OSU SPRING PREVIEW: Secondary

LAST YEAR, the Oregon State secondary was the least experienced unit on the team with all new starters across the board. This spring, they come in as one of the most experienced -- with three starters and one part time starter returning. But not all of the positions are set, with a handful of youngsters looking ready to push for playing time.

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Senior James Dockery, the only player in the Beavers' secondary to play all 13 games last year, returns along with part time starter Brandon Hardin.

And juniors Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins are both back, entering their second year as starters - each have big play potential.

The coaches are very excited about several young prospects in the system, particularly Jordan Poyer, Anthony Watkins and Josh LaGrone who will all make a run at the two deeps while also staring on special teams.


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Redshirt freshman Sean Martin is out with a shoulder injury. The coaches were expecting him to compete for playing time.

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Will some of the underclassmen push their way into the starting lineup?

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  • S Josh LaGrone (knee) - had surgery before 2009 season; started practicing late in the year; will play in spring camp
     
  • CB Sean Martin (shoulder) - had surgery in Feb.; will miss spring practice
     
  • S Lance Mitchell (knee) - had surgery in Jan.; will be ready for spring camp
     
  • S Anthony Watkins (shoulder) - had surgery during the season, returned later in the year; will play in spring drills

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Jordan Poyer.  This versatile athlete can lineup anywhere in the secondary and despite other players having more experience Poyer just has "it" and if the veteran don't watch their backs Poyer could make a leap into a starting role.

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With the linebackers regrouping and the defensive ends still unproven, the secondary will need to carry the defense early on.  That's a lot of pressure, but the Beavers have plenty of playmakers in the secondary.

The current depth chart may be one of the most talented under Riley and certainly has the most potential.

Dockery has great recovery speed, is a fiery competitor and could make a jump into a lockdown corner after a year of experience under his belt. One key talent he will be working on is his jam at the line of scrimmage.

One player that won't have to work on his jam is Hardin who can bang with the best of them. Both cornerbacks will have to keep their level of play high to keep from the talented Poyer from the starting lineup.

Even if Dockery and Hardin do beat out Poyer, which they should, the sophomore still figures to get plenty of snaps as the primary backup.

At safety there is a backlog of talent. Collins and Mitchell are assuredly the starters and its the competition for the backup spots that hold the most intrigue.

Suaesi Tuimaunei was the first off of the bench a year ago, and, at this point, will serve in a similar role, but the coaches won't hesitate to insert Watkins, LaGrone or even Poyer as the nickel back.


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CB:
  • Sr. James Dockery (6-1, 176) - 13 career starts, all consecutive...only member of the secondary to start all 13 games in 2009...tied for seventh in the Pac-10 with 10 passes defended...extremely athletic and rangy...one of the vocal leaders of the team...made 38 tackles, including 2.5 for loss in 2009...sometimes has trouble jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage
     
  • So. Jordan Poyer (5-11, 189) - one of the most pleasant surprises of 2009, the coaches want him on the field...one of eight true freshman to play in 2009...also played safety...second on the team with 10 special teams tackles...super athletic with natural football instinct...excelled as a gunner in 2009...also returned kickoffs later in the year
     
  • So. Brian Watkins (5-9, 179) - the younger brother of Anthony Watkins...a walk on...faces an uphill battle for playing time
     
  • RFr. Sean Martin (5-11, 170) - will miss spring practice with a shoulder injury...expected to compete for playing time when he is healthy...redshirted in 2009...needs to add 10-15 pounds

  • RFr. Greg Anderson (5-11, 176) - walked on in spring of 2010...played high school ball at David Douglas High in Oregon...earned first team Mt. Hood League running back honors as a senior

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  • Jr. Cameron Collins (6-2, 230) - 10 straight starts...took over starting duties at Cal on 11/7...fourth on the team with 70 stops...had a good off season in the weight room according to strength coach Bryan Miller...an imposing figure at 230 pounds

  • Sr. Suaesi Tuimaunei (6-1, 205) - after starting the first four games of the year was replaced in the lineup...10 special teams tackles - tied for second most on the team...41 tackles in 2009...earned first team All-Pac-10 honors as a special teams player...the extra defensive back in the team's nickel package
     
  • So. Anthony Watkins (6-1, 215) - a ball hawk...seven tackles on special teams...a standout scout team player in 2008...missed most of 2009 due to shoulder surgery...look for him to have a big impact on special teams
     
  • RFr. Levi Levasa (5-11, 208) - walk on from Tualatin High...redshirted in 2009...faces an uphill battle for playing time

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  • Jr. Lance Mitchell (6-2, 207) - 12 starts, nine straight...a natural athlete who makes it look easy...third on the team with 72 tackles, the most out of returning players...a team high three interceptions...tied for seventh in the Pac-10 with 10 passes defended last season
     
  • So. Josh LaGrone (6-1, 200) - coaches were very excited about him before he got hurt...added 10 pounds in the offseason...missed most of 2009 due to knee surgery...a scout team standout in 2008
     
  • RFr. Dax Dilbeck (6-1, 203) - named MVP for the defensive scout team following the 2009 season...expected to compete for playing time...a future star on special teams...redshirted in 2009...added 10 pounds in the offseason
     
  • RFr. Zeke Sanders (6-1, 212) - redshirted in 2009...in contention to return kickoffs...added 16 pounds during redshirt year

CB:

  • Jr. Brandon Hardin (6-2, 219) - three starts...had a good offseason in the weight room according to strength coach Bryan Miller...big, physical corner who can mix it up with anyone...needs to work on locating the ball in the air...11 special teams tackles, the most on the team...an excellent gunner...last year had both standout games positionally at corner and then some where he missed tackles
     
  • So. Keynan Parker (5-11, 177) - participated in the 2010 UW Last Chance Meet in the 60-meter dash finishing with a time of 6.86, also ran in the Husky Indoor Classic finishing with a top 20 time...slowed down by a shoulder injury in 2009...did not record a statistic last year...one of the fastest players on the team
     
  • RFr. Rashaad Reynolds (5-10, 177) - competed in the 2010 UW Last Chance Meet in the 60-meter dash running 7.27, also ran in the Husky Indoor Classic...expected to compete for playing time...added 12 pounds during redshirt year...looks to be a standout on special teams...redshirted in 2009
     
  • So. Kaua Olds (5-10, 190) - a walk on from Ke Kula'o Samuel M. Kamakau...faces an uphill battle for playing time...redshirted in 2008

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