The unsung, Part II

EVERYONE KNOWS about Sammie. And it's not as if there isn't a lot of ink being splashed around the names of Kristick, Quizz, Hughes, Morales, Afalava and a host of other standouts with OSU two wins from the Rose Bowl. But Oregon State's latest victory hammered home a central point -- there are a number of Beaver playmakers, just off center stage, integral to this season's Pac-10 leading charge.

For the first article in this series, click here.

Pernnell Booth  

The defensive tackle position doesn't lend itself to great numbers -- guys who put up a lot of sacks and tackle numbers from the middle of the line, like the Beavs' Stephen Paea, are rare. But Booth has been just as valuable in doing things the more traditional d-tackle way -- plugging the middle and occupying his offensive line counterparts to allow his defensemates to roam free and make the play. The season numbers aren't eye popping on Booth but 15 tackles, three for loss, a sack and two fumble recoveries are decent stats from the interior of the defensive line, yet they don't accurately illustrate his impact, because Booth has been a large part of the success this season for the Beavs.

Ryan McCants  

He was the starting running back all through the offseason...until fall camp began and Jacquizz Rodgers exploded onto the scene. But McCants has still played a crucial role and his playing time has increased as the season has gone along. Against Cal, he wasn't just in there to spell Quizz, he was there to move the chains. His yardage totals were paltry against the Bears but on two of his carries, in short yardage situations when Cal was stuffing the box, McCants slammed his way forward for two important first downs. He has 54 carries for 230 yards this season, and every one of those hashes has been important. He's going to get limited touches these next two weeks, such is the wonder that is Quizz, but it won't be a surprise either if McCants breaks one off against Arizona or Oregon.

Dwight Roberson  

Coaches are always watching. And in a blowout loss to Penn State, Roberson stood out. Keith Pankey remains the starter at WIL but Roberson has seen his playing time increased since Week 2 and he's become a significant cog in the orange and black stop corps. Against Cal, he quietly racked up five tackles with a sack and forced a fumble. He would have a few more sacks on his season ledger if not for youthful exuberance, his season numbers -- coming off the bench -- are nothing short of rock solid. Despite not starting a game this year, he is third on the Beavs in tackles (46) and shares the team lead in forced fumbles (3). Just a sophomore, it's hard not to wonder what all he might do over the next two seasons in Corvallis.

David Pa'aluhi III  

The Beavs like to rotate on defense -- a lot. And Pa'aluhi has emerged as a playmaker at linebacker -- he has equal to or more sacks (2.5) than each of the starting 'backers. His playing time has increased, and so has his production. When on the field against Cal, he was seemingly always around the play. At UCLA he had a big sack and forced fumble. He's only a redshirt freshman but starter Bryant Cornell graduates after this season -- if you're looking for a middle 'backer to keep an eye on, this is your guy.

Mike Remmers  

The entire offensive line could be mentioned here simply due to the inherent anonymity of the position, but Remmers at right tackle merits special mention because of how he arrived at Oregon State. Remmers started eight games this season before Tavita Thompson was eligible and did yeoman's work. Redshirt freshman -- who walk-on to a football program -- are not supposed to be able to do that. And they're certainly not supposed to be able put up a wall against All-American candidates from USC. But that's exactly what Remmers has done. There have been some growing pains along the way, he was inconsistent to start the year and Thompson, a senior with loads of size and strength, has started the last two games. But Remmers has three more seasons in front of him before the book closes on his collegiate career at OSU. And he's off to one whale of a start.

Brennan Olander, Kevin Frahm, Sioeli Nau, Latu Moala  

Despite fielding seven new starters on the defensive front this year, the Beavs still have enough quality depth they've been able to liberally rotate on the d-line, and they're getting good production out of the group -- something just not seen very often. What has been particularly noteworthy about the four listed above is how well they've played against the run. There have been some lapses, and the starters are starters for a reason, but Mark Banker has plugged of these guys into games when they count, and they've responded. It's just one reason Beaver fans are excited not just about their team this season but their football program, and its future prospects in the years to come.


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