Beavers Gearing Up for First Practice Monday
Aug. 7, 2009
WELCOME BACK: The 2009 version of the Oregon State University football team hits the practice field for the first time for fall camp at 2 p.m. Mon., Aug. 10. The first five days are the NCAA mandated 'acclimatization' period with the first double-day set for Aug. 15 at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. (see entire schedule in box). Practices are open to the fans and media, and are generally conducted at the Tommy Prothro Practice Complex or Reser Stadium.
GAINING SOME RESPECT: Oregon State enters the year predicted to finish fourth by media who regularly cover the Pac-10 Conference, and several organizations have included the Beavers in the top 25 including the USA Today Coaches Poll (AP polls has not been released). OSU has routinely finished higher than the prediction and will aim for that again this year. Here is a closer look at the last three years:
2006 - prediction 7th - actual finish 3rd
2007 - prediction 5th - actual finish 3rd
2008 - prediction 6th - actual finish T2nd
BOWL SUCCESS: It has been well-documented that Oregon State has had tremendous postseason success under head coach Mike Riley. Riley has led the Beavers to a 5-0 bowl record -- only Howard Schnellenberger (Florida Atlantic/Miami) has more wins (6) without a loss for active coaches. The program's five consecutive bowl victories rank second in the nation behind Utah's eight-game run. OSU has played in eight bowl games in the last 10 years, tied with USC for the second-most during that span in the conference. In addition, the Beavers have a .667 (8-4) bowl winning percentage overall - third among programs that have played in at least 10 bowl games -- Utah (.786/11-3) and Toledo (.700/7-3).
RILEY MOVING UP: Beaver head coach Mike Riley enters the season as the third-winningest coach in school history with 56 victories. Riley could move into second which is currently held by Hall of Fame coach Tommy Prothro (63). Lon Stiner, who coached at OSU from 1933-48 in Corvallis, won 74 games.
PAC-10 SUCCESS: Oregon State enters the year with the second-best overall record in the Pac-10 Conference over the last three seasons at 28-12 (USC 34-5). The Beavers were 9-4 in 2007 and 2008 and 10-4 in 2006. Included in the 28 wins are victories over No. 1 USC (2008), No. 2 California (2007), No. 3 USC (2006), No. 19 Pittsburgh (2008) and No. 24 Hawai'i (2006).
NATIONAL RANKINGS: Oregon State stands in elite company over the last three years by finishing in the top-25 of the Associated Press poll. USC, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia Tech, BYU, Penn State, Georgia and Ohio State are the only other schools to achieve such lofty status. The Beavers finished No. 21 in 2006, No. 25 in 2007 and No. 18 in 2008.
NFL BEAVERS: Seven Beavers off the 2008 team were drafted by NFL clubs, tied with Ohio State for the second-most draftees off of one team. Offensive tackle Andy Levitre was selected in the second round by Buffalo, cornerback Keenan Lewis was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh, defensive end Victor Butler went in the fourth round to Dallas as did fellow defensive end Slade Norris in the fourth round to Oakland, cornerback Brandon Hughes was a fifth-round selection of San Diego, safety Al Afalava was a sixth round tab of Chicago and Sammie Stroughter was a seventh round pick of Tampa Bay. A total of 23 Beavers are currently active on NFL rosters.
TWENTY-FIVE AND COUNTING: Oregon State has non-conference home games with Portland State and Cincinnati this season. The Beavers have won 25 consecutive non-league home games at Reser Stadium, dating back to Mike Riley's first-ever victory at Oregon State -- a 33-7 win over North Texas on Sept. 6, 1997.
EIGHTEEN AND COUNTING: Oregon State enters the year with 18 consecutive appearances on live television -- the longest streak in school history. The streak will at a minimum push to 20 (JASON MAKE SURE PSU GAME HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED) as the season opener vs. Portland State will air on FSN NW and the Sept. 12 game at UNLV is on CBS College Sports HD.
QUIZZ ON THE DOAK & WALTER CAMP LISTS: Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers has been selected a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, given annually to the nation's premier running back. Rodgers was the Pac-10 Conference's Offensive Player of the Year, a first by a freshman, and an AP third team All-American last year.
TEAM CAPTAINS: In what is considered unique, senior quarterbacks Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield have been selected two of the team captains for the 2009 season. The duo join senior linebacker Keaton Kristick, senior offensive guard Gregg Peat and junior defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
BEAVERS' E-MAG: You can check out the unique Oregon State football e-mag at IAMORANGE.com. The interactive online publication features bios, stats, videos and more.
MILITARY DAY: Oregon State's annual Military Day will be Sept. 19 against Cincinnati. Military personnel will receive special discount ticket prices. Look for more details in the near future at osubeavers.com.
WHAT TO WATCH DURING FALL CAMP When Mike Riley was asked during a recent media availability what the biggest questions of fall camp are, here were his answers:
1) How will the offensive line shake out? And what will Michael Philipp's role be?
For the second year in a row, the offensive line is one of the biggest question marks heading into fall camp. The Beavers need to replace three starters from 2008 in Andy Levitre (LT), Adam Speer (LG) and Tavita Thompson (RT).
Sophomore tackle Mike Remmers, who started the first seven games last year at right tackle, is slated to start in 2009. He'll likely protect the quarterback's blindside - based on whether Sean Canfield (left-handed) or Lyle Moevao (righty) starts.
At left guard junior Ryan Pohl and Brent McNeil and sophomore Michael Lamb waged a month-long battle during the spring. Pohl had gained the upper-hand before Lamb missed the last couple weeks of spring practice due to injury. Despite Pohl holding the early lead, the battle is expected to be renewed beginning next week.
The other tackle spot was being contested in the spring by junior Timi Oshinowo and redshirt freshman Colin Kelly. Oshinowo had taken the lead and earned the start in the Spring Game. However, Oshinowo's knee injury during the Spring Game threw the competition back in the air and opened the door for true freshman Michael Philipp to play a role in the equation.
However, Philipp's role will not be considered lightly. Riley prefers to redshirt all of his freshmen and certainly distains using a freshman sparingly, so Philipp will likely either start or redshirt with no middle ground.
Two positions are set with returning starters at right guard with Gregg Peat, who has 15 career starts, and at center with Alex Linnenkohl, who started all 13 games in 2008.
2) How will the Beavers replace the entire secondary?
The entire starting secondary (Keenan Lewis, Brandon Hughes, Al Afalava and Greg Laybourn) plus the nickel back (Austin Hall) exhausted its eligibility following the 2008 season.
Tim Clark is the logical starter at one corner. Clark has six starts on his resume and has been considered as a third for over a year.
The other cornerback position will be contested by senior Patrick Henderson, junior James Dockery and sophomore Brandon Hardin. Dockery, who was expected to make an impact in 2008 prior to a knee injury during fall ball, took control of the battle during the spring and will enter camp taking first team reps. However, Henderson and Hardin will push for playing time and all three are outstanding athletes and superior special teams players.
At safety, junior Suaesi Tuimaunei earned a pair of starts in 2008 and is the presumed starter at one position. Sophomores Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins will likely contend for the other spot as well as nickel back. Mitchell holds the early lead but all three will be expected to have an impact throughout the season. Redshirt freshmen Josh LaGrone and Anthony Watkins will also push for playing time.
3) Where will the pass rush come from?
A defensive back's best friend is the pass rush ... Victor Butler and Slade Norris, who each moved on to the NFL following the season, accounted for 40.5 sacks over the last two years.
two players at the top of the depth chart at the end of the spring were senior Ben Terry and sophomore Kevin Frahm earned considerable playing time last year, but combined for two tackles-for-loss in 2008. Behind Frahm and Terry is juniors Matt LaGrone, a former basketball player at Nevada, and Gabe Miller, who is converting from tight end. In addition, redshirt freshman Taylor Henry will be in the mix to play as well ... but none of those three back-ups has played a down of defense at the college level. While there is an overall lack of experience, all of these athletes present intriguing potential and will be expected to fill the pass rush void.
4) Who replaces Sammie Stroughter at split end?
The answer: Darrell Catchings.
The split end (or X) position has developed into an important play-making position for OSU's offense. In recent years Stroughter, Mike Hass and James Newson have manned the position for Riley.
Catchings was superb during spring practice and additionally has experience at the position after starting at the X while Stroughter was injured in 2007. Redshirt freshmen Geno Munoz and Jordan Bishop are options behind Catchings.