Spring Football Practice Begins Wednesday

March 24, 2005

Corvallis, Ore. -

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THEME: Spring practice for the 2005 football season officially begins Wed., March 30 at 3 p.m. All spring practices will be held at the Merritt Truax Indoor Center or the Prothro Complex. Practices are open to the public, but viewing areas will likely be restricted to ensure safety of the student-athletes and spectators. All practices are tentatively scheduled for 3 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Spring Practice Schedule (subject to change)March 30 		        April 15 (officials)April 1			April 18April 2 (12:30 p.m.)	April 20April 4			April 22 (officials)April 6			April 25April 8 (officials)	April 27April 11		        April 30 (Spring Game, 1 p.m.)April 13

SCRIMMAGE DATES: The annual Spring Game scheduled for Sat., April 30 will culminate the NCAA maximum allowed 15-day practice schedule. The coaching staff will bring game officials to three other workouts, April 8, 15, and 22.

WHO'S BACK? Forty-two lettermen (20 offense, 22 defense), including 15 starters, are expected to return for spring practice. Here is a closer look at the returning starters (*indicates letters earned):

OFFENSESE 28 	***     Mike Hass, Sr., 6-1, 209SL 16 	*       Marcel Love, Sr., 6-0, 184LT 61 	**      Adam Koets, Jr., 6-6, 291LG 69	**	Josh Linehan, Jr., 6-5, 295RG 67	*	Roy Schuening, So., 6-4, 317TE 89 	**	Joe Newton, Jr., 6-7, 254FL 17	*  	Anthony Wheat-Brown, So., 6-1, 214PK 13	*	Alexis Serna, So., 5-8, 157

DEFENSELE 27 ** Joe Lemma, Jr., 6-3, 260LT 97 ** Ben Siegert, Jr., 6-4, 275SB 4 * Keith Ellison, Sr., 6-2, 223MB44 *** Trent Bray, Sr., 6-1, 229WB 21 *** Chaz Scott, Sr., 6-2, 222SS 24 ** Sabby Piscitelli, Jr., 6-3, 222P 35 * Sam Paulescu, Sr., 6-0, 192

Note: The team lost a combined 296 starts from 2004 due to graduation, eligibility exhausted, an early defection to the NFL or other off the field issues. The team is expected to return 178 combined starts.

WHO'S GONE? Nineteen lettermen will not be returning for the 2005 season, 17 of them exhausted their eligibility in 2004. The list of non-returnees includes starters Matt Brock (C), Doug Ninehuis (RT), Derek Anderson (QB), Dwight Wright (TB), Sir Henry Anderson (DT), Bill Swancutt (DE), Aric Williams (CB), Mitch Meeuwsen (FS) and Brandon Browner (CB). Browner has declared himself eligible for April's NFL Draft. Sir Henry Anderson, who started 11 games last season, may return to the team if he clears up off the field issues over the next several months.

NEW FACES: Several new faces will be on the field for the start of spring practice. Junior quarterback Matt Moore, who earned two letters at UCLA, is eligible to compete this season after sitting out the mandatory one year for NCAA transfers. Moore has been attending classes since January. True freshman quarterback Sean Canfield from Carlsbad, Calif., graduated early and will begin school this term. College of Dupage transfer Joel Cohen (LS), Fullerton College transfer Jason Vandiver (TE), L.A. Harbor College transfer William Vea (DL), true freshmen Eric Moala (LB) and Dennis Christopher (LB), sophomore walkon Ahmed Zarrugh (CB) and redshirt freshman walkon Casey Noack (LB) among other potential walkons will begin practice Wednesday. Vandiver, Vea, Moala and Christopher began classes at OSU in January.

NEW FACES II: The coaching staff has a new look this year as several changes have occurred during the offseason. Danny Langsdorf arrived from the New Orleans Saints to take over the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks assignment. Langsdorf replaces Paul Chryst, who took a similar position at his alma mater the University of Wisconsin. Robin Ross is in his first year as the linebackers coach after moving north from the University of Oregon where he was the special teams/tight ends coach. Ross replaces Charlie Camp, who now is on the staff at San Jose State University. Mike Cavanaugh came to the program from the University of Hawai'i and is the program's offensive line coach. Jim Gilstrap has moved from offensive line to running backs and Lee Hull has switched from running backs to receivers. Bruce Read, who was a graduate assistant last season, has been promoted to full-time status as the special teams coach. Former Beaver Keith Heyward-Johnson (defense), William Souza (offense) and Kade Rannings (administration) will serve as the graduate assistant coaches.

COMMENTS ABOUT SPRING PRACTICE: Fifth-year head coach Mike Riley made the following statements regarding spring practice:

Overall team goals: 'We have a lot of development that needs to happen during this spring session. We have new starters in significant positions; we need players to feel comfortable in their roles at the conclusion of spring practice.'

Specific goals for the offense: 'It will be an exciting time for the offense with a couple of additions and position assignment changes in the coaching staff. I consider this to be an excellent coaching staff and it will be enjoyable to watch them work together. Again, it's all about development for the players throughout the spring and gaining confidence.'

Specific goals for the defense: 'The most pressing issue will likely be in the defensive backfield, but I feel good about the candidates and the talent we have there. Spring will be about gaining experience working against a formidable receiving corps that we have. I always want to build depth on the line, so that is a key point as well.'

WHAT TO WATCH: There are several key areas of the team that will look vastly different than in previous seasons. Most of the eyes will be on the quarterback position, where for the first time in 76 games there will be a new starting signal caller other than Jonathan Smith (1998-01) or Derek Anderson (2002-04). Riley and company will also look to fill three of the four positions in the defensive secondary -- the first time OSU has not had at least two returning starters in that area since 1989. The Beavers will have a new starting running back and two new starters on the offensive line -- the team has one senior on the line and he has not played a game. The program must also replace, potentially, two starters on the defensive line including arguably the school's best ever Bill Swancutt.

GOOD TO GO: Once the program solidifies the starting quarterback situation, he will have three returning starters at the receiver positions and a tight end as targets. Senior receiver Mike Hass was a third team All-American last season and will likely end his career in the top 10 in the Pac-10 Conference's major statistical categories. Junior tight end Joe Newton is among the best at his position. The program also has what should be considered one of the premier linebacker trios in the conference if not the nation -- senior Trent Bray was second in the Pac-10 last season for total tackles (122) and seniors Chaz Scott and Keith Ellison anchor the outside positions. OSU's special teams duo of punter Sam Paulescu and placekicker Alexis Serna are among the best in the nation.

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