Position battles to watch

Football season has arrived for Oregon State fans around the globe. As the football team prepares for the season, BeaverFootball.com takes a look at positions to keep an eye on in August.

Backup running back
Clinton Polk vs. Patrick Fuller
The backup to spell Yvenson Bernard continues into fall camp as the unit took a hit in the summer with Micah Strickland being ruled academically ineligible. Patrick Fuller had a fantastic spring camp and looks to continue his comeback in August.  Clinton Polk turned in a consistent camp as well along with Tony Carrasco.

The coaches know they have talented runners and catchers, and similar to the quarterbacks, it comes down to one skill - blocking. Whoever blocks the best, wins the backup spot.


Starting quarterback
Sean Canfield vs. Lyle Moevao
Coach Mike Riley says he would like to make a decision on the starting quarterback a week into fall camp, but realistically expects to make the call a week and a half into practices.  Until that time comes each gunslinger will receive equal snaps as they try and prove they are the one to lead the team in 2007.

The coaches aren't looking for the big play, they are looking for consistency and who completes the most passes.  Whoever does that, wins the starting position.


Starting left tackle
Tavita Thompson vs. Mau Nomani
Junior Tavita Thompson won the left tackle spot by default in the spring, but Mau Nomani decided in the summer to put his mission on hold and play this year. Plus, the team received additional good news that both junior college transfers Michael Cole and Jon Ioane are qualified.

Thompson is the incumbent heading in, but many expect Nomani to take the starting spot by the end of camp. Cole and Ioane will prep for backup duty.


Starting tight end
Howard Croom vs. John Reese vs. Brady Camp vs. Gabe Miller
Getting this young group of men lots of repetitions will be one of the focuses this month. Howard Croom is clearly going to start with Brady Camp currently in the second spot.

The team uses a lot of two tight ends sets which means there is plenty of playing time for John Reese and a finally healthy Gabe Miller.


Backup cornerback
James Dockery vs. Tim Clark
With Coye Francies being kicked off of the team this summer cornerback depth took a serious hit.  The team needs a third cornerback who can give the starters a rest and sub in when Keenan Lewis cramps up.

Redshirt freshman James Dockery, who practiced with the cornerbacks and safeties in April, has not played a college down while Tim Clark's experience mainly lies on special teams.  Getting the youngsters as many repetitions, preferably against the first teamers, is one of the priorities as they will receive a baptism by fire, similar to what Lewis and Brandon Hughes experienced as freshmen.


Ryan Gunderson vs. Taylor Kavanaugh
You may scoff at this position, but it is extremely important to the success of special teams, Alexis Serna's accuracy and ultimately the scoreboard. Jon Strowbridge, who did a great job last year as the holder, was ruled academically ineligible forcing quarterback Ryan Gunderson or receiver Taylor Kavanaugh into the holding role.

Gunderson has some, although limited, experience as a holder while Kavanaugh has great hands and ice water in his veins, which would make him a perfect fit.  Keep an eye on this during practice to see if snapper, holder and kicker can all get on the same page.


  • SCHEDULE:  For Oregon State's full August practice schedule, click here.
  • READ UP:  Want to get an in-depth look at each unit and get up to date heading into the season.  Read the Fall Camp 101 article to get informed.
  • GET YOUR TICKETS: Single game tickets are available, along with season tickets and the Take 3 plan, and may be purchased in person at Gill Coliseum, via the telephone at 1-800-GO-BEAVS or on www.osubeavers.com. Ticket office hours are weekdays 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. with personnel ready to answer all your questions.

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