THE VIKING OFFENSE
(Six starters returning)
Senior Sawyer Smith (6-5, 230) finally gets his chance on the field after backing up Joe Wiser for two years. In limited action Smith completed four of six passes for 42 yards and one touchdown. The coaches love his size and his smarts.
Behind Smith is sophomore Rob Freeman who played as Westivew.
The offensive line was a big reason the Vikings won seven games in 2004. They allowed a conference low ten sacks while helping led the league in redzone scoring (87%, 34-39, 31 TD, 3 FG). One of the better linemen in Division I-AA football is consensus preseason All-American center Antonio Narcisse. Unfortunately, Narcisse broke his left fibula half way through August and will miss the game versus the Beavers.
In Narcisse's absence second team all-conference right tackle Peter St. John (6-3, 280) and left tackle Steve Blatchley (6-5, 290) anchor the line along with sophomore Brennan Carvalho (6-1, 295) and redshirt freshman Will Arnlod (6-4, 320) at left and right guard, respectively. Junior Derek Huff will handle the duties in the middle.
Blatchley is expected to be a post season candidate as
well as Carvalho who started the last five games of the 2004 season. The
coaches love Carlho's lower body strength and excellent footwork. St. John
is expected to make the conference first team this year as he is aggressive and
loves to hit.
The Vikings led the Big Sky in rushing with a 204.4 average a year ago and will once again be atop the category with senior running back Joe Rubin and senior fullback Allen Kennett returning. In spot duty Rubin racked up 825 yards, including four 100 yard games, and seven touchdowns. He prefers to stay in between the tackles, but occasionally bounces outside where he has the speed to hurt OSU.
Kennett is a workhorse and is very tough in short
yardage situations scoring a team high 10 times last season. The team's
Co-MVP from 2004 is also skilled at blocking and catching the ball as he hauled
in 21 receptions, good for third on the team, a year ago. He was a first
team Big Sky selection last year and a preseason All-American this year.
Seniors Adam Whitehead and Scott Weaver both return for their fourth season. According to head coach Tim Walsh, Weaver had the best fall camp of his career. In eleven games last year Weaver caught seven passes for 98 yards while Whitehead added 11 catches for 99 yards and two touchdowns.
Weaver is primarily used for blocking while Whitehead is
used for blocking and receiving.
Much like Oregon State fans, Portland State fans are very excited about their receiving unit. The team's leading receiver Shaun Bodiford returns after grabbing 40 passes for 587 yards and five touchdowns in route to second team all-conference honors. Bodiford is fast and competitive and will be a good test for the young Beaver corners.
Former Aloha High standout Nic Costa transferred from Arizona and earned a starting spot quickly. He has 4.3 speed and will have lots to prove as he is home grown talent and has lots to prove.
Junior Brendan Ferrigno was the fifth leading receiver a year ago after hauling in 11 passes for 138 yards and one touchdown. His performance earned him honorable mention All-Big Sky honors. With a year under his belt and a better understanding of the offense Ferrigno is poised to have a breakout year.
Sophomore Kenneth Mackins, who has good speed, is also in the mix.