OSU FALL FOCUS: Offensive line

ALWAYS A LARGE part of a team's success on offense falls squarely on the o-line. Oregon State returns five of four starters a year ago, and a host of talented players at both guard and tackle. For a first time in a long time, Mike Cavanaugh has more than enough proven, experienced talent to work with right out of the gate. But what needs to happen if they're to be considered an elite group?

OL

DEPTH CHART
RT: Jr. Mike Remmers, So. Geoff Garner, RFr. Grant Enger
RG: Jr. Burke Ellis, So. Colin Kelly, So. Colin Lyons, RFr. Michael Beaton
C: Sr. Alex Linnenkohl, RFr. Josh Andrews, RFr. Aaron Magnuson
LG: Jr. Grant Johnson, Sr. Ryan Pohl, Jr. Michael Lamb, RFr. Tyler Thomas
LT: So. Michael Philipp, Sr. Wilder McAndrews, Sr. Timi Oshinowo

PLAYERS LOSTGregg Peat (first team All-Pac-10, 28 starts)

INJURIES: Michael Philipp (arthroscopic knee surgery), Grant Johnson (shoulder surgery)

OVERVIEW:  With four of five starters returning and a bunch of walk ons stepping up the 2010 the offensive line could be great.

The elder statesman of the group Alex Linnenkohl, a Rimington Trophy candidate and 26 game starter, is one of the nastiest lineman on the team. Short but nimble, Linnenkohl has a short center of gravity and a tenacious drive to punish the opposition.

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh says Linnenkohl is very close to being a dominant center, he just needs a little more work on his calls and command of the offense. After earning honorable mention all-conference honors a year ago expect first or second team all-conference honors for the team co-captain this season.

While the center of the field is set there are plenty of questions to the right and left. Thirteen game starter Grant Johnson returns to the lineup after missing spring practice recovering from shoulder surgery.

Johnson was voted one of the most improved players last year and could have really used the spring to take his game to a new level. Smart, athletic and tough there is no reason not to believe Johnson will grab his starting left guard spot quickly in fall camp.

Senior Ryan Pohl received the majority of the snaps at left guard during the spring, but wasn't consistent enough to remain in the starting lineup for the entire month. Junior walk on Michael Lamb along with sophomore Colin Kelly rotated in and out with the first and second teams.

Junior walk on Burke Ellis seemingly locked down the right guard spot with a strong, consistent performance.

With Johnson returning to the lineup a combination of Pohl, Lamb and Kelly will be used to backup both guard positions.

For once the guard spots have depth and Cavanaugh is excited about the possibilities.

The strength of the team lies with a pair of talented tackles in junior Mike Remmers and sophomore Michael Philipp.


DID YOU KNOWThe offensive line gave up 29 sacks last year, or 2.23 sacks a game. The year prior, OSU allowed only 21.


Cavanaugh rode Remmers hard in the spring hoping to elevate his game to a new level. He wants the former walk on to become a merciless, dominate player.

In fact Cavanaugh believes Remmers has enough talent to make it to the NFL.

Philipp returns to the lineup after missing spring practice due to arthroscopic knee surgery. An All-American as a freshman Philipp is setting himself up to be one of the best offensive lineman in the program's history.

Of course the 307-pound player has great feet, long arms and exceptional balance but it is his ability to pick up techniques quickly that makes him standout. Although he is just a 13-game starter he is already extremely comfortable in the system. Cavanaugh says his potential is "endless."

The staff has insisted that the surgery was minor, and it was minimally invasive, but it will be interesting to see how Philipp does early in fall camp. If he favors one side or he is unsure of his moves it could be early warning signs that he is not fully recovered.

In Philipp's absence senior Wilder McAndrews, who contemplated quitting football because of chronic injuries, had a breakthrough spring impressing the coaches with his smarts and aggressiveness.

McAndrews performance has Cavanaugh thinking about moving Philipp inside which is a huge complement since McAndrews will be responsible for protecting Ryan Katz's blind side.

"Wilder McAndrews has had a really good spring," Cavanaugh told The Gazette Times. "I'm really pleased with how he's playing the game. He can improve a little on technique, but overall he's playing and seeing things.

"His reaction, I'm really happy there."

It seems risky to move Philipp inside only a month before the season begins, but elite talent can make the switch between inside and outside with ease. Roy Schuening did it as did Andy Levitre.

If Philipp is moved inside the starting lineup would consist of Remmers at right tackle, Ellis at right guard, Linnenkhol at center, Philipp at left guard and McAndrews at left tackle.

The backups would consist of Goeff Garner and Timi Oshinowo at the tackles, but with Garner receiving most of the reps. A mixture of Lamb, Kelly and Pohl would fill out the two deeps at guard while Josh Andrews backs up Linnenkohl at center.

Philipp isn't ecstatic about the potential move inside, but Cavanaugh wants his five best players on the field and Philipp will do anything to make the team better. Plus, it is probably only a temporary move for 2010.

STATS: Mike Remmers (20 game starter, 13 straight), Alex Linnenkohl (26 consecutive starts), Michael Philipp (13 game starter), Grant Johnson (13 game starter)

 

THE ROSTER

SPRING STAR Sr. Wilder McAndrews. Had one of the best springs on the entire team and may have played himself into a starting role.
THE FUTURE STAR RFr. Josh Andrews. Big, smart and mobile to boot Andrews is set to take over, and star, after Linnenkohl graduates.
WHO TO WATCH

Jr. Grant Johnson. Coming off of shoulder surgery Johnson will need to hit the ground running.

COMING IN THE FALL Roman Sapolu. With disciplined footwork and physical hands Sapolu will lineup at center or possibly guard, but redshirt.
UNIT STRENGTH UNIT WEAKNESS
Experience.
With a couple of starters out the backups got much more practice then scheduled which only helps in the fall.
Protection.
If they're going to be an elite group in 2010, the sacks allowed number must come down.

 

THE BIG BOARD

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

Jr. Mike Remmers (6-4, 305) - Cavanaugh expects him to be a dominate player as a junior...one of the most experienced players on the offensive line...former walk-on who earned a scholarship before the 2009 season...20 starts, 13 straight...one of the leaders on offense...athletic...Cavanaugh wants him to more aggressive and "bury" the defenders

Sr. Timi Oshinowo (6-6, 288) - getting lost in the shuffle with McAndrews stepping up...made a huge leap in development in 2009 before hurting his knee in the spring and missing all of the 2009 season...dropped 20 pounds from 2008 to spring practice of 2009...Cavanaugh says his "feet and pass sets have improved dramatically"...a very hard worker...needs to be more consistent and use his length more effectively

Sr. Wilder McAndrews (6-4, 286) - had one of the best springs in 2010...thought about quitting football due to chronic injuries...awarded a scholarship in summer of 2009 after walking on in 2007...Cavanaugh says he has all the tools one looks for in an offensive lineman...coaches love that he is mobile and athletic...reportedly was going to retire from football due to recurring injuries, but is giving it one last shot

So. Geoff Garner (6-5, 301) - one of eight true freshman to play in 2009...one of the most physically imposing players who is working hard to drop his body fat percentage and add muscle...smart and athletic...a student of the game...one of the first tackles off of the bench

So. Michael Philipp (6-3, 307) - missed most of 2010 spring practice due to arthroscopic knee surgery...named one of the most improved players on the team following the 2009 season...coach Cavanaugh calls Philipp, "phenomenal" with endless potential...became the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a game at Oregon State since 1997...one of eight true freshman to play in 2009...named to CollegeFootballNews.com and Phil Steele's All-Freshman first team...13 game starter...great feet and balance...smart; picks up things quickly...Cavanaugh compares him to Andy Levitre

RFr. Grant Enger (6-5, 260) - a big frame with plenty of room to grow...has to wait at least one more year before seeing the field...can change direction quickly for a big man...redshirted last year...added over 20 pounds during his redshirt year

 

CENTER

Sr. Alex Linnenkohl (6-2, 303) - a fierce competitor...nickname is The Tasmanian Devil...honorable mention all-Pac-10 honors in 2009...26 consecutive starts, the most on the team...one of the leaders on offense...Cavanaugh says he can be as good as he wants to be...close to being a dominate center, just needs a little tweaking in regards to his calls and command of the offense...looking for a big leap and Pac-10 honors as a senior...added around six pounds to his frame, but still kept his mobility since end of '09

RFr. Josh Andrews (6-2, 278) - named MVP of the offensive scout teams in 2009...smart and agile...very athletic...redshirted in '09...coaches are very excited about his potential

RFr. Aaron Magnuson (6-3, 308) - one of the larger players on the team tipping the scales at 308...still needs a year or so in the system before contributing...walked on in 2009 and redshirted...moved from guard to center in spring of 2010

 

OFFENSIVE GUARD

Sr. Ryan Pohl (6-3, 284) - the enigma of the offensive line...played primarily with first team offense in spring of 2010...two starts...beat out last year by Johnson for left guard...has played every position on the line...keeps getting beat out for a starting position

Jr. Grant Johnson (6-3, 285) - missed 2010 spring practice due to shoulder surgery...named one of the most improved players on the team following the 2009 season...13 game starter last year at left guard...has played every position on the offensive line - started out as backup center before being moved to guard...recently awarded a scholarship in March of 2010...Cavanaugh says he is "smart, athletic and tough"...excels at pulling...one of the most consistent players on the o-line last year

So. Colin Kelly (6-4, 290) - played with first team offense in spring ball of 2009, but didn't stick...will compete for a backup spot...very athletic with good feet, power and balance...not picking up things as quickly as the coaches would like him to...moved from tackle to guard in spring of 2010

RFr. Tyler Thomas (6-2, 301) - cited for a minor in possession of alcohol in April of 2010 and will be suspended at least one game..."explosive" according to Cavanaugh...a wrester in high school...redshirted last year...added over 10 pounds during his redshirt season

Jr. Burke Ellis (6-4, 285) - a walk on who is a top candidate to earn a scholarship...played with the first team at right guard in spring of 2010...needs to add some strength...also played tackle...added 12 pounds during the season

So. Colin Lyons (6-3, 275) - very strong and good push...will have to wait a year before contributing...dropped 20 pounds from 2009 to 2010

So. Rory Ross (6-3, 278) - has done a good job of adding weight...needs to refine mechanics before getting any playing time...had right knee surgery in Dec. of 2009...missed 2010 spring practice recovering from knee surgery

Jr. Michael Lamb (6-3, 287) - slowed by a knee injury in the spring last year...expected to compete for starting spot...a walk on who is a top candidate to earn a scholarship...explosive with balance and power...was the starter heading into spring practice in 2009

Fr. Michael Beaton (6-2, 284) - will redshirt...grayshirt who enrolled in spring of 2010...honorable mention all-state offensive and defensive lineman as Dallas High as a senior...aggressive and loves to get into this secondary blocks


BeaverBlitz Top Stories