- Linebackers -
- The good -
Oregon State has a chance to solidify itself as the West Coast’s version of Linebacker U as the Beavers return all three starters from a year ago. Derrick Doggett, Alan Darlin and Joey LaRocque are back in black after combing for 257 tackles, including 33.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks in 2006.
The most talented of the bunch is weak side linebacker Derrick Doggett who is poised to have a first team All-Pac-10 season after earning second team all-conference honors the last two years.
Doggett recorded the second most tackles on the team with 87 stops, including a team best 14.5 tackles for loss, which includes five sacks. He is the team’s leading returning interceptor after picking off three passes, returning two for touchdowns.
His versatility is what makes Doggett so dangerous as he has the speed to track down the quarterback or drop into coverage and cover any receiver. Look for Doggett to have a big senior year in similar fashion to Beaver greats Nick Barnett and Keith Ellison, two players who are currently in the NFL.
Did you know?
|Oregon State's tackles for loss accounted for a nation leading 528 yards lost.|
Backing up Doggett is Dennis Christopher who did not record a tackle in 2006 as he struggled through a knee injury. Due to Christopher’s injury Eric Moala filled in grabbing nine tackles, including one sack, and one interception.
Filling the middle are a pair of run stuffing, smart, blue-collar players in Alan Darlin and backup Bryant Cornell. Darlin recorded 72 tackles, fourth on the team, along with 12.5 tackles for loss, second on the team, and five sacks, second on the team. Cornell tallied 24 tackles, including one sack, and one interception.
Darlin is one of the leaders on defense and is responsible for calling out the defensive plays. He led the team in fumble recoveries with four, tying OSU’s single season record.
Filling out the starting linebacking group is Joey LaRocque, who led the team in tackles with 98 stops, including 6.5 for loss, to go along with one interception. It took LaRocque awhile to settle in, but once he did he was always around the ball leading the team in tackles in five of the last eight games.
Isaiah Cook back ups LaRocque while also playing on special teams. In 14 games he recorded 18 tackles, including one sack, and two fumble recoveries.
If the starters and the veteran backups aren’t enough to be excited about the team has a couple of underclassmen who are ready to contribute.
The coaches expect Keaton Kristick to make an impact. Kristick didn’t redshirt as he participated primarily on special teams. He had 17 tackles, including one sack, in 11 games.
He can play inside or outside, has speed to burn and loves to hit. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Kristick move ahead of Christopher or Cook on the depth chart.
Dwight Roberson is another youngster that the coaches are excited about. He impressed while on the scout team with his athletic, hard nosed play and has a chance to pass up Cook or Christopher.
Tom Hansen and Keo Camat, who both redshrited last year, are two other fine linebacking prospects on the roster, but they will have to wait their turn before contributing.
- The bad -
Nothing. It doesn’t get any better when you return all of your starters and backups from a year ago that helped lead the Pac-10 in sacks with 47 and snagged 107 tackles for loss, good for ninth in the nation.
- The question -
Will Cook and Christopher hold off Kristick and Roberson?
- Riley says -
Overall – “We call ourselves the West Coast’s version of `linebacker U’ and this group solidifies that motto. We have guys who are very quick and physical, and that hinders offenses. If you are an offensive coordinator you have to take into account our linebackers abilities to rush the passer, but yet drop into coverage. We should be in a great position to start off spring practice with a number guys that can play.”
On Doggett - “Derrick is a very gifted athlete. He’s quick, has great speed and is tough. He’s along the same lines as some of our guys who are currently playing the position in the NFL.”
- BF.com says -
Oregon State SID Steve Fenk is calling this group one of the best linebacking unis in the nation, and who am I to disagree? The team is solid on the two deeps at each position and has several underclassmen who will push the older players for playing time.
What this means is that life will be difficult for the first and second team offense. There won’t be any tinkering with the starting lineup, the backups are the ones to watch as they fight for playing time.
- Keep your eye on -
Keaton Kristick. He already has game experience as he played on special teams and got in at the end of games during mop up time. Kristick is quick, confident and ready to contribute.
- The roster -
SR Derrick Doggett (6-3, 210) – one the best athletes on the team…long and lanky…can blitz or cover…87 tackles, second on the team…three interceptions, two returned for touchdowns…two time second team Pac-10 selection…19 career starts.
JR Dennis Christopher (6-1, 205) – struggled through 2006 with a knee injury…did not record a tackle.
JR Eric Moala Liava’a (6-0, 236) – played in 12 games grabbing 9 tackles, including one sack and one interception…fiery competitor.
RFR Dwight Roberson (6-0, 236) – impressive scout team member…redshirted in 2006…a fantastic athlete…tough.
RFR Keo Camat (6-2, 235) – redshirted in 2006…a good athlete that is still growing…coaches expect him to add more muscle…could move to the defensive line when all is said and done.
SR Alan Darlin (6-1, 251) – 13 career starts…the “quarterback” of the defense…hits like a truck…third on the team with 72 tackles…5.5 sacks, second on the team…12.5 tackles for loss, second on the team…a post season awards candidate.
JR Bryant Cornell (6-1, 240) – one career start, filled in for Darlin at Hawaii…tough and smart…24 tackles and one interception in ’06.
SO Keaton Kristick (6-3, 229) – only freshman linebacker that did not redshirt…played on special teams…recorded 17 tackles and one sack…fast, confident…reminds me of Richard Seigler…a future all-Pac-10 member.
SR Joey LaRocque (6-2, 230) – a ball hawk…led team with 98 tackles, 10th in the Pac-10…sideline to sideline player…14 career starts…a post season awards candidate.
JR Isaiah Cook (6-2, 215) – played in all 14 games tallying 18 tackles, including one sack…an important special teams member.
RFR Tom Hansen (6-1, 242) – reshirted in 2006…coaches like his development…could end up on the defensive line.
FR Walker Vave (6-2, 252) - enrolled in Janurary after finishing his church mission...named Defensive Player of the Year at Kahuku as a senior.
- Linebackers -
Tomorrow - Secondary