Friday, March 12, 2010

Welcome to Pacific Northwest Sports!

Thanks to everyone for checking out our site. If you want to find past stories about your favorite team or sport, look in the list of links to the right. If you would like to post a comment but arent a member, just select "anonymous" when sharing your opinions. Enjoy and thanks for the support!

Monday, September 28, 2009

If Moevao's ready...he needs a shot...

After attending three Beaver home games and watching the other away game, I have come to the conclusion that if Moevao is healthy, Riley needs to give him a start. As many have read, there is plenty of blame to go around. I am not writing this because I think Sean Canfield is the only reason why the Beavers are struggling. Surely one can point out the lack of a pass rush (two sacks in four games...ouch!) Or the fact that Suesi Tuimaunei couldn't cover a grandma with a walker if she ran a route (and if she caught it he'd miss the tackle). Or the fact the offensive line has played horribly and shown no noticeable improvement. I'm writing this simply because Moevao has one clear advantage over Sean Canfield: he gets rid of the ball quickly.

Put aside the fact that Moevao is 11-4 as a starter. Or that he's just a natural-born winner and natural-born leader. From very minute Sean Canfield arrived on campus, he has consistently struggled to make quick decisions and proper reads. Matt Moore had a similar problem in 2005, and it took five games into the 2006 season to finally get it. Sean Canfield has had five years. And with no noticeable improvement in his decision making, it is time to give someone else a chance.

Canfield continues to hold onto the ball too long. This puts added stress on the young offensive line. While Canfield has dropped some weight in the offseason and has surprisingly showed some mobility (see Arizona) his pocket presence is still suspect. He still refuses to step up in the pocket and when plays call for him to roll out of the pocket, his accuracy steeply declines. There has been a lack of a deep threat and many have acclaimed this to route running...or could it be that Canfield simply doesn't look for the route period? Several times against Arizona, Canfield missed open receivers downfield because he never looked off his first read. This happened several times on third downs.

With Canfield not looking downfield for long and even middle-range passes, the safeties have been able to come up and play closer to the line of scrimmage to help with the run (Quizz hasn't eclipsed the 100-yard mark for two straight games.) If nothing changes, Beavers' opponents will continue to stack the box and force Canfield to throw. With Canfield's immobility, also look for teams to blitz a lot more since Canfield really struggles under pressure.

I understand Riley likes to stick to his quarterbacks. Too many times in the past have I leaped to conclusions and wanted to bench our starting qb in hopes that the back up would somehow magically be that much better than the starter. This year is different however. With another proven winning qb and another fifth-year senior at that, Moevao needs an opportunity to see if he can rally the troops and light a fire under their bellies. Otherwise, look for the Beavers to struggle even more in the near future. They play at ASU this coming weekend where they haven't won since 1969. ASU also almost beat (and should've beat if they made a field goal in the end) Georgia in their house. The Beavers also still must play Stanford, at USC, at Cal, and at UO. Plain and simple, this is Moevao's team. In five years, Canfield is still making the same mistakes he made in his early days. With this lack of progess, he needs to sit because it only gets harder from here.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

College Football Predictions

It has been a while since I posted anything, but here is a quick look at how I see the conference races panning out this season. I have picked each of the 6 BCS conferences winners, and their overall/league records. I cant wait for college football to start this Thursday!! Let me know what you think.

SEC - Florida 12-0 (8-0)
Pac 10 - USC 10-2 (8-1)
Big 10 - Penn State 12-0 (8-0)
ACC - Virginia Tech 10-2 (7-1)
Big East - Rutgers 10-2 (6-1)
Big 12 Texas 11-1 (7-1)

BCS National Championship Game - Florida -vs- Penn State
BCS Champion - Florida Gators

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Doak Walker Award Watch List

It may come as no surprise to most of you reading this blog (since most of us are Pac-10 fanatics) but I thought it should be mentioned that five running backs from the Pac have made the Doak Walker Watch List. As most probably know, the Doak Walker Award goes to the nation's best RB. The five RB's that made the list (out of 44 RB's nationwide) from the Pac-10 are: OSU's Jacquizz Rodgers, UO's LaGarrette Blount, Cal's Jahvid Best, Stanford's Toby Gerhart, and Arizona's Nic Grigsby.

I must say, both Best (my pre-season favorite) and Blount have the best chance of getting the award should it go to someone from the Conference of Champions. Best is going to be a terror to stop, particularly since I believe Kevin Riley is going to have a very solid year this season. Blount...well...defending him is like trying to stop a cement truck with a full load. I think with the graduation of Jeremiah Johnson, it will be Blount's time to shine, even if LaMichael James develops or not. For those who think that Blount can't do it without the "lightning"...we'll just see what Masoli has to say to that argument.

One very very large surprise to me was that Penn State's Evan Royster was left off the watch list. Last year he was a semi-finalist so I'm absolutely shocked that he is left off the list for this year. Just some food for thought anyway.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Beavers Receive Two New Verbal Commits

Update: According to various recruiting services, the OSU Beavers have received two new verbal commitments for this upcoming recruiting class. The first player was Michael Bibbee, a 6'3" 225 lbs. MLB. He committed on 6/28. According to, he has run the 40-yard dash in 4.6 seconds. Riley may convert him to a defensive end. The latest to commit is Tyler Perry, who recently participated in Oregon State's summer football camp. He's a 6'5" 240 lbs. TE who runs the forty in 4.8 seconds. He committed on 6/29. Supposedly, he's got plus hands and solid blocking ability. This should bring some size to the TE position that Oregon State has missed since graduating Joe Newton to the Seattle Seahawks.

This brings the total commitments to four for next year's recruiting class. Riley has stated that since there will be a small graduating class this year, he expects to only sign around eight players. This, of course, does not include the many greyshirts expected to enroll this winter, including highly touted JC wide receiver Reggie Dunn.

The other players committed to the Beavers are Roman Supolu, a 3-star 6'3" 255 lbs. OL and Sean Mannion a 3-star 6'5" 205 lbs. pro-style quarterback. Supolu attended Edison High School in Huntington Beach, CA and Mannion attended Foothill High School in Pleasanton, CA.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ducks New Uniforms...from a Beaver's perspective

The Oregon Ducks revealed yet another new design for its uniforms for this upcoming football season. Aside from marketing and the now 80 uniform combinations the Ducks can now deploy, they also are 25% lighter than last year's. Key changes made are all the uniform tops will now have the wings on the shoulder pad area and the Ducks have added another non-school color in gray that they're coining as "steel". A carbon-gray helmet will replace the lightning yellow helmet and the steel bottoms will be worn with the alternative white tops.

So, from a Beaver fan's perspective how do we view all this? Yes, it's just another uniform change and more money poured through UO's athletic department thanks to Uncle Phil. It's a great marketing tool however I think it's very unnecessary and a foolish way to spend money. Personally, I think it's gotten out of hand. Do the new uniforms look cool? Absolutely. As much as I can't stand the Ducks, I have to say I really do like the look of these new ones, especially the "carbon" helmet. I don't like how they're incorporating black and gray (Duck fans, these aren't your colors) but if it looks good with the green and yellow, then why not, right?

Backing up a little bit here, why do I think it's gotten out of hand? Well, UO is going to use the argument that it's a great marketing tool and that it has its performance benefits. First of all, Chip Kelly said it best in today's conference: they were a 10-win team and finished no. 9 in the nation. That is your best marketing tool. You can have the weirdest, ugliest, or most unique uniforms in the nation but if you're not winning football games then no one cares. Actually, it probably makes you look worse when you do lose. Whether you agree with me or not, I do promise you this: a high school football player would much rather play for a winning college football team than a losing team with a good fashion statement.

Now for the second part. Utility. Nike is priding itself on the ability to create cutting-edge performance enhancing uniforms. That sounds cool. But let's take a little bit of a closer look here. Nike claims they shaved these new uniforms down from 7.46 oz. to 5.5 oz. Cutting-edge performance enhancing uniforms? You think a Pac-10 caliber football player is really going to notice that 1.96 oz of difference? Now I get why they used that 25% figure. That sounds a lot better than a seemingly unnoticeable difference of under 2 oz. Cutting-edge? Disagree.

I will admit, as stated earlier, I really like the new "steel" color. That carbon helmet is just downright awesome and yes, from a Beaver fan's perspective is there any envy involved? Of course. I can admit that. Those helmets are cool. Really cool. But as I bring this blog entry to a close, let me ask you Duck fans this one question: Is this something you'd want your athletic department to spend money on if these weren't donated? I know it does give UO some more spotlight time but from an outsider's perspective it's getting old and out of hand. Why out of hand? Nike is giving UO thousands of dollars worth of new uniforms while departmental budgets are shrinking, professors/teachers are losing their jobs or taking cuts, and the economy is still in a slump, significantly affecting the university and its academics. I don't just call that out of hand. I call that absolutely ridiculous.

Breaking News: Reggie Dunn to Greyshirt

Since Reggie Dunn was addressed in a previous post, I thought I should comment on the situation of incoming sophomore recruit Reggie Dunn from Compton Community College. Dunn was expected to make an immediate contribution to the Beavers upon his arrival in Corvallis this fall. As it turns out, he won't be graduating from Compton CC until August 22nd, putting his graduation date just a couple weeks before the opening day kickoff on September 5th.

Riley explained that he didn't think Dunn would be ready, both physically and mentally, to make an early contribution. The good news for Beaver Nation is that he'll still have three years of eligibility. He won't have that fourth year as a redshirt year because of the delayed enrollment, but he'll still be an eligible sophomore pending his arrival.

Dunn was one of the fastest, if not the fastest, player in JC this past season. He sat out a year to work on his academics coming out of high school. He was expected to make an early contribution on special teams at the very least. He was a dangerous return man and most certainly would've seen immediate playing time had he qualified.

For all you Beaver fans out there, this may not be as bad as it seems. First, with the emergence of Darryl Catchings, Jordan Bishop, and the return of a healthy James Rodgers, it could be said that Riley may have redshirted Dunn this year anyway. With Dunn greyshirting, this will give him a year to develop and ease into Riley's system. It should be a much smoother transition than if Dunn hadn't redshirted. With all that said, it is still disappointing that Beaver fans will have to wait yet another year to see this explosive WR in action.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Look Ahead: The Oregon State Defense

As promised, I will continue my pre-fall camp analysis with the Beavers’ defense. While many will say next season looks grim, the cupboard isn’t totally bare for Mark Banker and the Beaver D. While we may not have the speed on the defensive line like we had last year, this is still going to be one of the fastest all-around defenses since the 2000 season. While inexperienced, there is a lot of potential here.

Defensive End: Replacing the best DE tandem Oregon State has ever seen (a combined 22 sacks between Slade Norris and Victor Butler) will be very difficult to do, however not impossible. I’m telling you, the cupboard is by no means bare. Ben Terry was the first man off the bench last year and is in the same mold as Victor Butler at 6-3 and 240 lbs. According to OSU, he also possesses similar speed (4.6 forty range) and look for him to wreck havoc on passers next season. On the other side will be Kevin Frahm from Central Catholic High School in Portland. While not as fast as Terry, he has good size (6-2, 255lbs) and great strength. We’ll see if his dominance on the scout team will translate into on-field production next year. He has been known as one of the hardest workers in the weight room.

OSU, as of recent, has been known to get production by committee on the defensive line, sometimes rotating as many as eleven guys per game last season. Another name to look for at the DE spot this spring is Taylor Henry, who seemed unstoppable in the spring game. He’s undersized at 6-2, 222 lbs. but is the fastest defensive lineman on the team. He even had an interception (with a very nice return) in the spring game. Look for him to contribute significant minutes and will most likely be used as the third down pass rusher like Victor Butler was in his first year.

Matt LaGrone, a junior-to-be transfer from the University of Nevada-Reno, is also going to be in the mix. While most probably haven’t heard of him, especially because he sat out spring with an injury, his physical attributes have the coaches excited. He’s 6-6 and 240 lbs. and supposedly very athletic (played basketball for the Wolfpack). His brother Josh is a safety for the team. While he has no game experience, coaches say he’s a tear on the field for the scout team. This could be the year he breaks out and look for him to come out of nowhere. He’ll likely be used in third down situations as well.

Finally, Gabe Miller, the converted tight end, made his move this spring. Starting out last on the depth chart, by spring’s end he was listed number two behind Ben Terry. Coming out of high school, many coaches wanted him on the defensive side of the ball (Oregon’s Defensive Player of the Year his senior year at Lake Oswego) but Riley thought he’d best be used at tight end. He’s got the size and speed OSU looks for in their DE’s at 6-3 235 lbs. We’ll see how much he’ll contribute this year at his new position but the potential is there.

Defensive Tackle: OSU possesses one of the best, if not the best, defensive tackles in the conference in Stephen Paea. Coming out of nowhere last year, he wrecked havoc on opposing quarterbacks (five sacks his first year starting) and spent most of his time in the opponent’s backfield. While he may not get five sacks this year because teams will start to key on him more, this junior-to-be will plug the gaps (yes, gaps not gap) that the OSU defensive scheme requires.

After Paea, the DT position will be handled by committee. There are a lot of options that DL coach Joe Seumalo could use. Last year, former walk-on Brennan Olander started most of the games. He may be used again this year but his production just wasn’t there (five total tackles last year, no sacks). Mitch Hunt is the slated starter at the other DT position right now but in my opinion look for Sioeli Nau to grab the other spot. He attended the same junior college as Paea (Snow College in Ephram, Utah) and he possesses great size (6-2 312 lbs.) and excellent strength like Paea. While he’s not as fast as Paea, he’s still very aggressive and will certainly plug gaps on the line. Other names that may be called throughout the year will be Jesse Fifita (6-1 276 lbs.), a converted defensive end, and Latu Moala (6-1 294 lbs.). All have at least one year of playing experience under their belts.

Linebackers: If there’s one bright spot on the OSU defense for next season it will be at linebacker. Based on experience and athleticism, there’s no doubt in my mind (and the mind’s of analysts who make a lot more money than I do) that OSU will have the best linebacking corp. in the Pac-10 conference. Yes, USC will have a ridiculous set of their own thanks to their consistent 5-star talent, but based off of experience one has to give the slight edge to the Beavers. Arguably the best returning linebacker of the Pac-10 in Keaton Kristick will man one of the outside spots. He’s able to play all linebacker positions so look for Banker to move him around to create mismatches.

On the other side, both Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson will share the “starting” spot. Pankey, at 6-0 208 lbs., is the speed backer while Roberson, at 6-0 235 lbs., is the power backer. My personal opinion is to play Roberson more. Pankey wasn’t big enough to get off blocks, particularly on plays like inside zone running plays, and often got jammed. In the same amount of playing time last season (Pankey actually got a little bit more) Roberson recorded 61 tackles and 2 sacks while Pankey accounted for 43 tackles and 1 sack. Something else to keep in mind is Roberson also had 7.5 tackles for loss. While I say Pankey is the linebacker with speed, Roberson also possesses great speed, agility, and quickness and with his size and strength, in my opinion, he is better suited to Banker’s system.

Finally, at the MLB position will be a new face: David Pa’aluhi III. He’ll be replacing Bryant Cornell (thankfully) and be using his 5-11 225 lbs. frame to man the middle. He’s certainly got the size and strength but what most people may not know is that he’s the fastest linebacker on the team as well. According to Riley and company, Pa’aluhi ran the forty-yard dash this spring at 4.45. Once again, we’ll see if this potential turns into production but with the experience on either side of Pa’aluhi, look for him to have a very solid year. His role last year was the blitzing MLB last year in the nickel packages.

Cornerback: Replacing current NFL players Keenan Lewis and Brandon Hughes will not be an easy task, especially when taking into consideration the style of defense Mark Banker runs. With the cornerbacks often up at the line of scrimmage jamming the receivers, they are often left on an island. If they’re inexperienced, they often struggle (see the 2005 season). While many will reference this, keep in mind the two players replacing Lewis and Hughes will not be freshmen and do have quite a bit of playing time between them unlike the 2005 situation.

The number one cornerback for next year will be senior-to-be Tim Clark. His claim to fame is probably the 2007 game at Cal when he held DeSean Jackson to four receptions for five yards. Keep in mind, this was no fluke. The previous week Jackson had 11 receptions for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns against Oregon. Clark didn’t have as productive year last year as 2007 (many coaches thought he didn’t try as hard because he knew he wasn’t starting) but this past spring he was the best cornerback on the field. He’ll take the reigns as number one and will be looked upon to have a solid senior season against each team’s number one wide receiver.

The other cornerback spot will be manned by either senior Patrick Henderson or junior James Dockery. Many people are throwing sophomore and special teams standout Brandon Hardin’s name in the mix but in my opinion Riley and Banker won’t rotate more than three guys at CB this coming season. Look for the two seniors to be the starters and receive most of the playing time. Patrick Henderson is somewhat small for a CB (listed at 5-10 185, probably closer to 5-9 or 5-8) but very fast. He’s very physical and strong and fits the press cornerback mold that Banker looks for. With his past experience and Dockery’s injury last year that put him out for the season, I say Henderson will get the nod to take over the other CB position. While replacing two starting cornerbacks is never a good thing on paper, the likes are the Beavers will be replacing them with two seniors, both with significant playing time. While magazines and analysts will say the cornerback spot is a big weakness for this Beaver defense, I say it may not be as bad as people think.

Safety: I guarantee safety will be the weakest part of the Beaver D next year. They are both young and inexperienced. One slated starter will be Suaesi Tuimaunei and he will be looked at as the one to replace Al Afalava. He struggled mightily to get off blocks last year in run support (remember Stanford?) and his pass defense was suspect at times. Coaches have been trying to get him more aggressive and to gain confidence. Perhaps a year under his belt will help these because the Beavers will be leaning on him heavily as the leader of the safeties.

The other safety position will be manned either by Lance Mitchell (the slated starter coming out of spring camp) or Cameron Collins. They battled it out closely last spring and fall looks to be no different. Collins has the size (6-2, 215 lbs) but Mitchell seemed to be more of the playmaker. Coaches have said despite Collins size, he really needs to get more aggressive in order for him to fit in with how OSU likes to use their safeties, which is in heavy run support (Greg Laybourn was the team’s leading tackler last year with 113) and press coverage just like their cornerbacks. While Laybourn was effective against the run, he was very suspect against the pass and OSU would certainly like to see someone who has the ability to cover as well as support the linebackers in running situations.

Two other players, redshirt freshmen Josh LaGrone and Anthony Watkins, will push the other safeties for playing time but will most likely fight for the back up spots and will be large contributors on special teams.

Many publications and analysts will choose the Beavers’ defense as a significant weak spot. While they may be somewhat inexperienced, they have the athleticism and speed at all positions that hasn’t been seen since the 2000 season. No, I’m not saying this Beaver D will be as good as 2000’s but athletically they have the same potential. We’ll see if that potential can turn into on-the-field production for the 2009 season.

Finally, one major thing to keep in mind is the schedule. For the first time in a while, the Beavers have a chance to start fast. Their defense will have no LSU’s or Penn State’s or Utah’s to go to early in their schedule and that will allow them to mesh and gel without those rude awakenings (although Stanford didn’t exactly scream hard matchup last year either). If the Beavers can start off with a winning record in their first five games it should instill some confidence in them as opposed to playing catch up like they’ve been forced to do in the past.

If they can get some initial confidence going while the team works out its early season kinks (and still wins), this could be a special year for Beaver football. Potentially, the Beavers could be 6-0 going into the game at USC with the first six games being Portland St. at home, at UNLV, Cincinnati at home, Arizona at home, at Arizona State, and the revenge game against Stanford at home.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

NBA Draft: Power Forwards

There is a lot of debate surrounding the Trail Blazers' needs this off season. Fans are chomping at the bit for further success in the playoffs, and everyone has their own opinions concerning the draft, free agency, and possible trades. Kevin Pritchard has a lot on his plate and one way he may look to bolster the rotation is through the draft. Also, many would like to see Portland address the back-up power forward position. Channing Frye's future with the club is murky at best and a more physical bench player at the four spot would be an intriguing option for Nate McMillan and the coaching staff. Let's look at some of the possible options at the power forward position in the upcoming draft. Notice I left out players like Blake Griffin, Jordan Hill, and DeJuan Blair. These three are most likely going to be lottery picks and will be unavailable when the Blazers pick, barring a collosal move by Blazer management (though one should never rule this out considering the way our drafts have gone in recent years).

Gani Lawal - Georgia Tech

Lawal has improved a lot and as a sophomore last year averaged over 15 points and nearly 10 rebounds in just under 30 minutes a game for the Yellow Jackets. He has good size and plays with a lot of energy. He is still raw in many aspects of his game however and would probably struggle to find many minutes in the rotation for his first couple of years. If the Blazers pick him, I would expect them to be patient with him and allow him time to develop in practice before putting him out on the floor in meaningful stretches. Many mock drafts have the Blazers selecting him with their pick at 24, which means nothing really. If anything, I expect the unecpected when it comes to Portland and the draft. Lawal would be intriguing but I wouldn't lose any sleep if some other team called his name on draft night.

Earl Clark - Louisville

Earl Clark is one of those guys who intrigues scouts with his talent, size, and quickness. He stands over 6'10'' with shoes and weighs around 230 lbs. His body is NBA-ready and he could potentially cause a lot of mismatches for opponents with his athleticism and ability to handle the ball out on the perimeter. He can also effectively defend the pick-and-roll, using his length and lateral quickness to step out on screens. This all sounds great right? Well there is a downside. Clark often seems to disappear when you watch him on TV. He becomes virtually invisible for stretches of games. He often hangs out on the perimeter but his shooting percentages aren't really very impressive. He doesn't have the mentality to be a go-to scorer like Rick Pitino would have liked at Louisville, but maybe he can become a solid contributer in the NBA, where he will be asked to fit in as part of a unit rather than carry his team through stretches of games. He probably won't be available at the 24th pick but he could be had in the late teens or early 20s. He seems like a huge boom or bust type of prospect and if the Blazers select him in the draft it should be an indication that they believe they can bring out all of the potential that so many scouts see in him.

Tyler Hansbrough - North Carolina

I will probably get teased for saying this, but I don't think Psycho T is a bad pro prospect when all is considered. Yes, I got tired of the Dickie Vs of the world raving about his "heart" and "tenacity", but it's not his fault that he was such a polarizing player for the premiere college basketball program in America. Hansbrough will almost certainly never be an all-star player but he has a lot of things that could allow him to contribute in the NBA. Many people assume that he is undersized but he measured up pretty well at the pre-draft camp in Chicago, standing over 6'9'' and weighing 235 lbs. His offensive moves look kind of herky-jerky and unorthodox, but they were effective. The guy could flat out score at UNC, he put up over 18 points a game for 4 years, topping out at over 22 a game during his junior campaign. His rebounding did dip during his senior year, which raises some questions about whether or not he will be a good rebounder in the league. Also, his attitude and work ethic appear to be top-notch, something that we know Pritchard looks for in potential draft picks. Many of us as fans love to hear stories about Jerryd Bayless working meniacly on his game, and I think Hansbrough brings a lot of those same qualities. You can never have enough of these guys as far as I am concerned and if Portland selected Hansbrough in a few weeks, I would feel confident knowing that he was going to do whatever the coaches asked of him and probably much more. I think the guy could be an effective role player, playing 10-15 minutes a night, bringing energy and toughness to a second unit that needs a little more muscle. I never thought I would write this but I am kind of intrigued by the thought of adding this all-american to our roster.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Game 1 Preview

My plan was to write a more in depth analysis of the Finals earlier this week. However with class starting in less than 40 minutes, and school actually taking up the majority of my time, here are a few quick thoughts on tonight's game 1 in Los Angeles.
  • Lamar Odom has to make Lewis and Hedo work on the defensive end. This means Odom needs to stop shooting threes, and become more aggresive in the paint. Many feel that Odom's defense on these two players will be the key to the series, and while I do agree, I believe it is even more imporant Odom makes them work on the other end of the floor.
  • Rafer Alston must look to to get his teammates more involved. To often Alston falls in love with his perimeter shot (I dont know why), but the Magic will be nearly unstopable if Alston takes advantage of Fisher by penetrating and then kicking out to the to shooters like Hedo, Lewis, and Pietrus.
  • Magic.....dont play Jameer Nelson! I understand Nelson wants to play, and that he had his way with the Lakers in the regular season, averaging 27 a game in the two previous match ups. However the Magic are in a groove with Alston playing the majority of the minutes, and Anthony Johnson contributing a solid 12-15 per game. Stan, keep it that way.
  • Kobe needs to do what he has been doing all postseason, and that is reacting to what the defense gives him. If Orlando is double teaming him, Kobe must trust that his teammates will make shots. Kobe's game has evolved over the years, he now understands the type of game he needs to play in order for his team to win.
  • Prediction: Lakers 103 Magic 94

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Oregon State Football: Looking Ahead at the Offense

This article was written by a friend and fellow Pac-10 football fan Matt, who has far greater insight and knowledge of Oregon State Football than I do. Enjoy.

With spring ball finally completed, fall training camp lurks just around the corner. Once the new recruits enroll they are pushed through a crash course in terms of getting acquainted with college life and the small-town atmosphere of Corvallis, while also trying to memorize Oregon State’s thick offensive and defensive playbooks. Fall is a time when returning players look to polish their skill sets and put their hard work in the spring to good use. Here is an in-depth, position by position look at OSU’s offense once fall hits. Defense to come soon!

Quarterback: Just as Lyle Moevao did last year, Sean Canfield has returned the favor as solidifying himself as the clear number one QB going into fall camp. Both players and coaches said he controlled the offense with a new found, vocal leadership that was seen from Moevao all last season. He really hit his stride this spring finding a new favorite target in Darrell Catchings. He did struggle in the spring game but it was by far his worst performance. If anyone knows Lyle Moevao, he will be the first to tell you not to count him out. Known as a fierce competitor, look for Moevao to hit fall camp hard and really push Sean for the number one spot. Coming off of shoulder surgery, Moevao is expected to be fully recuperated and healthy, something that he hasn’t seen since Dexter Davis sacked him in the ASU game last season.

Running Back: Everyone knows who the starter will be. The question remains as to who will back up Jacquizz Rodgers, the reigning PAC-10 player of the year. Jovan Stevenson, the grey shirt from Arizona, emerged this year as a potential back up showing a good burst with quick feet. His hands were solid but questions surround his size (185 lbs) and blocking ability. Ryan McCants is coming off of a very disappointing first season. While he showed flashes of his potential last year, he struggled to hit the hole and had some fumbling issues as well. If he can gain some more confidence and return from his knee injury hungry, then he will receive the most reps as Quizz’s back up. This would also allow Jovan Stevenson to redshirt. Should McCants not live up the hype again, incoming true freshman Ashton Jefferson, another Texas RB, will get a serious look at the back up role in spelling Quizz.

Wide Receiver: Starting off as one of the biggest question marks before spring, this might have just gotten interesting with several key players stepping up. First, Darrell Catchings seemingly came out of nowhere, completely dominating the spring as the number one go-to receiver. He will start and will have a chance to be the next OSU great. Casey Kjos started off as the incumbent to Shane Morales however look for Jordan Bishop to overtake this spot. He’s got the size (6-3) and athleticism (one of Oregon’s top high school track athletes coming out of high school) to make his mark as a freshman. He showed solid hands and precise route running all spring. The third receiver spot will be manned by James Rodgers, the Beavers’ explosive deep threat and fly sweep man. This should open things up by keeping the safeties and linebackers honest. Finally, the x-factor in all of this is Reggie Dunn, the touted incoming JC receiver. He was one of the fastest guys in JC and one of the most sought-after WR’s coming out of high school. If our current crop of receivers is able to step up, this would allow Riley to redshirt him since he has four years to play three.

Offensive Line/TE: Perhaps the biggest question entering fall camp will be the offensive line. Nagged by injuries throughout the spring, the offensive line depth is a major issue. Gregg Peat, Mike Remmers, and Alex Linnenkohl all return with significant starting experience. The question remains as to who will step up in the other two offensive line positions. Wilder McAndrew’s career has been nagged by injuries, and he re-aggravated his wrist injury this spring. Brent McNeil, a JC transfer last year, has solidified himself as one of the strongest run blockers on the team but still struggles in pass blocking. Timi Oshninowo (his brother is Babatunde Oshinowo from Stanford who’s currently in the NFL) made significant strides but went down with a knee injury of his own in the spring game. Geoff Garner has the sought-after size and strength that Cavanaugh wants in an offensive lineman but just recently got back from a Mormon mission and is trying to play catch up with both the playbook and getting back into playing shape.

Tight End returns great depth with three year varsity letter winner Howard Croom manning the one spot. Brady Camp often comes in as the H-Back in blocking situations while John Reese is the most athletic pass catcher. John Reese will often line up in the slot when OSU goes into their 5-wide receiver sets. While no one has separated themselves as the clear number one option, TE will be looked at as a committee to get things done depending on the situation.

Oregon State Football Recruiting: Who redshirts? Who doesn’t?

By national standards, Oregon State pulled in yet another mediocre recruiting class. By Coach Riley’s standards it is one of the best classes he has ever gotten. Highlighted by Michael Phillip, the nation’s number one offensive guard by most publications, this class is filled with something the Beavers have lacked in the recent past: speed. While Riley has slowly been building depth at each position allowing most of his classes to redshirt, there will be around three or four players that will be looked at to contribute immediately.

Michael Phillip, 6-3, 320 lbs, 4-star by Listed as the number offensive guard in the nation, O-line coach Mike Cavanaugh is anxious to see if Phillip is mature enough to fill one of the tackle spots vacated by Andy Levitre. He’s got the size, speed, and athletic ability but everyone knows the offensive line position is one of the hardest to grasp for an incoming freshman. With numerous injuries accumulated in the spring, Phillip will get a serious look at contributing early.

Reggie Dunn, 5-11, 185, 3-star by Coming out of high school Dunn was one of the most explosive and sought-after receivers on the west coast. After growing three inches (was listed at 5-8 in high school) Dunn has matured into more of a go-to receiver while still being one of the fastest players in JC. With the losses of Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales, Dunn will get a quick look to immediately contribute. He will have four years to play three.

Ashton Jefferson, 6-2, 195 lbs, 2-star by Most haven’t heard of Jefferson but with the thinning depth at running back (McCants’ spring knee injury) serious concerns have forced Coach Riley to give this Texas native a look to help keep Quizz healthy all season. He’s got great upside with his combination of size and speed (they say he’s closer to 210 lbs now) and Riley said he flew under the radar because he really broke out his senior year. Time will tell if Riley has found yet another hidden gem in the longhorn state.