The good: Although most guffaw when the words Linebacker U and Oregon State University are used in the same sentence but those that follow the Men in Black know that Corvallis has been cranking out All Pac-10 linebackers year after year during the last decade.
Cornell solidified himself in the middle of the field with a great spring displaying a firm grasp of the defensive schemes with the ability to lead his teammates. He will be flanked by Keaton Kristick, a tall, fast and aggressive athlete who has all-conference honors written all over him.
Sophomore Keith Pankey looks to have the other outside linebacker spot locked up as he has a nose for the ball and plays quick. But, coach Mike Riley is waiting for Dwight Roberson to make a push for playing time.
Veterans Dennis Christopher and Isaiah Cook fill out the two deeps while underclassmen David Pa'aluhi III, Will Darkins and Keo Camat look to cut their teeth on special teams and possibly backing up their starting counterparts.
The bad: Starting experience. Despite five players on the two deeps having playing experience Cornell is the only one with a start under his belt.
The question: How long will it take the new comers to adjust to their starting roles?
Top spring performer: Bryant Cornell.
Riley says: "We have pretty good speed on the outside with Kristick, Pankey and Roberson. We will lean a lot on Kristick, but the other two have seen a lot of action as well. Cornell brings us pretty good experience."
Banker says: "Keaton Kristick and Bryant Cornell had solid springs - from the first day of practice and they continued to get better. Keith Pankey really nailed down the other outside linebacker position."
- MLB Sr. Bryant Cornell (6-1, 235) - mean, aggressive,
and intense...can change direction well for a man of his size, better than
Alan Darlin...Cornell says: "Alan was a good football player, but I'd
like to think that I'm just as good, or maybe better"...solid tackler.
- OLB Jr. Keaton Kristick (6-3, 226) - does a
little bit of everything...can cover receivers...a little bigger than Derrick Doggett and more physical...rangy with good instincts...a hard hitter who
plays with an attitude...Riley says: "He can run, he can hit and he's
- OLB RFr. David Pa'aluhi (5-11, 225) - goal is
to be a starter...knowledge of the coverages is good...decent speed and smart...impressed
the coaches on the scout team...will help on special teams.
- MLB RFr. Will Darkins (6-1, 233) - superb football
instincts...will help on special teams before competing for a starting position
- OLB Fr. Anthony Watkins (6-1, 210) - a grayshirt
who will redshirt.
- OLB So. Eric Rider (5-11, 209) - may help out
on special teams after redshirting last year.
- OLB Sr. Casey Noack (6-0, 232) - a valuable
special teams member.
- OLB Sr. Isaiah Cook (6-2, 211) - longtime special
teams player with decent speed...aggressive and physical.
- OLB So. Keo Camat (6-2, 230) - coaches love
his size and playmaking ability...want to get him on the field...still kicking
around the idea of moving him to defensive end...will help on special teams
- OLB So. Dwight Roberson (6-0, 235) - slowed
down last year with a knee injury...a physical specimen with a potent blend
of speed and strength...coaches expect big things from him although he didn't
step up during spring camp.
- OLB Sr. Dennis Christopher (6-1, 217) - longtime
special teams contributer...another athlete with quickness...will help fill
out the two deeps.
- OLB So. Keith Pankey (6-0, 208) - atop the depth
chart...terrific speed and awareness...a special teams standout in 2007...had
a great spring...one of three true freshman to play last year.
- OLB Fr. Paul Jones (6-2, 213) - walk on who
could be asked to move on to make room for freshman.
- OLB Fr. Joshua Parish (5-11, 207) - walk on
who could be asked to move on to make room for freshman.
- MLB Walker Vave (6-2, 237) - worked out as a long snapper as well as middle linebacker...will help out on special teams.