Rewind - Five players to watch: offense

Yesterday we looked at five players on the defensive side of the ball that needed to have an impact in 2006 for Oregon State to have a successful year. Today we look at the offensive side of the ball.

For the original article click here.

  1. QB Matt Moore - Before the start of his senior campaign all of his teammates and coaches said that Moore was going to have a stellar senior year.  The reason?  For the first time in his collegiate career he was going to run the same offense back to back. 

    Moore said he didn't have an epiphany and everything became easier; he just continued to work hard in practice while keeping a positive attitude.  His diligence paid off as he finished with 5,733 career yards and 29 touchdowns, both good for fourth all time at OSU.  He also set the school record for the highest completion percentage in a season, .606.

    Most importantly Moore eliminated almost all of his turnovers as he threw just seven interceptions in '06, twelve less than in 2005, while tossing seven more touchdowns in 2006 than '05 (18 vs. 11).  Moore also broke the school record for most passes completed, 182, without an interception.  A record no one would have guessed he would break after a tumultuous junior year in Corvallis.

    The California gun slinger, save for the first five games of the year, almost had a perfect senior season leading the Beavers to eight wins in their final nine games while being named the Sun Bowl MVP.  Moore exceeded expectations giving OSU just their second ten win season in school history.

  2. WR Sammie Stroughter - Hass who?  Stroughter exploded onto the scene catching 74 passes for 1,293 yards, good for fourth all-time at OSU, and five touchdowns while also doing damage on special teams returning three punts for touchdowns, a school record.  Stroughter earned second team All-Pac-10 honors as a receiver and punt returner in addition to earning AP All-American honors as an all-purpose player.

    He led the conference and finished tenth in the NCAA in receiving yards per game (92.4) while his 223 yards against Washington earned him Pac-10 Player of the Week honors and is the fourth highest receiving total in Oregon State history.  Simply put, Stroughter is the most exciting player to put on the Orange and Black since Tim Alexander.

    Every time he touches the ball he is a threat to take it in for six and he, at this point in time, will always be remembered for two things - him bringing a bag of stones to a team chapel and handing them out to his teammates before the USC game and him, fighting through aches and pains, coming in on fourth and three and picking up a first down to setup OSU's game winning scoring drive in the Sun Bowl.

  3. WR Chris Johnson and Shane Morales - Just like Gerard Lee, the best is yet to come for these two players.

    Johnson served in a backup role playing in 11 games and catching four passes for 69 yards.  His biggest catch was in the Sun Bowl when he sliced across the middle for a 30-yard gain.  Morales played in only four games catching just one pass for one yard.

    Johnson is a speed guy, similar to Ruben Jackson, while Morales is more of a possession receiver, in the Brandon Powers mold.  Both will compete for starting spots and should contribute heavily in 2007.

  4. WR Anthony Wheat-Brown - Wheat-Brown managed to stay healthy, but couldn't keep himself out of trouble as he was suspended for three games.  Instead of sulking, Wheat-Brown turned his suspension into a positive and will use the lessons he learned to lead the team in 2007.

    Before being forced to sit out Wheat-Brown was struggling at flanker and would have been replaced by Jackson in the lineup if Jackson hadn't tweaked his ankle.  Wheat-Brown caught just 21 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns this year, but is one of the team's best down field blockers.

    Wheat-Brown has all of the talent in the world.  Look for him to have a breakout year as a senior.

  5. TE Joe Newton - Despite his offensive numbers not being what some had hoped, Newton had a very successful senior year and has a long NFL career in front of him.

    His numbers were down as the coaches asked him to stay in and block more.  At one point he did not catch one pass for three consecutive conference games.  But, the Oregonian never complained and in the end he caught three touchdowns in the final two games of the year in front of national audiences.

    Newton finished as the team's third leading receiver with 36 catches for 466 yards and seven touchdowns, tops among receivers.  His performance earned him all-conference honorable mention honors.  He also finished as the school's all-time leader for touchdowns by a tight end (15).

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