This week was a rough one for Peter71. The flirtation that Beaver offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh had with Oklahoma State was a rough few days of speculation for this guy (I am pointing at myself with both thumbs). The reality is that I think Coach Cav is an exceptional coach and an exceptional recruiter. It is hard to replace a quality coach that gets solid results from their players. While many look at this year and wonder what happened to the running game, OSU rushed for 1500 yards the season before even amidst multiple running back injuries. 2013 was a down year, but ended strong as the offensive line was able to create holes and the defense did their job so that running the ball remained a viable option.
The 2010 – 2012 teams showcased one or two NFL caliber linemen, the recruiting efforts since 2012 have put four or five potential draft picks on the line including Isaac Seumalo, Sean Harlow, Gavin Andrews and Grant Weinreich (though the latter has struggled with injuries). He also was able to develop undersized linemen Mike Remmers and Grant Enger to be quality starters and while Remmers is on an NFL roster, Enger has a great chance to find his way on a team this year as well.
Lets not forget the work Cav did in 2006-2008 through a myriad of injuries at key times of the season, including wins over number one ranked USC with then Redshirt Freshman Mike Remmers blocking. His work preparing Mitchell, Sapolu and Bays to come in this year and keep OSU on the winning track even though none of them had any starts to their names is largely unheralded yet amazing.
OSU has had its issues on the line in recent years, and two straight poor recruiting classes (2010 and 2011) as well as multiple players leaving for various reasons (hip injuries, concussions, transferring, desire to pursue other endeavors) left Cav without many options. In some cases, without a full two squads of linemen. In 2010 and 2011 he started only 1 three star (according to Rivals) linemen and had as many as three walk-ons playing. Not to diminish their contributions since one of those walk-ons is on an NFL roster, but there is no denying that depth was an issue. 2012 saw the starting of three three star and two four star linemen, and the results was a 9 win campaign, even with injuries at quarterback and running back. With three straight quality recruiting classes (2012 – 2014) Mike has given himself far more to work with on the line.
Mostly though, as a frequent practice attendee, I really appreciate Cav’s fire and the way his players respond to him. Every one of them as they have gone off, some to the NFL, some to coaching, always talks about the love and respect they have for Mike Cavanaugh. As we dive full speed ahead into 2014 and recruiting picks up again, being able to keep Coach Cav is a huge deal. Life goes one when coaches leave, but sometimes it is nice to have one of your better recruiters and teachers choose to stay for another year at least.