BF.C FALL THREE: Defense

HEADING INTO FALL camp, which kicks off later today, the defense has more questions surrounding it than does the offense. Here are three things you should know -- about each position -- on the Beaver defense.

RELATED: Practice schedule | Position articles

 

DEFENSIVE LINE
  • Depth at defensive end is the big concern heading into fall camp. Among the candidates to backup senior Gabe Miller and sophomore Taylor Henry, they include junior college transfer Dominic Glover, true freshman Scott Crichton, senior Mitchel Hunt and redshirt freshman Mana Rosa.

  • The tandem of seniors Stephen Paea, one of the top defensive lineman in the nation and an All-America candidate, and Brennan Olander, a vastly underrated player, gives the Beavers a potent one two punch in the interior. And with junior Kevin Frahm coming on strong this spring, the Beavs also look to have some depth.

  • Defensive lineman accounted for 10 of the team's 17 sacks in 2009 -- numbers that must significantly improve if OSU is to be in the race for the roses at year's end. From Miller to Henry and beyond, OSU will be looking to have a much more productive season on the edge and that figures to be emphasized throughout fall camp.

 

LINEBACKERS
  • Senior Keith Pankey worked like mad to get back into shape for the season and will start the fall atop the depth chart.

  • One of the last unsettled positions on the team is at middle linebacker where sophomoresTony Wilson and Rueben Robinson will be duking it out. Look for the players to share starting duties, ala Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson, during the season with Wilson starting and Robinson coming off of the bench.

  • Look for true freshman Michael Doctor to not only make an impact on special teams, but also at linebacker. The coaches have been impressed with how quickly he has picked up things and his physical play.

 

SECONDARY
  • Depth at safety could be at an all-time high. Juniors Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins could be up for postseason awards while senior Suaesi Tuimaunei turned in one of the better springs. Sophomores Anthony Watkins and Josh LaGrone along with redshirt freshman Dax Dilbeck all have shown play making ability and could each sine on special teams.

  • The first cornerback off of the bench will be sophomore Jordan Poyer. If you've been reading BF.C, you already know the coaches love his athletic ability and want to get him on the field as much as possible.

  • The coaches feel good about starting cornerbacks senior James Dockery and junior Brandon Hardin -- they just want more consistency out of the two, particularly Hardin. If they get that consistency they figure the secondary will be one of the top units in the Pac-10.

 

SPECIAL TEAMS
  • Senior Justin Kahut and junior Johnny Hekker didn't have any back ups in the spring, but each has one now. Freshmen Max Johnson out of Astoria High and Keith Kostol out of Tigard High both joined the team in the fall.

  • Junior Johnny Hekker will serve as the team's holder. Hekker was a quarterback in high school and has already been petitioning the coaches to call a fake field goal.

  • Senior James Rodgers will once again return punts and kickoffs, but sophomores Kevan Walker, Markus Wheaton and Jordan Poyer are also in the mix.

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