Monthly Archives: August 2014

Things I Hope Will Happen

The final of my ‘Things’ posts is a game day special.  As we are just a few hours away from kickoff, there are some things I hope about this season, one of which might change OSU football for the foreseeable future.

THINGS I HOPE WILL HAPPEN
1. Coach Garrett will be our Chip Kelly:
Those of you that are unfortunate enough to read my posts on Rivals and Pure-Orange will no doubt have heard me rail against Chip Kelly.  Before anyone thinks I am back tracking on my thoughts about him here is where I stand:

1. The ducks were a good team and getting better before Chip got there.
2. Chip is a great offensive mind and was the final ingredient to them taking the next step (along with a grip load of cash and facilities)
3. Once USC came off sanctions, the ducks came under inveAQstigation for recruiting violations and the Pac-12 came to fruition, the competition for players and coaching talent in the conference (as well as the adoption of similar offenses around the conference) helped Chip make the decision to go to the NFL.  (that and a grip load of cash)

Chip is a great coach and he was obviously exactly what the ducks needed.  l really hope that the same can be said for Coach Garrett.  While he is not bringing a whole new philosophy of offense or massive changes to their system, he is bringing something that OSU has sorely needed.  Attention to detail.  The amount of practice dedicated to technique, to doing things perfectly, to execution and to efficiency in motion/play calling/technique are all things that OSU needs.

How many games have we seen that were close before an offsides call or a fumble or getting a play in late or not calling a time out or too many players in a huddle or whatever killed an important drive. Those mistakes have nothing to do with a player throwing, catching, running, blocking or tackling but have everything to do with efficiency and attention to detail.  The other item that I have seen Garrett harp on is perfecting your technique, whether it is getting belly to belly with the guy you are blocking, finishing runs or splitting two tacklers, holding the ball under your chin to avoid fumbles or just constant repetition until the players have perfected that skill shows what Garrett’s true talent may be.

I don’t expect him to call plays, but I do expect the offense to look much more efficient, to be held to a higher standard and for an obvious change in how they do things.

In that way, I think he could be OSU’s Chip Kelly.  He could be the guy that comes in and fills the biggest void they have and gets the Beavers to the next level.  Recruiting will be the big long term aspect if his job that he needs to perfect, but if he can be a good voice in the ear of players and get them thinking huge NFL sized goals playing for an NFL prep school, recruiting excellence could come soon as well.

So I hope, really hope, that we see this on the field today. That we see players finish and just a sense of urgency and perfection in what they are doing. Today will probably be pretty rough at spots, just like everyone in their first game, but if they improve every week, which is the goal, then a noticeable upgrade in execution over last year will be a huge start.

2. A Raised Bar:
The OSU Athletic Department have recently announced their plans to upgrade the Valley Football Center this winter after the football season is over.  They have also talked about plans to address in some manner or another the west side of Reser Stadium. What that West Side looks like is up to two things:

a. How the football team does this year (specifically winning the Civil War)
b. How we in Beaver Nation respond

This year is a huge turning point year.  Next year OSU replaces most of their team, a common theme in the conference, and if they are in rebuilding mode, then it will be far more palatable following a Civil War victory and maybe a fun trip to Pasadena. Regardless, Beaver Nation and OSU needs to set the bar higher because across the country it is being raised for them.  I am a huge Mike Riley supporter and probably drink a bit too much of the Riles-Kool-Aid.  That being said, the trip down the conference rankings is a quick and steep one and a sub par year can jeopardize all that has been built so far and can make the changes needed to continue to grow much more difficult.

If OSU is barely .500 to end the season, and if they are not recruiting better than the previous year, there is no more waiting.  Changes have to happen and I hope that just as we have seen with Coach Tinkle, that positive changes are met with a positive response from Beaver Nation. Even if that change is Riley winning 11 games. I know that many in OSU are tired of the same thing after 14 years. I know many are critical of Mike for things that are his fault and many that are not.  That being said, if he can turn things around, if Garrett is a huge boost, if Banker and his staff can turn the most experienced and talented defense they have had in years upon years into a dominant force, then we need to see a huge jump in support from the Beaver faithful.  If it is going to happen, this year is the year and today is the first day of this trek.

If not, then there needs to be adjustments and they probably need to be very large.

Regardless, whether it is winning now or change to win later, it is up to Beaver Nation to up their bar, to give a bit more than they do now, to respond to the athletic department saying the only direction any program can go is up.  If the Athletic Department does this, then Beaver Nation would be pretty pathetic to not follow suit.  We love to complain about shortcomings and mistakes but when we need to respond to positive change, we need to step up or our complaints are meaningless.

In the same vein, if the athletic department doesn’t up the standards, whether through change or through rewarding the coaches we have for taking a big step, then Beaver Nation may need to send another message. We will respond to the athletic departments vision and direction. If we don’t see any, we cannot be expected to push ourselves to act/give. In the immortal words of that 80’s PSA drug use commercial, “I learned it by watching you.”

Today is the first day of the Future of OSU Football. It is he first day of the Garrett era at OSU and it is the best opportunity the Beavers have had to win the Rose Bowl in five years.  Lets see it on the field, lets see it in the stands and lets hopefully celebrate the next step in OSU’s conscious decision to pursue excellence on the field.

GO BEAVERS!

 

Stupid Things Last Night That Bothered Me Way Too Much

So while I should be celebrating the startof another football season, especially with some exciting match-ups last night and some blowouts against teams I generally don’t care for (I am looking at you Blue Donkeys), I found myself getting angry last night about silly things that get under my skin. They are not even football-specific, but are culturally specific.

1. Sports broadcasting as marketing and not information. 
We get a lot of news from all different sources that are little more than propaganda machines for certain ideologies.  I think we all know that most media sources, even if unconsciously, push agendas that target their base.  It just frustrates me when it is so obvious, and when it deals with sports, when we are all watching what is happening and know when they are blowing smoke up our butts or not.

Case in point:
Adam Schefter tweeted this last night:

Cleveland is going to have a hard time keeping Johnny Manziel on the bench for very long.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 29, 2014

That was following another tweet that I can no longer find on his feed, in which he described an impressive-sounding series of plays that Manziel made.  So I investigated these claims, thinking he must be doing great.  Here was his stat line:

6-for-17 for 83 yards passing with one TD.

The thing is that this was against players largely vying for roster spots, so it was not against the Bears’ top players, but rather against their scrubs and scrubs of scrubs. For those keeping track, that is an ESPN RTG of 71.4. Rex Grossman and Brian Hoyer both outperformed him.  Hoyer was at least playing against the best of their reserves, as many starters got held out this game.

So rather than report on what actually happened, that Manziel had a sub par game with two highlights, Schefter throws out pure marketing gibberish to further “Tebow-ize” Manziel.

You would think that the Pac12 Network, being a pillar of amateurism and collegiate excellence, would be different. (I almost threw up typing that). Unfortunately, in order to toe the line of Pac12 exceptionalism, the only reports of the WSU game were about the amazing Washington State offense passing all over 2013’s 123rd-ranked passing defense, which only returned one player from last year’s squad. Those reports kind of neglected to say that Rutgers was beating them even with that sieve-like defense.

Here is the deal, I know it is all about money. Everything is. Everything you see in media has $$$ attached to it — and those dollars dictate what you see, hear, and experience. I just pine for the days when they were a little less obvious about it.  Manziel will probably not be amazing. He is in a tough city to win, has no one to throw to, and honestly is not the most talented QB. The Texas A&M game last night shows you how much their system feeds guys, just like Mike Leach’s system does. But for now, he is popular, selling jerseys and getting butts in seats, so they are making the most of him. And right now the Pac12 needs to establish itself as the SEC-killer conference.

So don’t expect the whole story. Just expect the part of the story that proves the points that the people delivering the message want you to hear.

2. Just throwing a popular coach’s name onto a team doesn’t cover up their flaws.
Washington State is the darling of the Pac-12 these days. The scrappy up and comers from the furthest reaches of prairie hell are riding the land-locked pirate ship known as the SS Mike Leach. It is a fine and exciting ship and will do amazing things in the Palouse. Some day.

Right now, though, the Cougars are a team that has SERIOUS questions about their defense, their offensive line and their top receiver from last season. While they were able to torch the Scarlet Knights regularly through the air, they had no answer for the pedestrian Rutgers offense, couldn’t tackle, and didn’t seem to understand what running the ball looked like. For good reasons.

The thing is, just like Sarkesian at UW, there was a perception of the sleeping giant built with internal timelines of when that giant would wake up. “Oh by year three in this system, watch out!” Or “After 4 years we are finally going to see what coach X can do!” We have seen it before, even here at OSU. Heck, the season is still young — and we in Beaver Nation know all about slow starts and fast finishes.

What bothers me is that there is no recognition that teams have deficiencies, because the coach is popular and the majority of people think those type of coaches are are going to work miracles.

Look at USC. This weekend they will have only six scholarship offensive linemen available to play. They will be without two of their best defenders due to injury and ridiculous behavior, and they just lost senior running back Anthony Brown (who was injured) for confusing reasons. Regardless, the Trojans have talent, but there are so many obvious flaws that people are just glossing over.

We will see how it plays out for all of these teams, but lets not just let the brand established by their coaches dictate what is really there. This is going to be a rough season for most teams in the Pac-12, and we are going to eat our own all year because of all the talent and good coaches. Teams with obvious flaws should not be given a pass simply because most of America knows who runs the show.

A 2014 Season Wishlist

This is a play off Peter71’s recent “5 Things I Know” post. Here’s five things I’m wishing for the OSU football team this season, in no particular order.

1. Consistent Running Game: There’s no question, the Beavers struggled in the running game last season. But looking deeper, it wasn’t because they weren’t capable of doing so. Just look at the Oregon and Boise State games. The main issue was that the Beavers weren’t able to commit to running the ball when they fell behind. It’s hard for any back to find his rhythm when carries are few in between. So it would be great to see the Beavers able to run the ball more regularly, even if it’s not for big yards right away.

2. Linebackers Stay Healthy: The Beavers have had plenty of good linebackers ever since I became a Beavers fan during the Pettibone era: Jonathan Jackson, Darnell Robinson, Nick Barnett, Trent Bray, Keith Ellison, etc. But Michael Doctor, D.J. Alexander, and Jabral Johnson could be the best starting trio of the bunch — if they can stay healthy. Doctor missed all of last season, and Alexander missed several games as well in 2014. But this unit is fast, athletic, and smart. It could be the Pac-12’s best.

3. Clear-cut Running Back: This relates to the first wish. There’s nothing wrong with having a stable of good, capable running backs, which the Beavers have in Storm Woods, Terron Ward, and Chris Brown. All of them bring different strengths to the table (Woods: Receiving/blocking; Ward: North/South running style; Brown: Speed/explosiveness). But it would be nice to have one of the three emerge as the go-to back. Mike Riley’s offenses have always done best when there’s a workhorse back who is reliable and moves the chains.

4. No Silly Losses: If the Eastern Washington game wasn’t enough, the Washington game surely did the trick in terms of unacceptable “What the Heck” losses last season. Adding insult to injury was that both losses were in Reser Stadium. Simply put, losses such as those can’t happen this season because more people will jump off the bandwagon. And a loss, to say Portland State, would kill this season’s momentum, even among the Orange and Black faithful. This is a big season for Riles and Co. The Beavers need to take care of business in games they should win.

5. Eight Or More Wins: Anything less than 8 wins would be a massive disappointment. Sure, the Beavers have question marks  (OL, WR, Secondary). But they also have one of the top QBs in the country, arguably the best group of TEs in the Pac-12, a talented and experienced defense, and a new energetic offensive coordinator in John Garrett. This is the year for the Beavers to make some noise, because after this season, it doesn’t get any easier. They lose just about every starter on defense this season, not to mention Mannion. So this season could be their window of opportunity to do big things. (RW)

What are five things you wish for the Beavers this season? Share yours in the comments section below.

The three people we will be talking about in December

I have been to some spring practices and have followed fall practice closely, and in that time there are three people that have stood out to me every time. Below is my prediction for these three players this season and what it will mean for the Beavers.

1. Caleb Smith:
While everyone is talking about Hamlett, I would not rest on Smith.  He is a physically dominant player that has been practicing and training with more fire than I have seen from him in the few years he has been here.  While he was big for us so many times last year, a few mental lapses in games leads many fans to add an asterisk next to his name.  From what I have seen and heard is that Caleb has more focus on the details this year than ever before.  He practices at 100% and is running guys over in practice.

Every opponent we play is going to have to try and cover Caleb and Connor with a linebacker or safety.  None of those guys are going to be able to match up super well physically with them, and Caleb has legit speed to go with his huge frame. Like Gronkowski, Smith is going to be a mismatch against anyone, and if Mannion can get him the ball in the seam to a place only he can catch it, it will be a rough go for opposing defenses.

2. Obum Gwacham:
To be honest, I think ‘Boom’ is going to make the coaches look bad this year.  They are going to make him look bad for wasting his time at receiver. In the coaches defense, physically, if Gwacham could have gotten it together as receiver, he would be a high draft pick next spring. As it is, there is a chance he will be.  For those that have watched practice, you realize how incredibly athletic he is.  If he can hone his technique and find a way to keep leverage and distance from offensive linemen, he is going to wreak havoc on opposing offenses.

It is like watching a spider eat a fly.  He is this big, giant, fast blur across the field, closing in from behind on fast players and bringing them down.  I saw three plays where he held his ground, and when the pass was a bubble screen to the far side of the field, he shed his blocker and ran like he was shot out of a cannon to track it down. He is fast, he is explosive and he will be a very god player for us this year. When I think about some of my concerns about this season, I think about a sack master like Scott Crichton not being here.  When I watch Gwacham, I think we might be OK, especially in passing downs or against mobile QB’s.  If he can learn to keep position and be disciplined, very few running backs will be able to out run him, and even fewer quarterbacks.

 3. Larry Scott:
Larry is never mentioned.  He gets buried behind many other players in their assessment of practice and is slightly overshadowed by the very talented Hunt.  The thing is, he is fast, has good hips and can cover very well.  While many chagrin the injury to Hunt before fall camp, I am sad about the injury to Scott in the spring. He may have ran away with the competition anyway because he knows the system and is a great player.

The other part of Larry that I think is important is that he is a teacher. When injured he was constantly working with guys to get better.  He is a great team player and also knows what his role is on the field.  He has been in the program a while, worked hard to come back from injury and I think he is going to turn a lot of heads.

I would not be shocked to see Larry and Nelson both be conference leaders for interceptions.  Of course, I am not the most objective of prognosticators.

Season Preview: Things I think…

This is the second in my Things series.

THINGS I THINK:
1. He offensive line will be better than we think.  Even with the absence of Isaac Seumalo, the offensive line is working from a very talented base.  Most of them just need time together and time on the field. PSU will try and disrupt the Beavers up front, but if they can establish themselves as a physical group that is going to be aggressive and violent in their attack, I think they can really give OSU an edge it was missing last year.

People are not really talking about him, but Gavin Andrews is poised for a huge break out season. He is the guy that everyone wants to go against in practice because he is such a physical force, has a big nasty streak and at 6’5″ and 340 is a mountain of a man that can really get into those defensive ends and impose his will on them if he uses his technique.

We will probably really feel his presence on fly sweeps, where he is going to be a punishing edge blocker.  I also think that as the season goes forward, if Stanton can reclaim his spot, an interior of Harlow, Mitchell, Bays, Weinreich and potentially Isaac to pick from gives OSU some punishing interior linemen.  We can lament last year all we want, but I really cannot imagine wanting to go against those guys play in and play out.  Weinreich is a mountain and a very physical player, and he may be the odd man out.  There is a ton of talent and a ton of nasty to work with there.

2. That we are not going to recognize our secondary this year.  Whenever you have an improved front seven, which OSU will most certainly have this year, you see a ripple effect. If quarterbacks cannot just sit back and throw the ball, or if the defenders chasing down the QB are coming un-blocked because you have multiple players requiring double teams it gets harder to be pinpoint accurate.

The other side of these events is that if the run game appears to be handled decently by your front seven, you free up the safeties and corners to focus on the pass. This is a huge asset and cannot be overstated.  The single worst aspect of OSU’s defense last year, was that they needed all hands on deck to stop the run.  Many people are negative towards Ty Zimmerman, but he is a great player that was forced to cover the run equally to the pass.  This forced a lot of breakdowns like the USC and UW games.  It forced him to run with the receiver while constantly keeping his eyes in the backfield.

A strong front seven in any defense makes corners look like they are all world and helps safeties become intimidating forces in the backfield, patrolling the wide open field looking for receivers to hit and balls to break on and intercept. When Murphy and Zimmerman were able to keep the field in front of them and ignore the run, they were more than impressive.  See the WSU and Cal games.  When they had to be an integral part of the pass defense, they were often out of position and sometimes grasping at straws while they tried to maintain two positions at once.  I suspect if the defensive line can play like I think it can, that our secondary will be vastly improved.

Portland State Preview

What: Portland State at Oregon State

When: 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30

Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon

TV/Radio: Pac-12 Network; Beaver Sports Radio Network

Series Record: 3-0, OSU. The Beavers won the last meeting, 34-7, in 2009. Jacquizz Rodgers led the way for the Beavers, rushing for 103 yards and 3 TDs on 16 carries. James Rodgers had 95 yards receiving and TD as well.

Notes: Portland State finished 6-6 in 2013, including 3-5 in Big Sky Conference play. It’s most impressive game of the season might have been a 37-30 loss to Pac-12 California at Berkley. The Vikings set six school records on offense last year, including rushing yards and total TDs. Their returning Big Sky first-team selection is former OSU punter Kyle Loomis, who also received FCS All-America honors. Head coach Nigel Burton is a former OSU assistant coach (defensive backs)

5 Keys to Victory

1. Jump Out To Early Lead: One of the reasons the Beavers’ running game struggled last season was because it didn’t have a chance to get going in several games — due to the Beavers falling behind early. The Beavers should have their way against Portland State, give the running backs a chance to get carries and find their rhythm. The more momentum they can get in the early going will pay off big for them later in the season. Anything less than 150 yards rushing in this game would be a disappointment.

2. Defense Forces 4+ Turnovers: On paper, the OSU defense appears to be stacked — a blend of experience, talent, and athleticism. Plus, Dylan Wynn, Michael Doctor, and Ryan Murphy should provide tremendous leadership. But again, that on paper. So the Beaver defense needs to set the tone early in the game, whether it’s with a jarring sack or an interception. It’s been awhile since the Beavers had a defense that was fierce… Forcing a bunch of PSU turnovers would be a big statement for the defense, and serve notice about this season.

3. An Early Day For Mannion: If all goes well, Sean Mannion’s should exit the game no later than the end of the third quarter (I’d love it if didn’t play in the second half at all). It would mean that the Beavers took charge early on, built a big lead, and show no signs of letting up. And of course, Mannion will have played a huge role in that, by running play action to perfection, taking advantage of mismatches, and using his tight ends often. If he has to play into the 4th quarter, the game is way closer than it should be.

4. Offensive Line Holds Strong: The offensive line was one of the Beavers’ big question marks going into this season, having lost three starters from last year, and star Isaac Seumalo recovering from offseason surgery. Seumalo is missing this game, so it becomes even more of a good challenge for the linemen who will play. They should have their way with PSU’s front 7, but this game is important for developing chemistry and working out kinks. If the running game gets 150+ yards and Mannion is sacked two or fewer times, it’s a good performance for this unit.

5. Owens Converts FGs: With the uncertainty of Trevor Romaine’s status, what was expected to be an area of strength for the Beavers, is now in a flux. But if redshirt freshman kicker Garrett Owens is called on to kick and converts, it would go a long ways in easing peoples’ fears. Owens is a highly-regarded kicker and did well during spring ball, enough that there was on open competition at the beginning of fall camp between him and Romaine. If Romaine doesn’t return, it’s Owens turn to shine.

Game Prediction: OSU 41, PSU 10. Beavers strike quick and don’t look back. Mannion throws for 3 TDs, Beavers rush for 150+ yards, and the OSU defense holds Portland State to under 250 total yards.

What are your keys to victory, and predictions for the game?

Quick Thoughts on Eubanks Verbal

Wayne Tinkle landed a huge first recruit, figuratively and literally, Tuesday afternoon, receiving a verbal commitment from Drew Eubanks. A 6-foot-10 post at Reynolds High School, Eubanks’ stock has soared this summer. He’s now ranked a Top-150 player for 2015 recruiting class.

Needless to say, Eubanks represents major coup for the OSU basketball team —and hopefully, his commitment leads to a domino effect for the Beavers.

Visiting OSU this weekend, along with Eubanks, are Tres Trinkle, Stephen Thompson Jr., and Derrick Bruce. All three players are highly-regarded, and Eubanks, Tinkle, and Thompson have already spent time bonding with each other. Tinkle is the son of Wayne Tinkle, and Thompson Jr.’s father, Stephen, is one of Tinkle’s assistants.

Eubanks, combined with even just one of those three players, would give the Beavers a strong foundation for the future. But hey, why not shoot for the stars? The hope is that all four want to team up and lead OSU to the Big Dance.

Either way, Eubanks pledging to the Beavers is a testament to the hard work that Wayne Tinkle and his staff are putting in, as well as the excitement they are creating within the program. Overnight success is unlikely, but landing 2-3 top players, makes a turnaround a lot easier.

Also, one of the things Tinkle stressed since being hired was the need to recruit Oregon and the PNW, and he’s off to a good start with Eubanks. Gaining the trust of in-state coaches can only help the next time there’s a Kevin Love- or Kyle Singler-type out there.

Eubanks’ commitment also could benefit the Beavers baseball team. He’s one of the state’s top players on the diamond — as a pitcher. He’s expressed strong interest in playing both sports at OSU.

How cool would that be? He could be an OSU version of Randy Johnson!

Season Preview: Things I know…

As the summer winds down and my touring and vacation season comes to an end, I wanted to make sure I got out a few season prognostication articles before we go all in on PSU preparation.

So I am going to do a three part post over the next day or so, which will include Things I Know, Things I Think and Things I Hope.

THINGS I KNOW:
1. I know that OSU has an NFL caliber Quarterback in Sean Mannion. .After this season he will most likely own all of the passing records that the conference and school have.  If OSU can find a run game and the defense can stop teams consistently, he has the potential to pass for more yards than last year.  There is a lot left that has to happen, but every day the line gets more and more solidified and the backs are working hard to make sure we can count on them.

I watched the WSU game from last year yesterday, and you really see some of what Sean can do, but also some of the things he worked on this off season. If his balance improves, his footwork improves and he can get the ball out quicker, as Garrett said when he was hired, Sean left about 200 yards and two TD’s on the field last year in that game.

It is interesting how some bad games in the past have jaded some in Beaver nation, but when you talk to opposing coaches, scouts and, more importantly, watch his games outside of the live environment of being a fan, you realize how special Sean really is.  He may not go to New Your for the Heisman ceremony or be on the cover of Sports Illustrated (thankfully) but when it counts, when teams are looking for the guy that is going to take them to the next level and be their Peyton Manning or Tom Brady they are going to give Sean a good, long look.

I am confident in saying I KNOW we will have a great and future NFL starter at Quarterback this year.

2. We will have a better defensive line this year than last year.  There is no denying that teams were able to run on us last year.  Teams like UW and USC had no problems getting yards on the ground against the Beavers, especially after Braun went down. Even typically poor running teams like WSU were able to have big gains on the ground.  This year, while we are missing NFL draft pick Scott Crichton, the Beavers have added a lot of talent at the defensive line.  Being six deep at tackle frees up OSU to do a lot, as well as having a multitude of different types of players to choose from at defensive end.

This defense has the personnel and front seven depth to be similar to the 2007 team.  I don’t thin kit will be easy to run on the Beavers this year, and that means teams will have to pass.  I am not sure what the pass rush will be like, but that pocket will survive well in the middle, so my guess is teams will struggle to throw the ball as well.  If our safeties and corners can focus less on the run and more on the pass, I think OSU will have a very good defense and very good season this year.

Regardless, I am confident in saying that I know our defensive line will be better overall than last year’s.

The 2014 Pac-12 Season — From a Fantasy Perspective

My buddies and I have played Pac-10/12 fantasy football for some time. We hold our draft during an annual camping trip. This past Saturday was our 2014 draft, and I wanted to quickly share some of the draft results — as another way to add to the excitement about the upcoming season. (I had the 6th pick in draft with five other teams. The picks snaked back around, meaning that I got the first pick of the second round and so on.) 

My probable starting lineup: 

  • QB: Connor Halliday, OB, WSU (Round 1): Halliday put up video game numbers last season in Mike Leach’s pass-happy offense. As long as he stays healthy, there’s no reason he can’t  duplicate or exceed those numbers this year,
  • RB: Thomas Tyner, RB, UO (Round 2): Both Tyner and Byron Marshall will receive plenty of carries this season. And while Marshall might be the No. 1 back and more establish, Tyner has more big-play ability. He’s a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
  • WR: Chris Harper, CAL (Round 3): Had Harper last season as well, and he was extremely productive. Gets both yards and TDs. With QB Jared Goff a year older, Harper could get even more opportunities this season. Will be competing with a lot of talented Cal WRs, though.
  • WR: Gabe Marks, WSU (Round 4): Marks is proven, and arguably Halliday’s favorite target. He should build on last season’s breakout performance. Like Harper, though, he might fall victim to a deep, talented WR corps at times this season.
  • TE: Caleb Smith, OSU (Round 7): Connor Hamlett is OSU’s No. 1 TE, no doubt. But Smith figures to get plenty of balls thrown his way due to his speed and athleticism.  He needs to cut down on penalties, but as long he stays healthy, he should have a big season.
  • RB/WR/TE: RB Tre Madden, USC (Round 6) or RB Barry Sanders Jr., STAN (Round 13): Madden will start the season as USC’s No. 2, but is proven. Sanders is still battling to be No. 1 for Cardinal. Either way, he should get carries as Stanford loves smashmouth football.
  • K: Trevor Romaine, OSU (Round 11): Had Romaine last season and he was a disappointment. But his strong leg and excellent sophomore season give me reason to believe he can rebound big this year and cap off his OSU career in style.
  • DEF: USC (Round 5): I took the first defense in our draft, and hopefully the strongest (Besides, OSU… Duh). USC is always loaded with athletes, and DC Justin WIlcox will waste no time utilizing that talent to create a formidable defense this season in Trojan Land.

My Other OSU Picks:

  • WR Victor Bolden (Round 10): Hard to believe the guy slotted to be OSU’s top WR lasted this long. With that in mind, he has to be my “Steal of the Draft.” He won’t put up Cooks numbers most likely. But 800 and 7 isn’t out of the question.
  • RB Ryan Nall (Round 22): Nall was my final pick. There’s a chance he redshirts and doesn’t play at all. Or he plays, but only on special teams. Then again, if OSU struggles to run the ball, maybe he gets thrown into the fire because of his bruising style.

And in case if you are wondering about where some other top OSU players were drafted:

  • QB Sean Mannion: Round 1 (Pick 5. Marcus Mariota, Marshall, Brett Hundley, and Taylor Kelly were taken ahead of Mannion.)
  • RB: Storm Woods: Round 6
  • RB: Terron Ward: Round 5
  • RB: Chris Brown: Round 16
  • WR: Richard Mullaney: Round 4
  • WR: Malik Gilmore: Round 15
  • Conner Hamlett: Round 4
  • TE: Kellen Clute: 15
  • Defense: Round 9

What do you think? Which Beavers got drafted too high or low?

Recruit Focus: Angelo Garbutt

All information in this post is courtesy of  BeaverBlitz and Hudl.  Again, I highly recommend both of these sites for the best and latest information on Beaver Football recruiting.

All reviews are just MY OPINION, and need to be taken as such. The coaches know more than me, understand the team’s needs better than I do and most likely differ with my opinions. I am just doing this for fun.

Angelo Garbutt

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 2 Star (5.3)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.5)
HT: 6′ 2″
WT: 210
POS: Outside Linebacker
HOMETOWN: Carrollton, Texas
OTHER OFFERS: Arkansas State, Louisiana Monroe, Navy. North Texas, Texas St.
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 90%

Hudl Profile – Private

Position The Official Candy Report Sees this player at: Outside Linebacker
What Beaver this player reminds us of: Michael Doctor, Derrick Doggett

STRENGTHS
– PATIENT and disciplined
– Good side to side speed
– Tenacious tackler
– Manages blockers well, sheds them as needed but also lets them clog holes
– Great five yard explosion off the line
– Great vision into the backfield
– Great use of hands to keep separation from would be blockers
– Very sure tackler

QUESTIONS
– Not a lot of film of pass coverage
– Like the guys I compared him to, he is a bit undersized and will need to work hard to add some pounds to be an every down linebacker

SUMMARY:
There is a lot to like about Angelo Garbutt. First of all, he was someone that Tret Bray was excited about early in the process.  Secondly, he fits the mold of many of the successful Beaver linebackers of the past.  Derrick Doggett, Michael Doctor, Nick Barnett and Keith Ellison were all slightly undersized when they got to Oregon State, but all had the same speed, vision and tenacity that Garbutt has.

While his film is limited, a few things that stand out about him in the few plays I was able to see were his closing speed, his explosion off the snap of the ball and his patience and discipline. Garbutt goes full speed, but not in the wrong direction or past his target.  More than a few times you see him stop, set up and wait for the ball carrier to come to him.  Rather than fall for the first fake or over commit, he breaks down and attacks the runner through their core.

This is especially good against teams with athletic quarterbacks or that run read option plays.  Coincidentally we run into a few of those in the Pac-12.

All these positive characteristics aside, the fact is there really is not much public footage for Angelo out there and definitely not a ton of him in coverage. So it is hard to say what he is really like play in and play out.  What I can say is that the plays I have seen show a very athletic and slightly undersized player that seems to have a knack for staying with players and making tackles in space.

I also have to hope that Coach Bray knows what he is doing because Garbutt was an early offer in this recruiting cycle, so there is something there Bray likes and we have to hope that translates to solid play on the field.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that when Angelo Garbutt comes to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 2-year starter at Outside Linebackers.  A redshirt year will be very important to help him add a few pounds.  The other side to it is that the Beavers have a lot of youth at linebacker.  While all three potential starters graduate this year, the players behind them will be redshirt sophomores or juniors.  So there will still be a few years before those positions open up for a new face to take over. Unless he is amazing enough to do it!