15 reasons to head to Corvallis

The winter temperatures and the occasional snow flurries usually means spring practice is a long ways off, but this year that is not the case my friend as the Oregon State football team will bundle up and probably stay indoors for their first official practice of 2008. Here are fifteen reasons, in no particular order, you should head to Corvallis and watch spring practice.

  1. Marcus Henderson: Keep an eye on this former walk-on who will start at center.  It is very rare for a walk-on offensive lineman to receive any amount of playing time and for one to earn a starting spot is something special.
  2. Beautiful Corvallis:  It's usually soggy this time of year, but if you catch a day that tantalizes you with warm summer weather plus a crystal clear blue sky and the sun shining with a slight breeze blowing - there isn't a better place to be.
  3. The JUCOS: It's always fun to see if the junior college transfers come into camp in shape and ready to go or slightly out of shape and need some work.  Plus, it's not everyday that a 6-foot-6, 330-pound (Viliamau Nau) player joins the program.
  4. Ryan McCants:  With the likes of Ken Simonton, Steven Jackson and Yvenson Bernard running through the Mid Valley in the last 10 years one thousand yard rushers are almost taken for granted at OSU.  A new era at running back gets underway as the coaches say McCants compares favorably to current NFL star Steven Jackson. 
  5. Greg Newhouse: If you have never been to a spring practice then you are in for a treat the first time you hear Newhouse yelling in his raspy voice.  The 56- year old coach is full of energy and can be heard no matter where you are at in the indoor practice facility or outside on the practice fields.
  6. Keaton Kristick:  Inside or outside?  It is still yet to be determined where Kristick will end up, but this junior is the next great linebacker to pull on the Orange and Black.
  7. Meet other Beaver fans:  There's always a handful of regulars at each practice.  Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation or ask a question.  Most people are friendly and knowledgeable.  Who knows?  You may just run into a former player on the sidelines.
  8. Local Boyz:   After taking in a practice there isn't a better way to top the day off then to fill your stomach with some of the best Hawaiian food around.  Located on Monroe, just a northeast jaunt across campus.
  9. Keo Camat: Look for Oregonian to be moved from linebacker to defensive end.  The coaches love his playmaking ability and with an already strong set of linebackers filling out the two deeps and a need for defensive ends due to a high rotation philosophy it makes perfect sense for the6-foot-2, 230-pound athlete to put his hand on the turf.  Another playmaking, homegrown defensive end!?
  10. The kicking game:  Normally the kickers and punters get around 30 minutes of practice with the rest of the team before shuffling off to Reser Stadium to work on their craft with little attention
  11. James Rodgers:  You saw him torch defenses on the television and live in Reser Stadium time and time again, now's your chance to get up close and personal and see how fast he really is as he blazes down the sidelines for another six as you stand only a few yards away.
  12. Lineman drills:  One of the most entertaining drills are when the offensive and defense lineman go at each other one on one.  Filled with plenty of passion and spirit this is where the player's pride is on display and each one gives it their all to impress the coaches and onlookers.
  13. Victor Butler:  As a junior he registered a team high 10.5 sacks, almost three times his total as a sophomore, and was third in the nation for lost yards via tackles for loss with 124, more than four times his total as a sophomore.  The Beavers have never had defensive ends named to an All-Pac-10 team in back to back years - can Butler make an OSU first?
  14. A glimpse into the future:  While most of the 2008 class won't show up until August, several true freshman will be on hand for their first spring practice.  Take a peak at the future quarterback in Ryan Katz or a peek at the defensive line with Castro Masaniai, Jesse Fifita and Taylor Henry.
  15. Sammie Stroughter:  Can this All-American return to his former glory as one of the top receivers and punt returners in the nation after missing almost an entire season?  If that contagious smile is back, you can count on it.

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