AN OPTIMIST WOULD, headed into the 2009 OSU fall camp, say of the Beaver offensive guards; Gregg Peat is one of the top guards in the Pac-10, Ryan Pohl is set to break out and talent and potential waits in the wings if injury strikes. But a pessimist would have concerns at the ready as well...BF.C talks offensive guard in the third of our series of comprehensive positional overviews.


DEPTH CHART: RG: Sr. Gregg Peat, So. Ben Motter | LG:  Jr. Ryan Pohl, Brent McNeil, So. Michael Lamb

PLAYERS LOST: Adam Speer (Second team All-Pac-10, 27 career starts)

INJURIESMichael Lamb was slowed by a knee injury in mid-April but is expected to be fully recovered for fall camp.

OVERVIEW:  The starters look to be set in Gregg Peat and Ryan Pohl -- well, kinda set.  Peat has the right side locked down. Pohl, however, will have to hold off a charging Brent McNeil and a healthy Michael Lamb.

The right side of the line figures to be the strongest with Peat and Mike Remmers providing the protection for lefty Sean Canfield.  Peat is one of the most experienced players on the 2009 Beavs with 15 starts, including 13 straight. (Only TE Howard Croom has more starts (23) than Peat among the '09 Beavers.)

Peat is one of the hardest working, and one of the strongest, offensive linemen on the Beavers.  Bottom line -- if you're looking for a player that gives 110 percent every play then Peat is your man. Plus he is a great interview and locker room presence.

After starting two games at tackle in 2007, Pohl was pushed down the depth chart and over to guard in 2008.  But it came as something of a surprise to many when Riley did not have him atop the pre-spring depth chart at left guard given his experience.  Bottom line: Pohl will have to continue to earn it come August.

Pohl needs to get stronger and quicker, a task that he attacked in the summer with plenty of gusto in the weight room. But a strength of his is that he has played every position on the line.

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh expects Lamb, slowed by a knee injury in the spring, to push Pohl for the starting left guard position. 

The walk-on from Jesuit High is explosive with good power and balance -- he just needs more time in the system.  Once his understanding of the offense clicks, though, look out.

Another player who will push for playing time at guard is McNeil.  Riley indicated the 300-pounder was working through some personal issues at the outset of the spring, lost his motivation and wasn't in football shape.

Fortunately his fiancé and daughter recently moved to Oregon and now says he has his focus and determination back.

McNeil has dropped 20 pounds since coming to OSU and checks in at 305 -- he would like to get down to 295 (his playing weight at El Camino), and has been working out with DT Stephen Paea on a regular basis.

McNeil excels at pass blocking and likes to mix it up at the line of scrimmage. If he improves his run blocking and conditioning, he could make a move.

Getting the offensive line settled - both first and second team - early in fall camp is a priority. The o-line units who can start to develop chemistry with each other early on in fall camp generally have a leg up on their Pac-10 counterparts at the start of the season.

With Lamb coming off of an injury, the tea leaves say to expect Pohl to keep the starting position with Lamb, depending on health, and McNeil serving as the backups.

AN OPTIMIST WOULD SAY:  Peat is one of the top guards in the Pac-10, Pohl is set to have a breakout year and a couple of talented, capable walk-ons who are fast becoming Pac-10 caliber players wait in the wings if an injury happens.

A PESSIMIST WOULD SAY:  No proven depth apart from Peat, and injuries are sure to happen.

STAR PLAYERGregg Peat.  A grinder with a no quit mentality -- if he's not in the running for all-conference honors then something is very wrong in Walnut Creek.

UNIT STRENGTH: Leadership.  Peat is one of the most respected members on the team and one of five team captains, as voted on by the players, for the 2009 campaign.

UNIT WEAKNESS: Experience.  Just like the tackles, the guards are thin in number of starts and playing time -- Peat is the only player with significant PT.

INCOMING RECRUITSJoshua Andrews.  Aggressive, nimble footed offensive lineman who is equally adept at run and pass blocking - expected to redshirt.  Tyler Thomas.  Naturally strong player with a blue collar work ethic - expected to redshirt.

NOTABLE NOTE: The offense averaged 5.7 yards per play last season.

STATS:  The offense picked up 280 first downs last year, (21-plus per game), while holding onto the ball for 32:05 -- which was good for No. 12 in the nation.


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