have on paper at wide receiver this spring, things look pretty sunny for Oregon State. But on paper doesn't always mean the same out on the field.

And OSU is thin.

Oregon State's most visible talent at the receiver position, James Rodgers, is out this spring (knee) and his return in time for the season opener also remains in doubt. Jordan Bishop will be among the walking wounded not participating as well, with an ankle injury. And then there's QB Ryan Katz, whose spring participation level is dubious with a slow-to-heal broken bone in his throwing hand.

That means the offense this spring will probably feature a new QB, trying to get his timing down, with a receiving corps at less than full strength.

Oh, and there's also a new receivers coach in Brent Brennan, so throw in some more changes on top of all that.

Add it all up and some inconsistent play in the OSU air attack might be in the offing this spring.

But there is good news mixed in. Markus Wheaton gave indication last year he's on the verge of becoming a monstrous headache for opposing defensive coordinators.

And Wheaton, (54 catches, 660 yards, 4 TDs) could take his biggest steps towards becoming the true go-to guy for the Beavs this spring -- the main focus of the passing game with Rodgers out.

Two other key factors should be Geno Munoz and Obum Gwacham.

Munoz, with Bishop out, will get every opportunity to show what he can do as the No. 1 slotback this spring. Kevin Cummings is listed behind him, that Munoz moved over to the slot and ahead of Cummings would seem to indicate Cummings has work to do before he's ready to crack the two-deeps and earn playing time.

And Gwacham, now that the OSU staff has had some time to put some polish on him, could be a valuable tool this season -- 6-foot-5 is hard to teach.

A couple of wildcards – Darrell Catchings and Micah Hatfield, and for completely different reasons.

Catchings has started 11 games for Oregon State but his career has been marked by injuries. He finds himself second on the depth chart at flanker entering the spring, but No. 1 is James Rodgers. So this spring, Catchings, a senior, has a golden opportunity to turn that corner and realize his vast potential.

Hatfield is right behind Catchings, as the No. 3 flanker. Whether he's ready to contribute now – he came to OSU skinny as a rail – should be interesting to watch unfold. He's listed at 6-0, 175 pounds this spring.


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