COMMENTARY: 2009 - A year of overachievement

BEAVER NATION, you may not want to read this, but the 2009 team consisted of a bunch of overachievers. The fact that the team was playing for the Rose Bowl in the final game of the regular season and gave Oregon a heck of a battle in Autzen Stadium was a gift.


Don't believe me?  Then let's take a look at some facts.

It's no secret that the Beavers have found tremendous success with walk-ons.  From Mike Hass to Alexis Serna to Slade Norris the team has been blessed, but those players are the exception to the rule.

Generally speaking, walk-ons are used to fill out the large roster and enhance practice for the players on scholarship - they are not used to fill out the two deeps.

Walk-ons in two deep

WR Damola Adeniji * #, WR Aaron Nichols

OG Grant Johnson #, OG Michael Lamb, OG Burke Ellis

OT Mike Remmers * #

DT Brennan Olander * #

P Johnny Hekker * #

PR/HLD Tayler Kavanaugh *

* Awarded scholarship | # starter

Unfortunately the coaches were forced to litter the two deeps with walk ons this season - especially on offense.  The final 2009 depth two deeps show an astonishing nine walk-ons.

Out of the 10 offensive linemen listed on the two deeps three are walk ons and two of those three are starters (Mike Remmers and Grant Johnson).

Another issue that the team managed to cover up for most of the year was their youth.  Oregon State had just 12 seniors and a measly four senior starters. 

Eight true freshman, including one starter, played almost every game this season - definitely not an ideal situation.

Throw in the fact that the team also lost seven starters to the NFL, which included the entire secondary and both defenseive ends, and that usually equals a rebuilding year.

But somehow, this team managed to compete in every game during the regular season.  Before the Las Vegas Bowl, the combined point total of the Beavers' four losses was 25.

A bounce here, a firmly planted foot there, and Oregon State could have easily been playing in the Rose Bowl.

ALSO CONSIDER THAT OSU's five losses this season (USC, Arizona, Cincinnati, Oregon, BYU) came to teams with a combined record of 49-12 (80%).

All five of those teams are suiting up in the postseason with two of the squads (Oregon and Cincinnati) playing in BCS bowl games.

Bottom line -- Oregon State's five losses are nothing to hang one's head about.

Returning starters


SB Casey Kjos (4), SB Jordan Bishop (5)
LT Michael Philipp (13)
LG Grant Johnson (13)
C Alex Linnenkohl (26)
RT Mike Remmers (20)
TE Brady Camp (18)
RB Jacquizz Rodgers (23)
FL James Rodgers (26)


DE Gabe Miller (12)
DT Brennan Olander (10)
DT Stephen Paea (25)
DE Matt LaGrone (4)
MLB David Pa'alhui (13)
WLB Dwight Roberson (13)
CB James Dockery (13)
S Lance Mitchell (12)
S Cameron Collins (11)
CB Brandon Hardin (3)


K Justin Kahut
P Johnny Hekker

Starts in parenthesis

Despite its youthfulness, the Men in Black still proved the pundits wrong finishing second in the Pac-10 instead of the foretold fourth.

Despite having just four senior starters, the Beavers still turned in its fourth consecutive winning season.

Despite losing seven starters to the NFL this past year, OSU went bowling for its fourth straight year.

And that's what has got me excited for next year.  The cards should be stacked in OSU's favor.

Oregon State returns nine starters on offense, nine starters on defense, the kicker and the punter.  A host of talented freshman got playing time this season while others redshirted, got bigger and stronger and received their chance to hone their skills on the scout team.

The overall schedule is tough, very tough, with expected road games at TCU and Boise State, but the home schedule is favorable with USC, Oregon and Cal all coming to Corvallis.

Combine that schedule with plenty of experienced, heady juniors and seniors on the two deeps, and 2010 could be special.

Oregon State should be right in the thick of things for the Pac-10 crown once again.

And who knows?

This time next year I may be penning an opinion piece from sunny California, just before the Beavers are getting ready to dismantle their Big 10 opponent on New Year's Day.

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