Spring notebook: 101

The start of 2008 football season is six months away, but preparations officially begin as the Men in Black start spring practice Monday, Mar. 31. The 15-practice sessions touch three months beginning in late March and ending in early May with the annual spring game on May 3 in Reser Stadium.

A talented group of receivers returns in Sammie Strougther, Darrell Catchings, Shane Morales, Chris Johnson and James Rodgers, among others, and finding enough playing time is one of the primary concerns heading into spring drills.  The offensive line looks to replace two starters at center and right tackle, although it looks like Marcus Henderson has a firm grip on center while right tackle is up in the air, and most likely will remain that way well into fall camp.

Consistency from quarterback Lyle Moevao and finding the next great running back, right now its between Ryan McCants and Jeremy Francis, will also be keys on the offensive side of the ball

Defensively, the focus will be on the front seven where three of four starting defensive lineman must be replaced.  Victor Butler has one end locked down as Slade Norris, Kevin Frahm and Keith Robertson battle for the other.  Defensive tackle sports a smorgasbord of players including Mitchel Hunt, Brennan Olander, Sioeli Nau and Stephen Paea vying for playing time.

A fresh, but familiar, set of faces in Keaton Kristick, Bryant Cornell, Isaiah Cook, Keith Pankey, and Dwight Roberson man the linebacking spots.  Look for the coaches to experiment and move around players to find the best combination.

A new kicker, Justin Kahut, and punter, Kyle Harper or Sean Sehnem, along with a new snapper, Alex Linnenkohl, are all set to make their case for starting duties on special teams as well.

 

- Spring links -

Two Deeps | Roster | Spring Schedule | Spring Prospectus | Message Boards

Spring ball: The newcomers | Time to step up | Twelve to watch | Spring battles: Running back | Quarterback | Receivers

RILEY: Kicking and punting after Serna | Spring focus is up front | Spring primers: Defense | Offense | Overall

 

- Desktop Wallpaper -


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- Roster updates -

Sitting out:

Offense
Defense

 

Left team:

..Offense..
Defense
  • None

 

New high school scholarship players:

Offense
Defense
  • RB Ryan Katz - graduated early from high school, five to play four

  • TE Colby Prince - grayshirt who could be a future star

  • OT Rory Ross - grayshirt who will benefit greatly from a college weight program
  • DT Jesse Fifita - grayshirt who hasn't played organized football since suffering a season ending injury his senior year in 2006

  • DE Taylor Henry - grayshirt who grabbed 37 sacks during his upperclassman years.

  • S Josh LaGrone - grayshirt who was the High Desert League Player fo the Year in 2006

  • DT Castro Masaniai - grayshirt who is the cousin of defensive tackle Tonu Tuimalealiifano

  • LB Anthony Watkins - grayshirt who is an all-around good athlete earning all league honors as a quarterback and safety

 

Walk ons:

Offense
Defense

 

..Transfers:..

..Offense..
..Defense..
  • PK Tyler Cope - must sit out a year after transferring from the University of Colorado

  • RB Jeremy Francis - all-around running back who will compete for starting spot

  • OT Viliamu Nau - JUCO transfer who will round out the two deeps
  • DT Stephen Paea - junior college transfer with natural strength, will compete for starting tackle spot

  • P Sean Sehnem - transfer from Division II Western New Mexico State who will compete for starting punting duties

 

Position changes:

Offense
Defense
  • Ryan Pohl from offensive tackle to center
     
  • Alex Linnenkohl from center to offensive guard
  • None

 

Graduated (starts):

Offense
Defense

 

- Position battles -

Offense:

RB – Ryan McCants vs. Jeremy Francis
McCants has been in the system for a year while Francis has experience in the junior college ranks.

RT – Mike Remmers vs. Viliamu Nau
Remmers is a redshirt freshman who walked on a year ago. Nau is a junior college transfer. It sure would be nice to have Tavita Thompson around!

OG – Gregg Peat vs. Alex Linnenkohl
Peat has more experience than Linnenkohl although Linnenkohl was prepping nicely for the center position until being switched to guard.

WR - Chris Johnson vs. Casey Kjos vs. Kyle Brown
There's a finite amount of playing time for receivers, who will compliment Sammie Stroghter, James Rodgers, Darrell Catchings and Shane Morales?

 

Defense:

LC– Keenan Lewis vs. Tim Clark
Lewis is always hampered by cramps, but is solid when healthy while Clark was one of the biggest surprises of 2007.

WLB – Keith Pankey vs. Dwight Roberson
Pankey is a special teams standout while Roberson has been slowed down by injuries.

DT – Stephen Paea vs. Sioeli Nau vs. Mitchel Hunt
Paea and Nau are junior college transfers with Nau having already spent a year in the OSU system. Hunt is young, but has been in Corvallis for quite some time.

FS – Bryan Payton vs. Greg Laybourn
Both are experienced players who are game proven.

 

- From the prospectus -

The 2007 Wrap: Oregon State finished the season as one of the hottest teams in the country for the second consecutive season, winning seven of its final eight games to end the year 9-4. The program won its fourth straight bowl game, all with Mike Riley as head coach. The 6-3 Pac-10 record was good enough for third place, one game behind USC and Arizona State.

2008 Schedule: Oregon State will have one of its most difficult schedules in the nation in 2008 facing eight teams that played in 2007 (‘08) bowl games. The season opens with a Pac-10 Conference game Aug. 28 at Stanford. The remainder of the schedule is Sept. 6 at Penn State; Sept. 13 vs. Hawa’i; Sept. 25 (Thurs) vs. USC; Oct. 2 (Thurs.) at Utah; Oct. 11 vs. Washington State; Oct. 18 at Washington; Nov. 1 vs. Arizona State; Nov. 8 at UCLA; Nov. 15 vs. California; Nov. 22 at Arizona; and Nov. 29 vs. Oregon.

Final Ranking: Oregon State concluded the year in Associated Press Top-25 for the second consecutive season, ending the campaign No. 25 (No. 21 in ‘06). The team finished one position out of the USA Today/Coaches Poll. It’s the first time Oregon State has finished in the Top-25 in back-to-back seasons since 1967-68.

Bowl Win Streak: Oregon State will enter the 2008 season tied for third (Texas) for the longest active bowl win streak at four. Boston College has won eight straight and Utah has won seven in a row. The Beavers and Utes will play in 2008 in Salt Lake City.

Overall Win Streak: The Beavers will enter the 2008 season with the fourth-longest win streak in the nation at four games. BYU leads the FBS with a 10-game streak, followed by Georgia (7) and USC (5.

Back-to-Back Pac-10 Marks: For the first time since 1966-69, Oregon State finished the season with back-to-back winning marks in Pac-10 play. The Beavers placed third in 2006 and 2007 at 6-3. Head coach Mike Riley has guided the program to three winning marks in conference action.

“Fight On:” Only USC has a better overall and conference record than Oregon State over the last two seasons. Here is a closer look: USC 22-4 (14-4 in Pac-10), Oregon State 19-8 (12-6), Arizona State 17-9 (11- 7), California 17-9 (10-8), Oregon 16-10 (9-9), UCLA 13-13 (10-8), Arizona 11-13 (8-10), Washington State 11-13 (7-11), Washington 9-16 (5-13) and Stanford 5-19 (4-14).

Riley’s Bowl Games: Undefeated. Mike Riley has never lost a bowl game that he has been a coach in (7-0). The record includes victories in the 2007 Emerald Bowl over Maryland (21-14), 2006 Sun Bowl over Missouri (39-38), 2004 Insight Bowl over Notre Dame (38-21) and 2003 Las Vegas Bowl over New Mexico (55-14). Riley was also victorious as the offensive coordinator at USC in the Rose (vs. Northwestern), Freedom (vs. Utah) and Cotton (vs. Texas Tech).

Riley Matches Record: Head coach Mike Riley and former head coaches the late Tommy Prothro (1955-64) and the late Dee Andros (1965-75) are the only mentors in Oregon State history to post victories over top 25 teams in three consecutive years (nobody has done it four straight). Riley has wins in 2005 over No. 18 Cal, 2006 over No. 3 USC and No. 24 Hawai’i, and 2007 over No. 2 Cal and No. 18 Oregon. Prothro won games in 1962 over No. 12 Stanford and No. 19 West Virginia, in 1963 over No. 14 Baylor and in 1964 over No. 17 Oregon. Andros beat No. 18 Arizona State in 1969, No. 14 Oklahoma in 1970 and No. 11 Arizona State in 1971.Riley has won five of his last nine games vs. top 25 foes.

Stretch Drive: Oregon State put together another 2006-like stretch drive. The Beavers are a Pac-10 best 15-3 combined in the months of October, November and December over the last two seasons.

We’re Number One ... Against the Run: Oregon State ended the year with the nation’s top rush defense, allowing 70.6 yards per game — one of only nine teams to end the year allowing less than 100 yards on the ground on average. Overall, OSU was eighth for total defense, surrendering 306.2 yards per outing. Here is a closer look at the opponents’ rushing statistics vs. OSU as comparedto the season average:

Sack Guys: The Beavers had two players (neither were starters) who ranked in the top-10 in the Pac-10 Conference for quarterback sacks — defensive ends Victor Butler (3rd/10.5) and Slade Norris (6th/9.0). Butler tied for first in the Pac-10 for accumulated yardage lost with 101 — tied for fourth nationally. Overall, OSU ranked third for sacks with 44 accumulating a national leading 367 yards lost.

1,065 Yards — TFLs: Oregon State averaged 8.6 tackles for loss per game, sixth in the nation. The Beavers accumulated yardage via TFLs was a national leading 537. OSU’s defense accounted for the nation’s top mark in 2006 with 528 yards lost -- the two years combined add to 1,065 yards.


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