|The roster (12)||Losses (0)|
|Current Verbals (4)||Need (0)|
The outlook -
With a little added or developed depth, the offensive line could become one of the deepest and most talented units on the the team in 2006. Under the tutelage of Mike Cavanaugh the unit increased the Beavers' rushing average by almost 100 yards from 67.8 in 2004 to 160.8 this year. The pass protection also got better as the unit gave up just five sacks in the last four games. All five starters, including Co-Pac-10 Freshman of the Year left guard Jeremy Perry, return.
The tackles will be manned by the only two seniors on the starting line. Left tackle Adam Koets and right tackle Josh Linehan both have 23 consecutive starts under their belts. Each also earned honors in 2005 as Koets was named to the Pac-10's academic second team while Linehan was an All-Pac-10 honorable mention selection.
Future All-PAC-10 selection Perry and honorable mention pick Roy Schuening man the guard positions. Perry has just 11 games under his belt but is playing like a veteran and has a reputation for being just plain nasty on the field. Schuening has a 23 consecutive game starting streak. Junior Kyle DeVan returns after a solid first season at center. DeVan was an honorable mention selection and earned first team All-PAC-10 academic honors.
Sophomore Andy Levitre rounded out the two-deep as he played guard and tackle when one of the starters needed a rest or was injured. Tackle Tavita Thompson participated on special teams as did Naymon Frank who converted from defensive tackle in the middle of the year.
Freshman Michael Marks and junior James Otuhiva were both forced to sitout 2005 due to breaking team rules. Look for Marks to return to the team while Othuhiva may leave. Walk-ons Marcus Henderson and Zach Harris could also leave the program as the Beavers have a solid group of scholarship players.
Cavanaugh says he wants his players to be "grinders" and that is just what they are becoming as the unit prefers to run the ball and get out and smack the defensive players in the mouth. The progression of the unit was evident as the year wore on as toss sweeps, roll outs and a host of other complicated plays were implemented.
The Beavers are poised to sign four mobile offensive linemen that fit perfectly into the current system. Each verbal loves Cavanaugh's demeanor and can't wait to start playing for him. Cavanaugh admits he has an aggressive, perhaps even abrasive, attitude, but hopes some his personality rubs off on his players. Instilling this attitude into the new recruits will be fundamental to the success of the OSU offensive line.
Spring ball -
As long as Cavanaugh is the coach fundamentals will be the number one priority in spring camp, fall camp and during the season. Last year the line showed up to practice 30 minutes early to work on their technique and this year it will be no different. Cavanaugh will have more to work with this year as Gregg Peat, Naymon Frank and Marcus Henderson all will have a year under their belts and will look to get into the two deep mix.
In addition to working on fundamentals the unit will work on playing smarter and keeping an aggressive attitude without making stupid mistakes. Several overaggressive offensive linemen cost the team third and short situations due to personal fouls while DeVan could have picked up a few easy first downs if he would have snapped the ball early.
Keep your eye on - Tavita Thompson. The starters and back, but depth is needed and Thompson, who has been in the system two years, needs to step up to make the unit two-deep strong.
|The roster||Losses (2)|
|Current Verbals (2)||Need (One)|
The outlook -
Despite losing the greatest receiver in school history in Mike Hass and a team leader in Josh Hawkins, the cupboard is not bare, but still needs to be inventoried then stocked. Anthony Wheat-Brown turned out to be a steady force over the middle while Ruben Jackson displayed playmaking ability. Beyond Wheat-Brown and Jackson though, the receiving group is largely unproven.
Sammie Stroughter saw limited action at receiver catching just five passes for 58 yards. He excelled during spring and fall camps, but his success against his teammates never translated into success against the Beavers' foes. Stroughter will once again have a chance to prove himself and perhaps grab a starting role. Another player that had solid camps was Nate Johns. Johns will most likely step into a larger role in 2006, but has a tough battle ahead of him as Wheat-Brown sits in front of him. Johns can't stretch the field, but is tough over the middle just like Wheat-Brown.
Riley is looking for redshirt freshman Anthony Crosby to step up and compete for a starting role. Crosby was one of the standouts on the offensive scout team with his reliable hands and jumping ability. Brandon Powers returns from an ankle injury and is one of the larger targets on the team. Zach Tarver is also a big target, but is still growing into his body.
Transfer Keston Cheathem was kicked off the team for violating team rules, but could be back. He has the body and skill set to be a big play receiver. Marcel Love hit the books hard and most likely will return to the team. Safety Lamar Herron was going to be moved to linebacker, but the coaches like his play making ability and will probably give him a shot at wide receiver. Herron has the speed to stretch the field and the strength to take the ball away from defenders.
Walk-on Brian Davilla didn't see any playing time this year and probably won't see any next year. Taylor Kavanaugh joined the team a couple of games into the season and could be moved to tight end. The positive sign for the receivers is many of them had the opportunity to practice with Mike Hass. Hass showed his teammates, and the entire country, that hard work and determination pay off.
Every recruiting season Riley harps on recruiting athletes and the team is starting to build a solid core of versatile individuals that can play on both sides of the ball, filling the more immediate need. There is enough talent within the receiving group, but the players must continue to work hard and the coaches must find out who the playmakers are and what the right combination on the field is.
Spring ball -
The top priority in spring ball is finding the go-to receiver and the playmakers. Wheat-Brown has his spot locked up, but the other two spots are wide open. Jackson, Stroughter, Crosby, Love, Cheathem and Herron will all have shots at the starting slots.
Stroughter, Jackson and Crosby have a leg up with the playbook compared to Love, Cheathem and Herron. The coaches are looking for a player that can stretch the field and one who wants the ball.
Keep your eye on - Ruben Jackson. The offense really needs Jackson to step up into a staring role. The coaches like his playmaking ability as they tried to get the ball in his hands more at the end of the season on reverses and receiver screens.
Next up - Tight end and place kickers.
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