Who fills DT void after injury strikes?

DAMN THAT INJURY BUG. And thanks a lot, striking at a position where only junior college transfers were running with the 1s this spring at Oregon State. But injuries are part of the game and what's done is done. So with Siale Hautau reportedly breaking his hand, who now fills the void for the remainder of spring at one of the d-tackle spots for the Beavs? What veterans will step up?

BF.C's Drew Wilson says there are three DTs to keep an eye on going forward this spring session with Siale Hautau, as reported by the Portland Tribune, out for the rest of the spring:

Blake Harrah (6-1, 267) and Brandon Bennett (6-3, 280) have gotten the most work with the 2's this spring.

Also in the mix has been Mana Rosa (6-3, 275).

But make no mistake. Losing Hautau, one of two JC transfer defensive tackles running the starting unit this spring (along with Edwin Delva) is a good-sized hit.

There was already a big concern at d-tackle, with two newcomers who had never taken a snap at Oregon State being installed at the top of the spring depth chart.

(And in case you missed it, Chad Luther of BF.C did an excellent feature on the subject here.)

One of the veteran defensive tackles needs to step up and step up big time. Who will it be?

Harrah is on the light side but he could offset some of that by shooting the gaps more quickly than your typical DT. He's also a fifth-year senior and should be able to parlay that knowledge and experience into something positive.

He was already being tutored heavily by d-line coach Joe Seumalo this spring. And perhaps the best attribute he brings to the table, says BF.C Correspondent Drew Lewis-McGrath, who has watched every minute of practice this spring, is that Harrah starts low and stays low. He has good pad level, consistently, and that gets him better penetration against the o-line.

Bennett is a third-year sophomore so he too has some time in the Oregon State system. So far this spring he hasn't gotten great penetration, though he has done a decent job of filling a gap up front, says Lewis-McGrath.

And Rosa is a fourth-year senior who played in all 12 games last season. Lewis-McGrath says he has been slowly increasing his role, from d-end to d-end across the line. With the loss of Hautau, he might now settle in more on the interior.

In looking just at experience, Rosa might be the guy out of the three, if one is to turn the corner, that could end up being the best option. Besides being experienced, there have been flashes here and there from him. The problem is that there haven't been enough of those flashes to place him in a starting role.

As it always has, it comes down to consistency.

If there is a silver lining at the DT spot in light of the injury, at least Hautau broke his hand in the spring and not in fall camp. Better now, than then.

But no matter how you slice it, OSU has even more challenges ahead at DT with Hautau now out. Losing Joe Lopez to a transfer bites even more now.

In Luther's excellent commentary written hours before Hautau suffered the injury, he said the defensive tackle position battle this spring was No. 1 with a bullet.

With Hautau out, it just became No. 1 with a bullet fired downhill with a hurricane tailwind.


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