Post Spring Analysis: Linebackers

The word that best describes the Beaver line backing group is DEEP. Despite losing two Beavers to graduation, including one to the NFL, the linebackers are solid with the veteran Richard Seigler at the helm and plenty of game experience scattered between the other nine.

The Beavers started spring practice with 12 players in the line backing corps, but lost Chaz Scott late into April. Despite losing an impressive player, the Beavers are two deep at the every position anchoring the Beaver defense in 2003.

Richard Seigler has been solid for the Beavers the past three years. With his fiery attitude and tenacious work ethic the Las Vegas native is ready to add more accolades to his college football career before moving onto the NFL.

Seigler had a solid spring, showing that he is the leader of the defense, if not the entire football team. His intense, physical play is something that all the younger players can look up to and model their game after.

The 6-foot-3, 239-pound player gives 110-percent every play and does not back down from anybody. Several times during practice, Seigler and an offensive player got into a shouting match. Despite his fieriness, Seigler keeps his cool and rarely goes after another player.

The ferocious linebacker will finish his career as one of the most prolific linebackers in Oregon State football history. This year, Seigler looks to duplicate the senior year performance of Nick Barnett, which could propel him into the first round of the 2004 NFL draft.

Richard Seigler is the heart and soul of the Beaver defense and hopes to lead the team to another successful football season.

Juniors Jonathan Pollard and Seth Lacey flank Seigler. Pollard has a similar attitude to Seigler’s; he loves to hit, he gives 100%, and loves to talk. The 6-foot-1, 232-pound player had a solid spring as he worked on his footwork and quickness.

As the weak side backer, Pollard’s job is to cover the tight end. This was perhaps one of the defense’s weaknesses as the offense threw several times to an uncovered tight-ends. Depending on the defensive scheme, this may or may not have been Pollard’s fault.

On the other side of Seigler is Seth Lacey. Lacey does not talk as much as the other starting backers, but works just as hard. The 6-foot-2, 231-pound player keeps his mouth shut most of the time, but has the ability to deliver big hits.

The Oregon native provides a nice contrast to the boisterous Seigler and Pollard. Much like Erick Tuma was last year, Lacey will be solid and often forgot about due to the other animated linebackers.

Seth Lacey and Trent Bray provide the Beavers with solid tackling.

The fourth man on the depth chart is 6-foot-1, 229-pound sophomore Trent Bray who had an impressive spring game. Seeming to be everywhere, Bray intercepted two passes and had numerous tackles.

The Washington native is in the similar mold as Lacey. He is a hard worker who lays it all on the field and keeps his mouth shut. Bray’s notable spring game performance may propel him into a starting role if one of the current starters is struggling.

Bray is a smart player who has All-Pac-10 potential, but will not receive the recognition because his blue-collar type of play. Bray is too skilled of a player to keep off the field and will play a significant amount of time in 2003.

Following the talented four linebackers resides a senior and a hard-hitting freshman. Jason Lowe returns after injuring his knee and sitting out for a good part of 2002. Lowe had a decent spring showing his knee is healed with his quick steps and reads.

Next is Tone Taupule, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound freshman. Currently, the Long Beach native is too small to play in the Pac-10, but he possesses the attitude and skills to play in a year or two. He is an exciting player with great potential.

Tone Taupule will be a fun player to watch develop.

Taupule absorbed the teaching well, and even though he is small he delivered some big hits. He has a great attitude and work ethic. Next year, Taupule will be competing for a starting position.

Kelly Phelps, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound freshman follows Taupule. Phelps had a quiet spring at the backer position but has the size to make an impact if he can refine his playing skills.

A quarterback turned linebacker follows the young freshmen. Ryan Kankeberg originally came to Oregon State as a signal caller, but changed to the linebacker position last year. The once scrawny player added a few pounds and changed his attitude to be a hitter.

Keller Christensen, a 5-foot-10, 203-pound junior is the smallest backer on the team. Christensen faces an uphill battle to receive playing time, but worked hard during spring drills. The Oregon native loves to hit and could contribute on special teams.

Last but not least is walk-on Travis Poulton. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Oregonian is the slowest linebacker on the squad and needs to work on his footwork. But with more time in the system Poulton will improve.’s Linebacker Rankings

1. Richard Seigler, Senior (6-3, 239) – All-American type player with the attitude and skills Beaver fans love, leader of the defense and perhaps the team

2. Jonathan Pollard, Junior (6-1, 232) – Intense player who loves to mix it up, good footwork, will improve as he plays more

3. Trent Bray, Sophomore (6-1, 229) – Does not have great speed, but is a solid tackler, will compete for playing time this year

4. Seth Lacey, Junior (6-2, 231) – Not as flashy as Seigler and Pollard, but solid, very smart and strong

5. Jason Lowe, Senior (6-2, 223) – Had a good showing, will play this year, will improve as the year progresses

6. Tone Taupule, Freshman (6-1, 180) – Undersized player with a nose for the ball and a great attitude, will be fun to see him develop

7. Kelly Phelps, Freshman (6-2, 220) – Had a decent spring, will improve as he practices with the team more, good potential

8. Ryan Kankeberg, Junior (6-3, 206) – Converted quarterback who has bulked up over the years, looking for playing time

9. Keller Christensen, Junior (5-10, 203) – Small, but works hard, has an uphill battle to find playing time, could play on special teams.

10. Travis Poulton, Freshman (6-3, 225) – Walk-on who does not posses the speed to play in the Pac-10, but could contribute on special teams

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