Spring Practice Preview -- Defensive Line
March 26, 2010
Corvallis, Ore. -
Just three days until the first whistles of Spring Ball begins with the hollering of coaches, the popping of pads (although not so much the first two days) and the gathering of fans with their notebooks and rosters.
Quietly, for the most part, defensive line coach Joe Seumalo will be observing his troops and instructing his linemen. Seumalo’s group, which typically rotates often to maintain fresh legs, returns four senior starters, but has limited experience in reserve leaving April’s primary task to develop the future of the position group.
The defense and specifically the defensive tackles will be led by all-everything candidate Stephen Paea, who has added muscle since he was last seen on the football field and is now up to 311 pounds. Backing up Paea at left tackle will be sophomore Castro Masaniai, who gained valuable experience last year in the tackle rotation, and senior Evan Hull.
“Stephen is a great player,” Riley said. “He creates a lot of havoc with his strength that forces double teams and enables his teammates to make plays. He is one of the best tackles I have coached at any level.”
At right tackle, Brennan Olander, who finished the season second on the team with eight tackles-for-loss, is a disruptive player who plays well off of Paea. Junior Kevin Frahm will move inside and is expected to be the third tackle. Sophomore Tonu Tuimalealiifano continues to improve and saw some action in 2009 after a bothersome knee injury has curtailed his contributions. The wildcards at tackle are former offensive linemen Ben Motter and Nathan Hannah. Both players were forced to play on the defensive side last year for the scout team and showed enough potential to warrant the switch.
At defensive end, Gabe Miller is slated to start on the left side. During the offseason Miller was tested as the fastest OSU player in the 10-yard dash proving his first step will be a challenge for opposing tackles and quarterbacks alike. Sophomore Andrew Seumalo, “Coach Joe’s” son, and freshman redshirt Devon Kell are next in line behind Miller. Seumalo continues to grow and appears to have the makings of a solid player, and Kell has added weight since his arrival and coupled with his raw athletic ability has a chance to become a difference-maker for the Orange and Black in the future. Redshirt freshman Mana Rosa will miss the spring session due to a shoulder injury.
On the right side, Matt LaGrone returns as the incumbent after starting four games late in the season. LaGrone, who formerly played basketball at Nevada, has a long wingspan and uses his length well to cover a lot of ground. He’ll be pushed by sophomore Taylor Henry, who played mostly as a speed rusher in 2009. Henry has added weight and is up to 240 pounds in an effort to be more effective against the rush. Redshirt freshman John Braun has also moved to the defensive side of the ball after being recruited as an offensive tackle. Braun’s build and athleticism could translate well to eventually replace LaGrone. Senior Mitchel Hunt will miss the session due to a knee injury suffered late last season.
The quest for success begins at 3 p.m. Mon., March 29 with the first day of spring practice. Practices are open to the public and fans are encouraged to attend.
Check back daily for more position previews and once practice starts for recaps and interviews on Beaver Nation Online, the official audio/visual source for Beaver Athletics.
Spring Practice Schedule – March 29, 31; April 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28; May 1 (Spring Game).
Depth Chart (as of March 22)
99 *** Gabe Miller Sr. 6-3 249 Lake Oswego, Ore.
49 Andrew Seumalo So. 6-3 262 Corvallis, Ore.
94 Devon Kell Fr-RS 6-3 228 Hilo, Hawai’i
66 Mana Rosa (injured) Fr-RS 6-3 250 Haiku, Hawai’i
54 ** Stephen Paea Sr. 6-1 311 Los Altos, Calif.
98 * Castro Masaniai So. 6-2 311 Waipahu, Hawai’i
77 * Evan Hull Sr. 6-4 276 Albany, Ore.
or 70 * Ben Motter Jr. 6-5 288 Philomath, Ore.
78 ** Brennan Olander Sr. 6-1 276 Grants Pass, Ore.
74 ** Kevin Frahm Jr. 6-2 267 Portland, Ore.
61 * Tonu Tuimalealiifano So. 6-1 269 Honolulu, Hawai’i
75 Nathan Hannah Sr. 6-3 277 Scappoose, Ore.
19 * Matt LaGrone Sr. 6-6 255 San Diego, Calif.
91 * Taylor Henry So. 6-1 240 Altadena, Calif.
76 John Braun Fr-RS 6-5 256 Albany, Ore.
92 ** Mitchel Hunt (injured) Sr. 6-2 287 Chandler, Ariz.