Beaver DTs - time for concern?

MIKE RILEY HAS unearthed some recruiting gems over the years at Oregon State but he'll need to have done so again this past class at one position in particular. In looking at the spring depth chart, there's a big, big eye opener on the interior of the defensive line.

Oregon State's starting d-tackles on the line – Edwin Delva and Siale Hautau – are two junior college transfers.

Think about that for a moment.

Two guys who have never played a down at OSU or at the Pac-12 level – those are your starting defensive tackles on the depth chart headed into spring.

That's scary.

IT'S HARD TO find a junior college player who is ready from the get-go to play consistently well in the Pac-12. They usually spend their first year adapting to the difference in speed, strength and talent. They are, after all, going from playing against JUCO-level to Pac-12 competition.

Their second year is when their talent comes out most. But there's no guarantee they're going to be among the conference's best – they might be, at best, role players in their short two-year Beaver career.

Usually, your junior college d-tackles are key depth players for Oregon State, used in frequent rotation by Mark Banker. And if they become starters, so much the better. A bonus.

But the fact that Oregon State doesn't have any players who are placed above the two JUCOs is an eye-opener.

Seniors Mana Rosa and Blake Harrah, along with sophomores Brandon Bennett, Noke Tago, Ali'i Robins and Desmond Collins are all further down on the depth chart.

WHEN YOU'RE SOLID on the interior of the defensive line, you can more often leave your corners one-on-one and blitz more. Teams can't run up and down on you, tiring you out and keeping momentum firmly on their side.

When you're not stout on the inside of the d-line, everything else becomes weakened.

The Beavs will need their two JUCOs to be better than most if they're going to be strong defensively in 2013. And there is some good news in that regard.

The two junior college transfers in question were mid-year guys, arriving early to OSU as opposed to before fall camp. They'll get to go through spring ball. They'll get to go through the offseason voluntary weight and conditioning program for several months before the rest of the class arrives later this summer.

They'll get that head start. And that's crucial, because as both rookies and starters, they'll need it.

The spring will also be a wake up call, and opportunity unparalleled, for the veteran d-tackles on the roster.

If ever there was a time for one or more of those veteran DTs to turn the corner, it's now.


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