- Tight Ends -
The good: Joe Newton's (pictured on the right) back and that should restore some confidence in the team's red zone scoring. Newton's return also takes some pressure off the Matt Moore, the running game and the wide receivers. He also opens up the play book allowing the offense to be more creative.
Senior Jason Vandiver returns after catching 10 passes for 98 yards with most of his catches coming in the second half of the season. He is known more as a blocker and with Newton's return that is what he will mostly doing. The undersized sophomore Dan Weis returns after playing almost exclusively H-back in practice.
The bad: Newton and Vandiver are the only players returning with game experience and Newton is coming back from a leg injury. This means that a freshman will receive a lot of playing time. The most likely candidate is Gabe Miller, but he will have just a month to digest the playbook and adjust to college life before contributing on the playing field. A difficult task to say the least. Let's hope that neither Newton nor Vandiver gets injured.
The question: Can Newton return from an injury to spark the offense?
Riley says: “Besides just being a fabulous player, he is a great team guy. He is always on top of things from school to just life – he’s got a lot going for him. He will most certainly add some stability back to our offense.”
- Senior Joe Newton
- tall and physical player who sat out 2005 with a left leg injury, a honorable
mention all Pac-10 selection and team's second leading receiver as a sophomore
- Senior Jason
Vandiver - known as a blocker, but can also catch if need be
- Sophomore Daniel Weis - walk-on who plays H-back
- Wide Receivers -
The good: Senior Marcel Love is scheduled to be back. Starter Anthony Wheat-Brown (pictured on the right), Ruben Jackson and Sammie Stroughter all return with playing time under their belts and the staff is excited about redshirt freshman Anthony Crosby. There is also a good base of talent behind the incumbents as well.
Sophomore Zach Tarver, junior Brandon Powers and freshman Kyle Brown are all big targets, but none are proven. Powers is one of the stronger members on the team and could make a push for playing time. Junior Brain Davilla and redshirt freshman Taylor Kavanaugh both face a difficult task in earning playing time while sophomores Bill Banash and Steve Cooper walked on this year.
The bad: The best receiver in school history, Mike Hass, is gone and there is no proven go to receiver. One of two of the player must step up to force opposing defenses to respect the pass and not stack up against the run.
The question: Who is going to step up and be the playmaker?
Riley says: “We have talent on this team at the receiver positions, but we really need to work hard in the spring and in fall camp to develop rapport with the quarterbacks. We have a lot of work to do in this area, but I like our talent level.”
- Sophomore Zach
Tarver - one of the taller receivers on the team at 6-foot-5
- Junior Sammie
Stroughter - limited action at wide receiver as he played behind
Hass, five catches for 58 yards, could be a playmaker
- Junior Brian
Davilla - redshirt junior walk-on who face an uphill battle for playing
- Sophomore Bill
Banash - three-year letterman at Tigard as a linebacker, tight end
- Redshirt freshman Taylor
Kavanaugh - joined the team halfway through the 2005 season, hungry
to contribute, possible special teams standout
- Freshman Kyle
Brown - did not qualify in 2005, a greyshirt
- Junior Brandon
Powers - missed several games with a ankle injury, caught two passes
for nine yards
- Redshirt freshman Anthony
Crosby - scout team standout whom the coaches expect big things from
- Senior Ruben
Jackson - fastest receiver on the team, 11 catches for 118 yards,
- Sophomore Steve
Cooper - transfer from Southern Oregon University
- Junior Anthony Wheat-Brown - second leading receiver in '05 with 40 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns, hampered by several nagging injuries, primed for a breakout season
Up next - defensive line