- Wide Receivers -
- The good -
One thing that can help a young quarterback tremendously is having a veteran
group of receivers – and that's just what quarterbacks Sean Canfield and
Lyle Moevao will have. Sammie Stroughter, Brandon Powers
and Anthony Wheat-Brown all come back after starting all, or most of
Stroughter returns after shattering people's expectations and some school records along the way. In his first year as the go to receiver Stroughter caught 74 passes for 1,293 yards, good for fifth and fourth all-time, while catching five touchdowns.
Despite his small strides Stroughter has the speed to pull away from defenders and track down passes – plus he is not afraid to mix it up with defensive backs for a jump ball. Similar to running back Yvenson Bernard, Stroughter's worth does not always show up in the box score.
His team first attitude and his leadership skills helped the team stay calm in difficult situations while his object lessons, specifically before the USC game, inspired the team and is a legend that Beavers fans will cherish and pass on for generations.
Stroughter led the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game averaging 92.4 yards per game, good for 10th in the NCAA. He was responsible for the team's longest offensive plays of the season catching an 80-yard touchdown pass at Washington and at Hawaii.
Backing up Stroughter is Chris Johnson, who saw action in 11 games
catching four passes for 69 yards. He has speed to burn and could serve in
similar capacity as Ruben Jackson did last year on reverses and other trick
plays. One part of his game that he has to work before receiving more playing
time is holding onto the ball.
While Stroughter gets most of the attention, slotback Brandon Powers toils endlessly, primarily as a blocker, keeping the ground and running game chugging along. The coaches love his size and physical toughness and regularly point him out as one of the overlooked parts of the offense.
Powers is usually in motion and used as an extra blocker filling the role of an H-back. He has never gone over 100 yards receiving and has just two career touchdowns, but when the Beavs need a first down, the quarterback usually looks Powers way.
Did you know?
|Strougther was named the Pac-10's Offensive Player of the Week after catching seven passes for 223 yards and one touchdown against Washington.|
The 6-foot-2, 213-pound receiver had several big grabs in ‘06. In the Sun
Bowl he caught three passes, all resulting in first downs, including a diving
27-yard catch across the middle of the field setting up OSU's next to last
touchdown. Plus, he was responsible for recovering the onside kick attempt by
USC to preserve the Orange and Black victory.
Behind Powers is junior Shane Morales, who appeared in just four games catching one pass for one yard. Morales performed well in fall camp, but failed to translate his success on the practice field into playing time. It's not that Morales is a bad player, it's the fact that Powers really stepped up his game and was rarely taken out.
Morales won't be taking Powers spot, but with a year in the system the coaches trust him more and could give him more playing time. It is also nice to know the team has a solid backup in case Powers gets injured.
Lining up at split end is Anthony Wheat-Brown, who had a tumultuous year. He started the first 10 games catching 21 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns before violating team rules resulting in a suspension and missing the last three regular season games.
Wheat-Brown, however, did return for the Sun Bowl, although he played sparingly. On a positive note, he stated that the he learned a great deal during his suspension.
The suspension refocused Wheat-Brown, which could result in him having a huge senior season. He is the team's most physical receiver who can stretch the field, go up for a jump ball or go across the middle of the field. He is also a punishing blocker, as his hit at Washington showed that broke Stroughter free for an 80-yard scoring jaunt.
Safety Bryan Payton went through a similar ordeal in 2004 where he was suspended. He came back a new man and now he is expected to have a great year. Expect the same result for Wheat-Brown.
One young player that Riley expects to contribute is redshirt freshman Casey Kjos who impressed coaches with his knowledge of the playbook on the scout team. He is a big target at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. Unfortunately he will miss spring ball with an injury.
Kyle Brown is another underclassman with a big frame who you should keep your eye on. He has great leaping ability, but has difficulty getting off of the line of scrimmage and getting separation from the defensive backs.
The roster has 15 receivers listed, and thanks to Mike Hass' success, over half are walk-ons. Of the walk-ons to pay attention to is Taylor Kavanaugh, who is small, but is courageous over the middle and works hard day in and day out.
- The bad -
Not much. Losing Ruben Jackson (16 catches for 337 yards, two touchdowns, team leading 21.1 ypc) doesn't hurt as there are other players that can fill his role. Depth will be a concern if one of the starters gets injured although Johnson and Morales are ready and willing to step up.
- The question -
Of the backups, who will separate themselves from the rest and become a viable option off of the bench and the front runner for the go to receiver in 2008?
- Riley says -
On Stroughter - "Sammie is a terrific story; here is a guy that wasn't
highly recruited who has become one of the most gifted athletes in the Pac-10.
He, much like Bernard, gives us options that stretch opposing defenses. Sammie
is an outstanding route-runner, has terrific hands and has great awareness on
the field. He really is the total package as a receiver and special teams
On Wheat-Brown and Powers - "Those two young men really came into their own last year. The play of Brandon and Anthony, particularly the last half of the season or so, enabled us to move the ball around and create seams in the defenses."
- BF.com says -
With all three starters being seniors it is crucial to get the younger
players and the backups loads of repetitions. Stroughter, Wheat Brown and Powers
will all play plenty, but look for the coaches to shuffle in Johnson, Morales
and possibly Brown or Kavanaugh in with the first team to see where they fit.
The luxury the team has right now is experience and three all-around good players who do the little and big things well. At this point, there are no other players who can match the starters, but that's what spring practice is for – developing the players on the roster from top to bottom.
- Keep your eye on -
Anthony Wheat-Brown. It is hard to believe that Wheat-Brown has never made even a Pac-10 honorable mention team. He is one of the most athletic players in Corvallis with the total package. Wheat Brown is now refocused, reenergized and ready for a huge senior season.
- The roster -
- SR Sammie Strougher (6-0, 183) – one of the most explosive play makers in school
history…third team AP All-American as a multi-purpose player…dangerous in the
open field…almost unstoppable in one on one coverage…the ultimate team
player…great leadership skills…solid hands…disciplined route runner…second team
All-Pac-10 receiver…14 consecutive career starts.
- JR Chris Johnson (6-1, 187) – speedy player who will get better with more
playing time…will back up both the flanker and split end positions…fearless in
the open field…sometimes has difficulty holding onto the pigskin.
- SR Brian Davilla (5-11, 169) – hard working walk on from California.
- RFR Lahaina Olsen-Kuroda (5-10, 186) – walk on from Aiea High in Hawaii.
- SR Brandon Powers (6-2, 218) – tough player with 13 consecutive starts…great
blocker and understanding of the offense…sure hands…not fast, but disciplined
and consistent…really came into his own last year.
Did you know?
Stroughter topped the 100-yard receiving mark five times in 2006.
- JR Shane Morales (6-1, 197) – possession receiver with good hands…disciplined
route runner…will receive lots of repetitions in April.
- SO Taylor Kavanaugh (5-10, 174) – fearless over the middle…blue collar
player…also returns punts.
- SR Matthew Sieverson (6-2, 206) – will miss spring practice with an injury…moved
from safety to receiver last year…a special teams standout.
- RFR Sam Oltman (6-1, 209) – walk on from West Linn High in Oregon.
- SR Anthony Wheat-Brown (6-1, 213) – 29 career starts…has played in the slot
and at split end…one of the strongest members of the team…not afraid to go
across the middle…sometimes struggles staying healthy…solid hands and
leaping ability…bruising blocker.
- SO Casey Kjos (6-2, 210) - will miss spring practice with an injury…a scout
team standout who Riley expects to contribute this year.
- RFR Kyle Brown (6-4, 212) – long and lanky with good leaping ability…decent
hands…still has room to add muscle…not physical enough at line of
scrimmage…could be useful in the red zone.
- RFR Matt Frosland (6-2, 180) – walk on from Marist High in Eugene, OR…prep
teammate of kicker Jake Webber.
- RFR Mana Silva (6-1, 206) – moved from quarterback to receiver…from Kamehameha High in Hawaii.
- FR Ryan Hadden – walk on from Sprague High in Salem, OR.
- Wide Receivers -
Yesterday - Offensive Line
Tomorrow - Tight Ends
Next week - Defense and special teams