Post-spring Survival Guide

There is some good news and some bad news with the conclusion of spring ball. The bad news is there is a three month lull without Oregon State football. The good news is there is plenty to discuss during the upcoming summer months.

Riley's spring goals
  • Find a playmaker at receiver and develop a rapport between the quarterbacks and receivers
    BF.com evaluation - The team still has yet to find a playmaker and the injury bug didn't help things. Matt Moore definitely has found a rapport between himself, Joe Newton and Sammie Stroughter. See below for more analysis.
  • Strive for balance between the run and pass -
    BF.com evaluation - The offense was balanced as the team worked on running and passing equally. New formations and schemes were implemented as the coaches expanded the playbook.
  • Work on the mistakes from last year
    BF.com evaluation - Most of those mistakes were mental weather it be blown coverage or a late hit. Riley constantly focused on attention to detail stating that the physical part is just a small chunk of the equation. Mental discipline is one of the keys to success.

 

Injuries
  • WR Sammie Stroughter - missed the last week of practice with a left knee sprain
  • WR Anthony Wheat-Brown - missed one week of practice with multiple leg injuries
  • TE/OL James Othuiva – missed the last week of practice with a sore knee
  • TE Joe Newton – sprained his right shoulder in spring game
  • RB Patrick Fuller – sprained his shoulder in spring game
  • LB Eddie Stamm – sat out all of spring ball rehabbing
  • RB Tony Carrasco - sat out all of spring ball rehabbing


Offensive Recap

Quarterbacks Matt Moore and Sean Canfield looked sharp one day and not so sharp the next day but that is what spring ball is for. All of the returning players allowed the coaches to expand the offense right from the get go as they implemented several new offensive sets. Moore is definitely the starter but Canfield is nipping at his heels.

Wide receivers Sammie Stroughter and Anthony Wheat-Brown turned in solid springs although both were slowed by injuries as the team looks for a go to receiver. Tight end Joe Newton was fully recovered from his knee injury, but re injured his shoulder in the spring game.

The offensive line played well as the starters and backups refined their game. A year ago depth was a concern on the offensive line, but this year the unit is in good hands with Andy Levitre, Adam Speer and Tavita Thompson as solid backups. Left guard Jeremy Perry thinks this unit could be the best in the Pac-10.

Running back Yvenson Bernard was held out of full contact drills but looked fantastic when carrying the ball. Clinton Polk showed up late, but picked up the offense quickly and the coaches love the way he finishes his runs.

Walk on Dan Weis performed well in the h-back role and could playing time in the fall.


Three issues to address on offense
  1. A deep threat receiver.
    Despite having several talented receivers on the roster the offense has yet to find a go to receiver. Stroughter could be that guy as he was having one of the best springs on the offensive side of the ball before he got hurt. Wheat-Brown could also be that guy if he could stay healthy. Marcel Love is still getting into the swing of things and Ruben Jackson was virtually transparent in the spring game.
  2. Depth at tight end.
    Seeing Newton grimace in pain and call for the trainer should make every Beaver fan sick to their stomachs. He absolutely dominated in drills, especially in the red zone, and if he is hurt again the Beavers in for a world of pain. Jason Vandiver isn’t a pass catching tight end and it is asking a lot for two freshmen to come in and play.
  3. Depth at tackle.
    Although Tavita Thompson improved greatly there is a big drop off from him Josh Linehan to him. There is an even larger drop off between Adam Koets and Zach Harris. Andy Levitre could always slide over but then the team is in trouble if a guard gets hurt.


Movers and Shakers – Offense

WR Taylor Kavanaugh – This hardworking walk on who earned the respect of the coaches last season on the scout team may have played himself into the rotation as he was one of Canfield’s favorite targets. He isn’t big and not too fast, but we have heard that before. Another Mike Hass?.

TE Joe Newton – Coming back from an injury isn’t easy and there are numerous stories of players never fully recovering from an injury, but that’s not the case for Newton. He was not afraid of contact, did not have a limp and looked very good. The only bad news is he tweaked his right shoulder in the spring game.

RB Clinton Polk – Despite arriving to camp late Polk quickly moved to number two on the depth chart. His long strides and upright style of running provide a good contrast to Bernard’s running style. He loves contact and finishes his runs with authority always looking for that defensive player to pound for the extra yardage.

OL Andy Levitre – Although this versatile lineman has players in front of him with over 20 starts under their belts, coach Mike Cavanaugh says Levitre is pushing for playing time. He switches between guard and tackle seamlessly and is only getting better.

 

Two Deeps - Offense

QB – Matt Moore, Sean Canfield
RB – Yvenson Bernard, Clinton Polk
RT – Josh Linehan, Tavita Thompson
RG – Roy Schuening, Gregg Peat
C – Kyle DeVan, Adam Speer
LG – Jeremy Perry, Andy Levitre
LT – Adam Koets, Zach Harris
TE – Joe Newton, Jason Vandiver
H-back – Dan Weis
WR – Sammie Stroughter, Marcel Love
WR – Ruben Jackson, Brandon Powers
WR – Anthony Wheat-Brown, Kyle Brown


Defensive Recap

Marked improvement and some victories here and there against a high powered Beaver offense is all that fans hoped for from a defensive unit that lost a ton of production.

As expected the first two weeks saw the offense getting the better of the defense, but strong play by the secondary started to even the battle. SS Sabby Piscitelli had one of the best performances of spring ball grabbing at least one interception at almost every practice. FS Al Afalava and Piscitelli work well together as Afalava was aggressive and fast to the ball.

Keenan Lewis of course has the left corner spot locked up with Gerard Lawson as the backup. But there is a battle raging between Brandon Hughes and Coye Francies for the right corner gig. Both need to get more physical at the line of scrimmage, a theme the coaches harped on throughout the month, but Francies seems to have the better cover skills although he is slightly smaller than Hughes.

Some fans were concerned about speed from the linebacking group but Derrick Doggett played fast and reminded this fan of the Beaver linebackers of the past. Doggett turned in a solid spring game grabbing several tackles for loss and playing outstanding defense in coverage.

Middle linebacker Alan Darlin and backup Bryant Cornell both have a solid grasp on the defense and are punishing across the middle. Darlin led all players in the spring game with eight stops. Junior college transfer Joey LaRocque filled right in, but is still working on the finer details to improve his game. Behind LaRocque and Doggett sit Dennis Christopher and Isaiah Cook who both turned in a good month of practice.

At defensive tackle Ben Siegert and Curtis Coker are the incumbents but William Vea and Pernell Booth each can plug up the middle and give the starters a rest. There will be one heck of a battle at defensive tackle when JC Gerard Lee arrives in August.

At defensive end Jeff Van Orsow led the way with three sacks in the spring game. Victor Butler and Joe Rudulph both will see plenty of action as well. Joe Lemma also added a sack as the ends were helped by the secondary’s strong play.

 

Three issues to address on defense
  1. Depth at defensive end.
    It was good to see Van Orsow turn in a solid performance at the spring game. Just like last year’s season though the defensive ends didn’t have much presence in the scrimmages. Rudulph has a ton of potential but just can’t seem to get his head in the game. Butler is intriguing, but has not supplanted Joe Lemma. Dorian Smith arrived late hurting his development drastically. The ends are still a big question mark.
  2. Physical cornerbacks.
    Nigel Burton, along with the more experienced players, is really focusing on getting physical at the line of scrimmage. They feel that if they can get in the receiver’s face it will give the defensive line more time to get to the quarterback. A physical secondary also gets the receivers thinking about contact instead of their routes which can affect the offense’s timing.

  3. Punter.
    The coaches are banking on freshman Kyle Loomis to be the answer to their punting woes. He is expected to enroll in the summer to get an early start. Jon Stowbridge is inconsistent as he showed in the spring game. He isn’t reliable but better than the Doug Stuckey era if Loomis doesn’t work out.


Movers and Shakers – Defense

FS Bryan Payton – Former Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey said, “Good luck is the residue of design.” We could easily substitute hard work, practice or any number of words for design and apply the phrase to Payton. Payton rededicated himself to school and the football field in the off season. His rededication paid off in April as he grabbed the second most interceptions in the spring. His development helps immensely at safety where the team is very thin.

CB Coye Francies – While Francies has not come to Corvallis and swept the starting right corner position away from Brandon Hughes he is unquestionably knocking on the door. His coverage skills are fantastic and with Hughes away on family business for the spring game Francies proved he belonged in the starting lineup.

LB Derrick Doggett – An impressive performance in the spring game showed he has a firm grasp of the defense and his role in the system. He is one of the better linebackers at covering players downfield as his long legs and arms enable him to get to passes. It was good to see he has quickness too as that aspect of his game was missing a year ago.

SS Sabby Piscitelli – The senior most player in the secondary is relaxed and confident. He is not trying to do too much which is putting him in the right places to make plays. Piscitelli also looks fast and with Afalava in the backfield that is one mean set of athletic safeties.

 

Two Deeps - Defense

LE – Joe Lemma OR Joe Rudulph, Jeff Kruskamp
LT – Ben Siegert, William Vea
RT - Curtis Coker, Pernell Booth
RE – Jeff Van Orsow, Victor Butler
SLB – Derrick Doggett, Dennis Christopher
MLB – Alan Darlin, Bryant Cornell
WLB – Joey LaRocque, Isaiah Cook
RC – Keenan Lewis, Gerard Lawson
LC – Coye Francies OR Brandon Hughes, Rickey Herod
SS – Sabby Piscitelli, Daniel Drayton
FS – Al Afalava, Bryan Payton

 

More spring coverage - Week 4 recap \ Week 3 Recap \ Week 2 Recap \ Week 1 Recap

Look for position by position recaps in the next couple of weeks.


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