Spring ball is just around the corner. So I thought I’d create a Top 10 list of things to watch for during camp. Without further ado…
10. Spring Game Format: In recent years, it hasn’t been much of a game. In fact, last year’s was a glorified practice. It has been due to not having enough players, which is understandable. But it also can be argued that the Beavers are hurt by not scrimmaging enough, especially its defense. It would be nice for that to change this spring.
9. What’s the Vision?: What a better time to release some renderings of the Valley Football Center renovation project? It would drum up some much-needed support for a facilities revolution. The athletic department needs to sell a grand vision to fans and recruits. VFC plans would be a great step toward doing that and securing donations when the time comes.
8. Run, Baby, Run?: Will Storm Woods continue to hold off Tarron Ward for the starting RB job? But also, is spring ball where Chris Brown makes his move on the depth chart? He might have the best pure running skills of the bunch, but must work on the other things such as blocking. But the coaches have said they plan to give Brown a shot this spring.
7. John Garrett: All eyes will be on new offensive coordinator John Garrett, who comes to the Beavers via the Cowboys, where he was the tight ends coach. How will he mesh with the other coaches? How will he relate to the players? And most of all, how will he go about helping add new wrinkles to the OSU offense. Hopefully, the TEs really flourish this spring.
6. Leaders WANTED: Brandin Cooks and Rashaad Reynolds were two of the Beavers’ top leaders last season . Who will replace them in those roles? Past OSU squads have struggled, in part by not having strong leaders. It will be especially important for someone to emerge on the defensive side because Scott Crichton is also gone.
5. Bold(en) Next Steps: While the Beavers have some intriguing prospects at wide receiver, they don’t have a lot of experience. So they will need Bolden, who improved as last season went on, to step and become the big-play threat Cooks was. That means establishing a rapport with Sean Mannion. If he doesn’t, it could be a rough season for the offense.
4. Linebacker Chemistry: Michael Doctor missed all of last season and DJ Alexander missed a lot time. The good news is that enabled Jabral Johnson to get a lot of playing time last season. He’s slotted to be OSU’s starting middle linebacker. But this talented trio will need to get used to playing with each other (and also stay healthy).
3. Backup Duty: Sean Mannion is firmly entrenched as OSU’s starter heading into the 2014 season. But the backup position isn’t nearly as settled. So hopefully, Brent Vanderveen and Kyle Kempt will get a lot of reps and show that they can be capable backups. Otherwise, fall camp will be really interesting. Besides, everyone always focuses on the QBs 🙂
2. Fillin’ the O-Line: The Beavers are looking to replace three starters from last season. While it’s hard to take a lot from Spring Ball, it’s crucial period for the offensive line. The unit needs all the time it can get to gel, because it’s going to play a major role in the run game improving this season. There’s some very promising talent here that should develop well.
1. The Other Guys On paper, the Beavers appear to have pretty good depth on the defensive line. So why is it the No. 1 thing to watch for? Dylan Wynn is primed for a monster year, Jawsha James showed a lot of promise late in the season, and Jalen Grimble is supposed to be legit. A physical, athletic line will boost the entire D, so let’s hope the defense rules spring ball!
What do you think of this list? What will you be looking for during spring ball? Go Beavers! (RW)