Spring preview '07 - Tight ends

Sophomores John Reese and Howard Croom return after playing on special teams; Brady Camp in the mix with Gabe Miller still rehabbing.

- Tight Ends -


- The good -

While coach Mike Riley likes to call Oregon State Linebacker U of the West Coast, the Beavers have perennially had great tight ends; starting with Marty Maurer in the early nineties to Tim Euhus who is currently playing in the NFL to Joe Newton who is soon going to be lacing it up in the big leagues.

Playing tight end for OSU is a high profile position as Riley and company love to get them involved often using two tight end sets.

Several years ago the team was stacked at tight end, but injuries and transfers took their toll leaving the depth chart scarce. The coaches did a superb job recruiting in 2005 signing four tight ends - John Reese, Howard Croom, Brady Camp and Gabe Miller. Plus, Joe Halahuni enrolled in January giving the Beavers five young, talented players.

Did you know?

Reese and Croom played in 14 total games as freshman, mostly on special teams.

Despite playing behind seniors Joe Newton and Jason Vandiver, Reese and Croom received valuable playing time as freshman that will help them hit the ground running in 2007.

Reese played in eight games, mostly on special teams, returning one kick for seven yards. He is one of the faster tight ends on the team with solid hands and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. He is still growing, as he has added 15 pounds since at OSU.

Croom is a compact 6-foot-3, 248 pounds who appeared in six games, mostly on special teams, but did catch one pass for three yards. Croom’s strength is his blocking ability. He has good balance and doesn’t mind mixing it up.

Heading into spring camp, Croom is a better all around player than Reese with an excellent football IQ, but he does not have Reese’s athleticism or ability to stretch the field.

Oregonian Brady Camp is also in the mix and is another player who has benefited from the weight room adding an extra 15 pounds. Camp is comparable in size and weight to Newton and is very athletic as he grabbed first team all-state honors at Barlow on both sides of the ball. Camp’s strength is his receiving game.

One of the headliners of last year’s recruiting class was Lake Oswego’s Gabe Miller who was expected to come in as a freshman and contribute immediately. Unfortunately he injured his right Achilles’ tendon in April running track and was forced to miss fall practice and the entire season.

Miller was almost back to 100-percent six months later before re-injuring the same tendon in early September. He has been rehabbing for seven months and is close to being fully healed. The coaches aren’t taking any chances this time around and have decided to hold him out of spring practice.

Halahuni enrolled in January after failing to qualify with last year’s recruiting class. Halahuni is a natural athlete with tons of room for improvement. Time in the weight room will benefit him greatly.


- The bad -

Experience. Despite a wealth of talent, none of the players have proven it during a game. Newton didn’t put up gaudy offensive numbers like his sophomore year but his consistent blocking and knowledge of the offense allowed the coaches to open up the playbook. Even when he didn’t get a catch for three straight Pac-10 games he was still effective as he forced the defense to pay attention to him.

It is easy to overlook Vandiver, but his dependable play gave Matt Moore extra time to throw and Yvenson Bernard more room to run. Both Newton and Vandiver’s experience and knowledge will be missed.


- The question -

Who is going to fill in Newton’s big shoes?


- Riley says -

On the tight ends - “Joe was certainly a terrific player and we benefited greatly from his leadership and ability, but I really like what we have in terms of young players at this position. I’m very comfortable with this group and we are in a great shape for this season and in the future at tight end.”

More on the tight ends – “We had two freshman that did not redshirt, who got the benefit of practicing our offense. John Reese and Howard Croom should be ahead of the game, but they are young and they have not been in that role yet, so they have to step up and give us that play we need at tight end."

On a different focus in regards to the tight ends - "Our focus may be a little different throwing the ball, we had a lot of things that we designated for Joe. But as these guys develop and show that they can do some stuff the more they will get."


- BF.com says -

Getting Reese, Croom and Camp as many repetitions as possible is important, but it is not just about catching the ball as they must also work on their blocking skills and playbook knowledge.

Due to the inexperience at tight end Riley says that the offense will change a little bit from a year ago by not throwing to the tight end as much. However, when the players prove themselves, the more they will be involved with the offense.


- Keep your eye on -

Gabe Miller. He won’t be participating in any of the scrimmages, but he will be running and catching during the skeleton drills. Riley said he could participate, but don’t want to take any chances. Watch if he favors his right side or holds back a little when he runs to see how far along he is in his rehab. The Beavs will need him for depth in the fall.


- The roster -

SO John Reese (6-3, 235) – athletic…good runner…plays with a little bit of an attitude…participated on special teams in 2006…precise router runner.

SO Howard Croom (6-3, 248) – tough, compact player…good hands…played on special teams in 2006.

RFR Brady Camp (6-4, 256) – versatile athlete…feisty…loves to bang heads…redshirted in 2006.

RFR Gabe Miller (6-2, 230) – sitting out spring to fully heal his Achilles tendon…expected to be back in August and compete for playing time…redshirted in 2006.

Freshman Joe Halahuni (6-2, 259) – enrolled in January…most likely will redshirt…could move to the defensive side of the ball…strong…a natural athlete…excellent hand-eye coordination.

- Tight Ends -

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