Spring preview '07 - Offensive Line

Four of five offensive line starters, including first team All-Pac-10 member Jeremy Perry, return from a line that helped the offense average 242 yards per game through the air and 118 yards on the ground.

- Offensive Line -

 

- The good -

Last year, for the first time in almost three decades, Oregon State returned all five of its offensive starters, which resulted in a tremendous amount of success on the offensive side of the ball.

Unfortunately one starter, Josh Linehan, had his college career ended due to a knee injury, but his injury enabled other players (Andy Levitre and Adam Speer) a chance to gain valuable experience. The game experience that they received helped greatly in their development as a player and will once again help the offense to be one of the top units in the Pac-10.

The offensive line returns four of five starters that helped average 242 yards per game through the air (24th in the country), 118 yards per game on the ground (81st in the nation) and not yield a sack in four games.

The blue collar work ethic that coach Mike Cavanaugh has instilled is really starting to take root. His goal of building a mobile, aggressive line that can pass protect or run block equally as well is starting to take form. Evidence of this can be seen as the Beavers have become adept at running various screen plays.

All of the players are solid fundamentally or are working on their fundamentals on a daily basis. Coach Cavanaugh’s confident, but not cocky attitude is rubbing off on his players as well. He wants his players to attack and take pride in playing until the whistle blows. The veterans exemplify this attitude perfectly

Senior Kyle DeVan, an All-Pac-10 second team member, anchors the line at center where he has 25 consecutive starts. He was a Rimington Trophy candidate last year and will once again be on the list in 2007. DeVan played with a sore knee for much of the year but will be fully recovered for spring practice.

Backing up DeVan is Marcus Henderson, who has impressed coaches with this athleticism and his ability to learn the offense quickly, earning a scholarship this year after walking on a year ago. Henderson played his prep ball at Lake Oswego.

Lining up at right guard is Roy Schuening who has the most consecutive starts on the team at 37. Schuening was the lead blocker for the two-point conversion against Missouri and earned honorable mention honors all-conference honors.

Solidifying a very strong right side at tackle is Andy Levitre who chipped in at guard as well before finding a home at tackle. He replaced Linehan in the lineup two games into the season and performed magnificently earning honorable mention all-conference honors.

Suffice to say, quarterback Sean Canfield or Lyle Moevao won’t have to worry about his backside with Schuening and Levitre blocking.

Did you know?

Oregon State is the only team in the Pac-10 to have all five of its offensive line starters make a postseason squad.

When all is said and done left guard Jeremy Perry could be the best offensive lineman in school history. He was named the Pac-10’s Co-Freshman of the Year in 2005 and earned first team all-league honors as a sophomore. Perry is the first underclassman offensive lineman in school history to earn first team All-Pac-10 honors.

He was recently named to the Lombardi Trophy Watch List, an award given out to the nation’s top lineman and will certainly be on the Outland Trophy Watch list, an award given to the nation’s top interior lineman.

Unfortunately, Perry injured his left knee at Hawaii and missed the Sun Bowl. As a result he is doubtful for spring ball. Filing in for Perry is Adam Speer who originally backed up DeVan at center, but moved to left guard when Perry got hurt.

Perry played for most of the Arizona State game and started the first game of his career in the Sun Bowl. Speer played superbly in both contests grading out at 87-percent against the Sun Devils.

A due will compete for the starting left tackle position - junior college transfer Michael Cole and junior Tavita Thompson.

Cole hails from Foothill College in California where he helped the Owls to a 10-1 record, a conference title and a number one national ranking in 2006. He is a homegrown product as he graduated from Lake Oswego, so his transition back to the Northwest went smoothly.

Thompson has been in the system for several years, but just hasn’t developed into a starting player. He played sparingly in 2006, mostly in mop up time. If he doesn’t step up his game quickly he will get swallowed up on the depth chart by the new players.

Redshirt freshman Mau Nomani really impressed Cavanaugh last season and as a result dressed down for many of the games.  But Noamni will not be available this year as he is going on his two year church mission.  If he would have stayed Noamni would have competed for the starting left tackle spot and had a good chance of winning it.

The team also has several young, athletic players who have put in their dues and are ready to contribute. Those players include redshirt freshman tackles Timi Oshinowo and Ryan Pohl along with sophomore guard Gregg Peat.

 

- The bad -

All-Pac-10 second team left tackle Adam Koets is gone after starting 37 consecutive games. His pass blocking skills will be missed as Cavanaugh called him the team’s best pass protector.

Depth at the tackle positions is a concern. Levitre is the only tackle on the roster with starting experience. Thompson has played in mop up duty, but has not developed as expected.

Depth at guard is not that big of a concern with Speer as the backup as he can cover either side of the line.

 

- The question -

Who will replace Koets at left tackle?

 

- Riley says -

“We don’t win 10 games last season without the play of the line. We don’t go for two points in the Sun Bowl, and Matt, Sammie and Yvenson don’t post the numbers they did.”

 

- BF.com says -

Four of the five starting spots are set with the left tackle spot up for grabs. The returning starters are all on the same page as they communicate and trust each other while reacting to the game as one. It is important that the player at left tackle integrate well with the other four.

There is no rush as it is only spring ball, but the sooner the coaches find a starter the faster the starters can start to work as one.

Shoring up the two deeps, specifically at tackle will also be a focus. Look for the underclassman to get plenty or reps as the coaches look for someone to separate themselves from the rest. Getting Oshinowo, Pohl and Peat repetitions will be key.

 

- Keep your eye on -

Michael Cole. He gets a jump on the competition coming in the fall (Jon Ioane) by enrolling early. At 6-foot-7, 290-pounds Cole has a very similar body to Koets and could be just what the doctor ordered.

 

- The roster -

Right Tackle

  • Junior Andy Levitre (6-3, 326) – one of the most versatile players on the line…adept at playing either tackle or guard…good footwork and knowledge of the offense…honorable mention All-Pac-10 in 2006...started 13 games.

  • Redshirt freshman Ryan Pohl (6-3, 280) – excellent footwork and mobility…better at run blocking than pass protecting…good at getting downfield and blocking…still has room to grow.

  • Redshirt freshman Timi Oshinowo (6-6, 316) – another player who loves to run block…still growing into his body…most likely a contributor in 2008.


Right Guard

  • Senior Roy Schuening (6-4, 317) – has started on the line since a redshirt freshman…confident and smart…honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick the last two seasons…a post season awards candidate.

  • Redshirt freshman Gregg Peat (6-3, 297) – developing player who will receive lots of reps this spring.

Center

  • Senior Kyle DeVan (6-2, 310) – one of the smartest players on the team…durable and mobile…very confident and motivated...a colorful interview...25 consecutive starts.

  • Junior Marcus Henderson (6-5, 285) – walk on from Lake Oswego who has impressed coaches on the scout team…athletic and heady.

  • Did you know?

    The offensive line returns four players who have combined for 99 starts.
    Redshirt freshman Alex Linnenkohl (6-2, 291) – a fundamentally sound player who is waiting for his time to shine…will take over from DeVan in 2008.


Left Guard

  • Juni or Jeremy Perry (6-2, 313) – aggressive player who blocks until and sometimes after the whistle blows…excels at run blocking although very good at pass protecting as well…a post season honors candidate...23 starts.

  • Junior Adam Speer (6-3, 291) – quiet and confident…more comfortable at guard than at center…versatile enough to play guard or center…the units sixth man this year...one career start.

  • Redshirt freshman Nathan Hannah (6-2, 301) – a walk on from Scappoose


Left Tackle

  • Redshirt freshman Mau Nomani (6-4, 327) – impressed coaches in practices and on scout team…dressed for games in case of injury…big frame and mobile...will take two year church mission and not play in 2007...would have competed for starting left tackle position

  • Junior Michael Cole (6-7, 290) – tall and athletic…enrolled in the spring…could add 10-20 more pounds...transferred from Foothill College.

  • Junior Tavita Thompson (6-6, 303) – slow developing player who must step up now or get lost on the depth chart.

  • Redshirt freshman Steven Rodenhurst (6-4, 345) – a walk on from Kamehameha High, the same school Pohl attended, in Hawaii.

- Offensive Line -

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