|The roster (2)||Losses (1)|
|Current Verbals (2)||Need (0)|
The outlook -
The tight ends are set to make a triumphant return as a significant part of offense as All-Pac-10 player Joe Newton returns along with Jason Vandiver and a couple of talented recruits. But, we should not count the eggs before they hatch.
The big question is can Newton pick up where he left off? That depends on if you have your orange colored glasses on or not. Newton is a tremendous athlete and with 2006 being his last year to impress the scouts, he is working extra hard in the weight room to get back in shape. He progressed well enough that Riley said he would have played Newton if the Beavers made a bowl game. However it takes time to get up to game speed and practicing against your teammates is different then playing against the competition.
And while it is fun to think that the addition of Newton could make the offense an unstoppable juggernaut, his numbers probably won't be as good as in 2003. But for the sake of discussion let's say he produces just half of what he put up as a sophomore. That would equal 23 catches for 343 yards and three touchdowns; those numbers could have meant postseason play. And considering that the tight ends this year combined for 29 catches for 275 yards and zero touchdowns, that ain't too shabby.
Some called Jason Vandiver's first year in Corvallis a disappointment, and while he did not put up big numbers on the offensive end, he performed well at what he is best at - blocking. Vandiver needed more coaching about pass catching when he arrived on campus and therefore was a little behind. He can catch and the quarterbacks showed confidence in him late in the year where he made most of his grabs.
A duo of talented tight ends are ready to continue the tradition of excellent tight ends in Corvallis. John Reese will immediately come in and compete for playing time while Howard Croom will have a shot as well. Whoever performs better will play as a true freshman while the other will redshirt.
Spring ball -
Newton will start out as the Beavers number one tight end with Jason Vandiver backing him up. But two tight ends is not adequate for the offense and a third player will need to get into the rotation. Former tight end Dan Weis or another versatile player, perhaps Tayler Kavanaugh, could rotate into the role until Reese and Croom arrive on campus in August.
Keep your eye on - Joe Newton. The success of the 2006 team relies heavily on Newton's acclimation to game speed. It is hard not to expect big things from Newton in his senior year, but he sat out an entire season and getting back to game speed will take time.
Kicker and Snapper
|The roster (2)||Losses (0)|
|Current Verbals (1)||Need (0)|
The outlook -
Alexis Serna had another record breaking year as he made 23 of 28 field goals while hitting all 32 extra point attempts. His performance earned him the Lou Groza Trophy, All American honors and spots on several publication's All-Pac-10 teams. Serna will once again be one of the top kickers in the country but it will be essential to start grooming his successor for the future and in case of an injury.
Cohen will be back from a knee injury that kept him out for most of the season.
Spring ball -
Practice, practice, practice is what's in store for spring ball. Accuracy, leg strength and arm strength will all be meticulously worked on.
Keep your eye on - Alexis Serna. The All-American is one of the best in the country. Will he make another run at the Lou Groza Trophy?