Fall Camp Focus: 5 to Watch - Defense

Each year there are several players that are integral to a team's success. Here are five players, in no particular order, to keep your eye on this fall in Corvallis.

  1. DT Ben Siegert – Siegert's football career at Oregon State got off with bang as he started all 13 games as a redshirt freshman. In recognition of his performance The Sporting News named him to their Pac-10 All-Freshman team. He doubled his freshman output recording 30 tackles, 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks, as a sophomore. He was primed to have an all-star year in 2005 before a left shoulder injury and off season distractions hampered his performance.

    Now in his final season, a year removed from his shoulder injury and with 25 starts on his resume, the most out of any player in the program, he is poised to have a banner year. Sir Henry Anderson earned second team all-conference honors after tallying 35 stops, including 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, in 2005. Siegert has the talent to equal Anderson's statistics and is capable of being a disruptive force in the middle that the Beavers need to have a winning season.

  2. LB Joey LaRocque - "My goal is to help (Oregon State) get to the national championship." LaRocque told the Portland Tribune. Not too bad for an opening line from the new guy.

    LaRocque is used to winning though as he lost only one game in his two years at College of the Canyons. In his sophomore year he racked up 103 tackles and 11.5 sacks earning JC All-American honors. Street and Smith's called LaRocque one of the top JUCO transfers in the nation. And while he is still adjusting to the speed of Pac-10 football one can't help but see an All-Pac-10 player in the making.

    LaRocque has all the tools of a great player. He prides himself on his work ethic, he is consistent, he focuses on the details and he listens to the coaches. The team needs his intensity, leadership and outstanding play on the field if the Beavers defense is to be feared. Look for him to step up his play as he settles into his position.

  3. DT Gerard Lee – While the coaches like Curtis Coker's ability, they didn't bring in Lee to fill out the depth chart. The book on Lee is that he posses as nasty first step which allows him to get off the line quickly and into the backfield to get to the quarterback.

    Lee's trigger foot serves as a good contrast to Siegert who likes to mix it up with his strength and physicality to disrupt the offense. The New Orleans native isn't a big talker like Sir Henry Anderson as he chooses to let his play on the field do the talking. Despite never playing a down for the Beavers his play on the field could determine if OSU stays atop the Pac-10 in stopping the run.

  4. P Kyle Loomis - Loomis earned all-state and all-conference punting honors as a junior and senior while setting Roseburg Highs school record for yards per punt at an amazing 45.5 last season.

    His high school coach called him their defensive player of the year as a senior while Riley called him the best prep punter on the West Coast. And the even better news is that he arrived early in Corvallis to start working his craft.

    Although all the signs point to Loomis being able to pick up where Paulescu left off, it remains to see how he reacts in a game situation. The players are faster, bigger and quicker. Special team's coach Bruce Read and Loomis will initially work on just getting rid of the ball quickly then move into directional kicking as the year progresses.

  5. DE Jeff Van Orsow – Hard work, determination and motivation. Van Orsow knows that he managed only one sack last year. He knows he tallied only seven tackles for loss. And that is why he is playing like his job is on the line.

    Van Orsow dominated the spring game grabbing three sacks, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Basically Beaver fans haven't seen that type of performance from a defensive end in orange and black since Bill Swancutt.

    Last year Van Orsow was the best defensive end on the team and it took some time for him to adjust. With dedicated time in the weight room and dedicated time at practices working on the details Van Orsow hopes to a have big junior year. 

    The Men in Black will need a huge year from this bruiser who just keeps getting better.

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