The pads (finally) about to go on for Beavs

EVERY SPRING PRACTICE IS valuable and there are tons of things to work on and learn. But, and especially for units like the offensive line, you can't draw as many conclusions as you can once the shoulder pads go on. Thankfully for BeavFans, that happens later today out in Corvallis.

Without pads, you don't get as good a look at the run game with the offensive linemen not going full speed while holding their blocks.

You can tell more in the passing game, but it's not a complete look -- there's always, always a little more push when the pads go on.

Oregon State will put the pads on today and whether they practice indoors, outdoors or both, there's bound to be the welcome sound reverberating out of the Willammete Valley of pads crackin' together.

It won't just be the offensive line either. The d-line and linebackers are likely to be just as amped up, and the running backs are likely to enjoy lowering their shoulder on a would-be stopper.

But it's on the offensive line that many eyes will be focused. Oregon State is replacing three starters this year. Two starters, Isaac Seumalo and Josh Mitchell are out this spring with injury.

That means we should get our first look at how Bobby Keenan at left tackle. He's being asked to come straight out of junior college and start at the Pac-12 level at one of the most important positions in the game.

That's asking a lot. Will he sink or swim on the first day of shoulder pads this spring?

Grant Bays is the starting right guard. The Beavs are counting on him to provide veteran leadership and veteran play. Day 3 of spring ball would be a great time to show it.

Roman Sapolu is holding Seumalo's starting job warm. But creating good depth there, (in case of injury or in case Seumalo moving elsewhere on the line is necessary, as it was last season,) is important this spring.

Sean Harlow has all sorts of promise at left guard but he's also a potential left tackle if Keenan isn't ready. And Gavin Andrews has the right tackle job to hold down.

And depth is a question mark, one that will start to be answered today. O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh declined a job offer at Oklahoma State this offseason to stay with the Beavs. And he's got a hole lot of work to do this spring.

With the pads coming on today, that work now begins in earnest.

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