Spring primer - Offense

With spring practice on the horizon it's time to take a quick look at the Oregon State offense which returns just four full time starters but a smattering of players that started several games throughout the season. The unit faces the task of replacing one of the most productive running backs in the history of the program and a couple of fine offensive lineman.

Key losses: None

Despite helping their team to nine wins the quarterbacks were a mixed bag, and the once seemingly clear quarterback picture is even more muddled one year later.

Sophomore Sean Canfield was inconsistent, which is to be expected from a first year starter, throwing a ghastly 14 interceptions in nine games. Canfield's high interception total led to him holding onto the ball more which led to more sacks which led to the offense stalling.

But, he was improving in the second half of the season throwing just four interceptions in his last four games before getting injured against USC. Many in Beaver Nation feel Canfield, who will miss spring drills recovering from shoulder surgery, is the future despite him starting fall practice at number two on the depth chart.

The emotional Lyle Moevao hasn't lost a game as a starter with a perfect 4-0 record. As a result he starts spring drills atop the depth chart. Moevao doesn't have the deep ball that Canfield has, but is tough in the pocket and just knows how to win as his teammates feed off of his relaxed attitude.

True freshman Ryan Katz is graduating early and will be in Corvallis for spring practice.  The coaches hope to redshirt the mobile quarterback, but he will receive plenty of repetitions with Canfield sitting out the month.  Grayshirt Kaulin Krebs joins the team for the spring and will redshirt.

Walk-ons Zach Anderson, Justin Engstrom and Brennan Sim round out the quarterback group and will each have a chance to impress the coaches with added repetitions due to Canfield's absence.


Running back
Key losses: Yvenson Bernard (second team All-Pac-10, 275 carries, 1,214 yards, 13 touchdowns | 36 receptions, 179 yards, one touchdown), Matt Sieverson (85 carries, 368 yards, two touchdowns| 11 catches, 70 yards)

Redshirt freshman Ryan McCants is the frontrunner for the job. At a big, bruising 6-foot-1, 225-pounds with decent speed the coaches are saying he compares favorably to Steven Jackson.

Fellow redshirt freshman Ahmed Mokhtar and senior Patrick Fuller will be splitting carries with McCants and will have until fall to make their case for playing time.

Junior college transfer Jeremy Francis doesn't arrive until fall camp in August along with Jacquizz Rodgers who is expected to play as a true freshman.


Wide receiver
Key losses: Anthony Brown (39 receptions, 550 yards, one touchdown), Brandon Powers (31 catches, 312 yards)

There is still no word on Sammie Stroughter's appeal for a medical redshirt, although all signs point to him being back.

Even if the sensational Stroughter doesn't return all is not lost with a marvelous pair of sophomores in Darrell Catchings and James Rodgers returning after very productive true freshman years.

Senior Chris Johnson, along with Kyle Brown, who was injured for much of 2007, and the injury riddled Casey Kjos have all been in the system for several years and each, depending on if Brown and Kjos can stay healthily, could have breakout years.

Senior Shane Morales came on the end of the season and will backup Catchings in the slot if Stroughter returns.

Juniors Taylor Kavanaugh and Damola Adeniji have both had outstanding camps before and are ones to keep an eye on.  Sophomore Aaron Nicols is also another walk-on with plenty of talent.


Tight end
Key losses: None

The tight ends should figure prominently into the offensive attack this year after getting used to Pac-10 play in 2007.

The depth chart is stacked four deep with the versatile Howard Croom, who started all 13 games last season, leading the way.  Sophomores Brady Camp and Gabe Miller along with junior John Reese all saw the field plenty of times and will see their time increase in 2008. If Miller can stay healthy look for him to push Croom for the starting spot as the coaches love his blend of athleticism and play making ability.

Redshirt freshmen Joe Halahuni will have to wait a few more years before contributing while grayshirts Colby Prince and Kevin Pankey join the unit for their first spring drills.

Due to a stacked depth chart, it would not be surprising to see one, if not two players, make a position switch.


Offensive line
Key losses: Kyle Devan (started 38 consecutive games, honorable mention All-Pac-10), Roy Schuening (school record 50 straight starts, first team All-Pac-10)

Seniors Adam Speer and Andy Levitre are the lone offensive lineman returning that played in all 13 games a year ago.  Speer will start at right guard while Levitre will man one of the tackle positions, probably right tackle.

Marcus Henderson and Alex Linnenkohl will compete for center with Henderson having a slight advantage although there is talk of moving Ryan Pohl to center and Linnenkohl to guard.

Senior Jeremy Perry will be looking to make a big impact his senior year at left guard after struggling through injures his junior season. Junior Gregg Peat, who started one game as a sophomore, and junior college transfer Brent McNeil, who is coming in the fall, will compete for the backup guard positions

Once again one of the most watched battles will be at left guard where Michael Cole (606, 298) and possibly Pohl, who started two games last year, will battle it out. 

Senior Tavita Thompson is expected to be back in November after failing a random drug test, which is being disputed, last season and missing the last half of the year. Junior college transfer Viliamu Nau has great feet and is hard worker, but won't arrive until August.

New bodies include junior college transfer Una Smiley and grayshirt Rory Ross, who will redshirt, along with walk on Nick Lewis from Jesuit High in Portland, Ore.


Key losses: Alexis Serna (second team All-Pac-10, 18-27 (.667)  field goals, 38-38 extra points, school record 384 points, Pac-10 record 144 extra points made)

Sophomore Justin Kahut will take over kicking duties. He booted four kickoffs and one field goal last year connecting from 38 yards out against Idaho State.  Backing up Kahut is fellow sophomore Jake Webber who has yet to play in a game.

Colorado transfer Tyler Cope will sit out due to NCAA transfer rules.

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