Rewind - Five players to watch: defense

Back in August gave you five players on the offensive side of the ball and five players on the defensive side of the ball to keep your eye on. With the 2006 season behind us it is time take a look back at those key players, starting with the defense.

NOTE: For the preseason article click here.

  1. DT Ben Siegert - Going into his senior year Seigert had the most starts out of any player in the program, but struggled his sophomore and junior seasons as a shoulder injury and off field issues slowed him down.

    In his final year in a Beaver uniform Siegert recorded 23 tackles, tops among the tackles, and became the first player in school history to block two kicks in one game as he blocked an extra point and the game-winning 44-yard field goal attempt by Oregon in the Civil War.  His performance earned him Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors.

    Seigert didn't make an All-Pac-10 team, although he earned honorable mention honors, and he didn't dominate the middle like Dwan Edwards or Sir Henry Anderson.  But he did set a school record, against the hated Ducks nonetheless, and played well in the second half recording over half of his tackles in the last six games of the year.

    And, perhaps, his biggest accomplishment at OSU is yet to come as he on track to graduate in March.

  2. LB Joey LaRocque - Mike Riley doesn't bring in junior college players to redshirt; he only brings in players who he thinks can compete for a starting position and LaRocque was just the player Riley was looking for from day one.

    The 6-foot-1, 235-pound outside linebacker became the first JUCO player under Riley to start atop the depth chart before even slapping on the Orange and Black and he didn't disappoint.  In his first year of Pac-10 football he led the team with 98 tackles, including 6.5 for loss, along with one interception and one fumble recovery.

    LaRocque was just one of three juniors to finish in the top 10 in the conference for tackles per game as he averaged seven stops per contest.  He led the Beavers in tackles seven times, including four consecutive weeks, and topped the double digit mark twice. 

    By seasons end, LaRocque reminded me of former OSU middle linebacker Trent Bray - always around the ball, rarely missing a tackle and every time you look at the box score his name is at the top. 

    The great news is he is around for another year and should make a run at all-conference honors.

  3. DT Gerard Lee - Lee had the lest amount of impact on this list, but the best is yet to come from this 6-foot-3, 276-pound player.

    Lee served as a backup to Seigert and Coker as he recorded 20 tackles, including 1.5 sacks, in 14 games.  Look for him to add 15 to 20 pounds in the off-season and compete for a starting spot in spring and fall camp.

  4. P Kyle Loomis - It was a little rough at the start with the proverbial shanks and some mishandled snaps that you get from a freshman punter, but Loomis was rock solid at the end of year finishing with a 41.4 average, good for seventh in the conference, and just four yards shy of his 45.5 average in high school as senior.

    He was last in the conference in punt average at the start of November, but by the middle of the same month he had upped his average to over 40 yards per attempt.  His longest of the season was a 62 yard boot with sixteen of his 62 kicks resulting in a touchback or a fair catch with 14 landing inside the twenty.  No punts were blocked.

    With three more years in the Mid Valley, Loomis only going to get better.  Look for his average to rise at least a yard next year and his directional kicking to improve dramatically.

  5. DE Jeff Van Orsow - One measly sack.  That's all that Van Orsow grabbed last year. 

    This year he only managed two sacks, but he also added 47 tackles, tops among defensive lineman and good for fifth on the team, and two forced fumbles.  Plus, no one in Beaver Nation will ever forget that it was Van Orsow who got his hand up to slap down John David Booty's pass resulting in an Oregon State victory over No. 3 USC.

    Van Orsow will probably never be a dominate defensive lineman, but he is a good piece of the OSU defense.  With the high number of substitutions Van Orsow can go all out, every play, every down and not worry about being tired. 

    The Beavers will most certainly implement the same system in 2007 and with the Van Orsow more comfortable with the rotation look for him to turn the intensity up.


Tomorrow we will take a look at the five players on the offensive side of the ball.

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