SPRING THREE: Defense

BF.C CONCLUDES ITS pre-spring ball content with three things -- about each unit on the Oregon State defense -- that you should know heading into spring drills.

DEFENSIVE LINE
  • Due to concerns about depth at defensive tackle three offensive lineman - junior walk-on Ben Motter, redshirt freshman John Braun and senior walk-on Nathan Hannah and one defensive end junior Kevin Frahm - where converted to defensive tackles in the winter.  The coaches expect Motter and Frahm to immediately be in the mix on the two deeps.
     
  • Although defensive coordinator Mark Banker has said the defensive line starters are set, defensive line coach Joe Seaumalo may start sophomore Taylor Henry atop the depth chart instead of Matt LaGrone in hopes of lighting a fire under the big fella.
     
  • Senior Mitchell Hunt and redshirt freshman Mana Rosa will both miss spring practice nursing injuries. Rosa, just one of two underclassman defensive ends on scholarship, was expected to compete for playing time at defensive end.

 

LINEBACKERS
  • With David Pa'aluhi's departure, Keaton Kristick's graduation and Keith Pankey injured there will be plenty of new faces at linebacker.  Heading into April sophomore Devin Unga gets the nod at outside linebacker while sophomore Tony Wilson and sophomore Rueben Robinson will compete for middle linebacker.
     
  • Even with all of the departures, if Pankey returns to the lineup, coach Mike Riley believes the unit can be just as good if Pa'aluhi would have returned.
     
  • The coaches are super excited about freshman linebacker Michael Doctor who enrolled in January as a grayshirt. The super athletic 216-pound prospect has made major strides since arriving on campus and could play on special teams.

 

SECONDARY
  • Although three of four starters, and one part time starter, return in the secondary Banker says all starting spots are open.
     
  • While it's hard to imagine safeties Lance Mitchell or Cameron Collins being bumped from the starting lineup it is conceivable Jordan Poyer could slip into the lineup at cornerback over James Dockery or Brandon Hardin.
     
  • Although both Josh LaGrone and Anthony Watkins missed a good chuck of last year due to injuries the coaches expect the duo to hit the ground running by helping fill out the two deeps and spark the special teams.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS
  • With both Matt Barker and Ryan Allen receiving scholarships to play at other schools the roster only has one kicker - Justin Kahut.  Expect the team to add a walk on kicker soon.
     
  • The team also has only one punter - Johnny Hekker - who will serve as the backup placekicker too.
  • A laundry list of players are set to compete for kickoff and punt return duties. James Rodgers, Kevin Walker, Markus Wheaton and Jordan Poyer will vie for a punt return role while James, Poyer, Wheaton, Rashaad Reynmolds, Dax Dilbeck and Jovan Steveson will battle for a kickoff return role.

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