The defensive line got better as the year went on. The tackles started to move the offensive lineman around leaving the ends to more one-on-one situations. Jeff Van Orsow showed signs of being a force to reckon with while Curtis Coker displayed glimpses of the run stopper that the team needs. Of course, the Beavers will miss the services of Bill Swancutt who had a huge year in '04.
Junior Joe Lemma returns as the teams starting left end. Lemma has a good motor and never quits on play, but he is not that quick nor does he have many moves to get around the offensive line. Sophomore Joe Rudulph is a better athlete than Lemma, but his off field issues have hampered his on field development. If Rudulph can learn and grow from his mistakes, he can become a big factor on and off the field.
Junior Ben Siegert had a lock on the left tackle spot until the infamous "Sheep Gate." While Siegert did not have the season most people expected last year, he was solid. With over a year removed from his surgery Siegert was poised to have a breakout year. But he will miss several games due to his DUI, which in turn will hurt his development
Sophomore Naymon Frank saw valuable game action in 2004 and good thing since he is at the top of the depth chart. Frank is still raw, but has good upper body strength.
Senior Alvin Smith and sophomore Curtis Coker share time at the right tackle position with Smith getting the start. Smith was one of the defenders that improved the most throughout the season. He struggled making his presence known early but started to move and slide past the offensive linemen disrupting plays in the backfield. Smith's success may have hinged on the attention paid to Swancutt and he will have to step up his game in 2005.
Smith will have to work hard though as Coker has NFL size and talent. Coker's playing time increased rapidly and don't be surprised if he sits atop the depth chart after April. Whatever the outcome, Coker will be a significant part of the Beaver defense.
Sophomore Jeff Van Orsow saw limited playing time behind Swancutt last season, but when he was in he was impressive. Van Orsow plays a similar style of ball as Swancutt, which is encouraging. Van Orsow has a ton of potential and is another Beaver on the defensive line that could have a decent year.
Senior Derek Hall looked perched to put in quality time in a reserve role, but that role never materialized. Hall has one more shot as a senior and the team will need him when Van Orsow needs a rest.
Junior Brandon Scales did not play a down last season due to academics and he was missed. Scales is not on track to join the team anytime soon and the coaches will prepare to play without him. Senior Sir Henry Anderson is also struggling with academics as he took classes at Linn Benton Community College and is trying to gain readmittance to OSU. If Scales and/or Anderson make it back to Corvallis, it will be good news for the defensive line.
The new guy(s):
Junior William Vea is a wildcard. He is supposed to be quick for a defensive tackle and he does bring first-team honors with him from the JC ranks. Redshirt freshman Pernell Booth comes from Montana and the last tackle the Beavers had from the state up north was outstanding. Vea and Booth will both have an opportunity to compete for a starting tackle position.
Every single position on the defensive line is up for grabs. Orsow has the inside track on the right end position. Smith and Coker will battle for one of the tackle positions while Booth, Vea, Frank will compete for opening day starting duties at the other tackle spot.
This is an excellent opportunity for the younger players to make a case to
put them on the field. This is also an outstanding chance for the veterans to
prove their value and experience on the team.
One to watch:
Curtis Coker. NFL coaches already know about this 6-1, 309-pound player. Coker will play and make a lot of plays this year for the Beavs. Will he grab a starting spot?
- LE: Joe Lemma (6-3, 260) - junior, good motor but lacks quick moves
- LE: Joe Rudulph (6-5, 241) - sophomore, needs to work through off field issues
- LT: Ben Siegert (6-4, 275) - junior, will be suspended several games
- LT: Naymon Frank (5-6, 294) - sophomore, opportunity to show the coaches he deserves the starting nod
- LT: Pernell Booth (6-1, 318) - redshirt freshman, will compete for one of the starting tackle positions
- RT: Alvin Smith (6-2, 319) - senior, good size and improving
- RT: Curtis Coker (6-1, 309) - sophomore, refining his technique and hungry for playing time
- RE: Jeff Van Orsow (6-5, 253) - sophomore, good motor, benefited from playing with Swancutt last year
- RE: Derek Hall (6-3, 263) - senior, last year to leave a mark on the program
- DT: William Vea (6-2, 280) - junior, needed for depth, but is he good enough
to push for a starting spot?