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.

1 comment:

  1. Good overview of what we have for the upcoming season. I was worried about our recivers, but it looks Mike Riley has done a good job filling in our areas of need!!