The good, the bad, the question: RB

For the last decade Oregon State has been blessed with an All-Pac-10 running back almost every year. The tradition of rushing success looks like it is in good hands with Ryan McCants, Jeremy Francis and Patrick Fuller in the backfield.

The good: Incumbent Ryan McCants looked impressive - big, strong and powerful in between the tackles. Junior college transfer Jeremy Francis integrated quickly displaying excellent hands and good speed. Patrick Fuller turned in another fine spring practice as he pushes for playing time one last time.

The bad: Francis missed the last week of practice and the spring game when his ankle and knee was tweaked after he was tackled. As a result he will have arthroscopic knee surgery in the summer.

The question: Are there enough carries for McCants, Francis, Fuller and incoming freshman Jacquizz Rodgers to keep them all happy?

Top spring performer: Ryan McCants. The comparisons to Steven Jackson abound and those are some huge shoes to fill, but McCants looked up to par for being the sixth back in OSU history to run for 1,000 yards in a season.

Riley says: "McCants ran well. Every time he plays he learns something about running the football — that's pretty obvious. He has to get a better feel for the inside zone. As far as running hard and making some of his own yards, he was outstanding."

The roster:

  • RFr. Ryan McCants (6-1, 236) - good outside zone runner...needs to work on his inside running vision, will come with experience...excellent at getting his own yards and keeping his legs moving...ran for 57 yards, a long of 18 yards, and one touchdown on 16 carries behind a beat up offensive line in the spring game.
  • Jr. Jeremy Francis (5-11, 217) - arthroscopic knee surgery in the summer...expected to be ready for fall camp...integrated quickly with team, a lead by example type guy...a fluid runner who excels in pressure situations... a deadly blend of receiving and running aptitude...still needs to work on picking up blitzes...will be used in the backfield and as a receiver.
  • Sr. Patrick Fuller (5-11, 205) - Riley says he has looked "as good as he ever has" excellent gunner on special teams...with McCants and Francis in front of him his opportunities carrying the ball will be limited unless there is an injury.
  • Fr. Jeff Sampson (6-1 232) - walk on who will most likely be asked to leave to make room for incoming freshman...rushed four times for 22 yards in spring game.

Coming in the fall
:  Jacquizz Rodgers, expected to contribute immediately, but coaches would like to redshirt with a loaded backfield, Jovan Stevenson, will redshirt, Brandon Jackson, reportedly going to transfer from Kentucky, but there is limited roster space and no room in the offensive backfield.

Additional notes
: Redshirt freshman Ahmed Mokhtar left the program to seek playing time elsewhere.

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