RILEY: Kicking and punting after Serna

COACH MIKE RILEY this week talked of life in Corvallis, from a punting and kicking perspective, post Alexis Serna as the Beavers approach the start of spring ball on March 31. Also, any chance Oregon State might experiment with a fullback, college football's forgotten man position, to help clear the road for the Rodgers boys this fall?

On Serna being gone and Kahut stepping into the placekicker role:

"It is going to be very strange because I feel like he has been around since the Giant Killer days. He is just part of us. It is a great story. He is a great guy - a tough competitor - the kind of guy that we can put in situations in ball games where we say, 'Ok, Alexis go ahead and win it for us' and he has come through. He has also set a standard.

"Our young guy, Justin Kahut, who has been around a couple of years has grown up practicing around Alexis and seen the work ethic that goes into it. Now Justin is a great young man who is a tremendous worker and it was nothing but good for him to be around Alexis and see him go to work. I have a lot of faith in this young man coming in to kick for us.

"In this day of football how your kicker does is a major, major factor and that consistency of getting points when you are at the 30-yard line is huge for us."

Punting game outlook:

"We will be better. Thank goodness that Alexis stepped up and said 'I will do this for the team,'because as our team went and got better during the year so did Alexis at punting. He actually saved us in a lot of ways - as a kicker and then stepping in to punt for us. We don't have the answer today.

"We have three guys going at it this spring. Out of that, we will pick the best one and then we will bring in a guy in the fall that I can't talk about because he didn't sign a letter but he is going to walk-on. He has got a lot of tools.

"Who comes to the front by the time the Stanford game rolls around is what is going to be important. And it is going to take a lot of time teaching, evaluating, and putting these guys under stress situations in practice and then figuring out who is going to be our punter."

Any chance OSU would run a John Washington-type fullback out there with the Rodgers' brothers (James Rodgers, Jacquizz Rodgers) and shock somebody on Saturday by lining up in the Wing-T?

"It is an interesting point about fullbacks. They are disappearing from college football. There aren't many two back offenses anymore, but they still run a lot of fullback stuff in the NFL. So the NFL is going to have to go out of the box a little bit and look at guys from around different positions - for example I wouldn't be surprised if someone doesn't look at Alan Darlin as a fullback. He was a tremendous fullback in high school and he has all of those physical capabilities. That is a long answer to that question - as for the formation it probably won't happen at Oregon State, because I don't know that we have that guy. It becomes a recruiting mode about who you are going to recruit for what you do and how it all fits. We are not really into a traditional two back set. Now we may have two backs in the backfield or we might be able to take a guy and motion him back there but probably not as a fullback."

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