Monthly Archives: April 2016

When it Rains, it Pours, Right?

Sorry for the cliche, but after today’s news that Derrick Bruce is transferring, is there a better way to describe how OSU hoops fans must be feeling right now? After all, it comes right on the heels of the announcement that Tres Tinkle will need surgery on his injured foot.

Losing Bruce is a huge blow for the Beavers, as he came on strong at the end of last season, In his last four games, he averaged nearly 15 points a game, while hitting 10 of 20 thee-point attempts. It was a pleasant surprise, as in limited minutes earlier in the year, he had displayed great handles and speed, but not much offensively.

And after his 25-point outburst in just 31 minutes against Cal on March 10, in which he showed off a nice mid-range game as well, I began thinking that Bruce’s upside was greater than Stevie Thompson, because of his length and speed. In fact, he was my pick to lead the Beavers in scoring in 2016-17.

But Bruce leaves a bigger void than just his scoring. His departure really hurts the Beavers because it leaves them without a true point guard. His speed and ball-handling skills enables him to break presses, penetrate lanes and dish off, and all that jazz. He was by far the Beavers’ best returning ball-hander and facilitator. Now who is it? Thompson Jr? Malcolm Duvivier?

Those two are going to have to step up, especially early this season while highly-touted freshman JaQuori McLaughlin adapts to D1 basketball. And for Duvivier, Bruce transferring presents him with a great opportunity to put last year’s up-and-down season behind him and shine as a senior. Thompson has good handles, but I’d rather he focus on shooting. However, all bets are off if McLaughlin isn’t able to be a primary ball handler this season.

Here’s my predicted starting lineup now that Bruce is gone (and assuming Tinkle is healthy):

W- Duvivier
W – Thompson
W – McLaughlin
F – Tinkle
C – Drew Eubanks

With the Beavers now having three open scholarships, you have to wonder if Coach Tinkle will use one of them on a point guard. Or if he waits. Speaking of which, recruiting has been quiet of late, which is frustrating because the Beavers could really use an established post player. Especially in wake of fact that incoming PF Ben Kone is recovering from a major injury and may have to redshirt.

Whew, all of this is a lot to swallow right now. Or should I say deflect with an umbrella. But the good news is the Beavers have the coaching and enough talent to keep building on last year’s success. It just might be a little bit of a bumpier road. Here’s hoping Tinkle’s recovery from surgery goes well, as that would go a long ways toward taking some of the damper off this offseason.

Go Beavs! (RW)

What Does Spring Football Tell Us?

As we march through the last week of spring football practice at Oregon State, I am always left with one question:

What did we learn?

This question is the root of spring practices to me, and it has a different feel depending where you are.  While recruiting stole the show at the Nebraska football game, they are left with real questions about the improvements at quarterback and a sudden lack of depth on the defensive line after 3 departures. In Baton Rouge, every report and word spoken about their spring has the underlying question “is it enough to beat Alabama?”  In Los Angeles, all eyes are on the dawn of the Clay Helton era (which seems to be going in a very good direction).  Even just to the south of us, the ducks are dealing with important concerns about their offensive line, their quarterback and their defense in general.

For Oregon State, what most of Beaver Nation wanted to learn was this:

Will we be better.

To that, I can honestly say a resounding ‘YES’.  That doesn’t mean that I think we will see the Beavers go bowling this year (though that would be great!) or that I even see a ton of wins on the schedule.  We will be breaking in a new QB (most likely), some new offensive linemen and all new coordinators when we hit the road to Big Ten territory to take on Minnesota. That is going to be a tough start to the season.  Then throw in a home game against BSU and a really tough back half of our schedule, and OSU has a lot of work ahead of them.

Fortunately, that is for fans to worry about, because what happened in spring football is really about the players.  With a plethora of assumed starters sitting out sections or all of spring football, a lot of younger players got a lot of reps and took their shot at moving up the depth chart.  Many will look at the product in the Spring Game and think “Man, we have no depth on defense or offensive line.”  I would say that with four starters sitting out the game on the line and two sitting out at running back, we are probably better off than appeared in that game.  Regardless of that, this spring time is extremely important because now all of the young players have concrete, quantifiable experience that can guide them on what they need to do.

If a player needs to gain weight and get stronger in their base, they have three months to really work on that. If a player needs to be more familiar with the playbook and calls, summer sessions with their teammates can go a long way to fixing that. If a player needs to work on getting off the line or on blocking at the edge or whatever it may be, they have time to work on on the specific items that spring football revealed to them that they need to address.

When you never get reps, when you never work with the ones or always work on scout team, what you need to work on is a giant net. You have no idea if you are ready to step in when you never get to practice it.  Coaches will demand that everyone be ready, but the reality is, you can never be truly ready without knowing what that entails.  Otherwise, players would struggle far less as freshmen.  Spring football this year has helped a lot of players narrow down their focus on what to work on.  It allows them to improve in the areas of need or to evaluate if the gains working on those items are worth taking time away from what they do very well.

Regardless of what the need was, every time you go live and get film of yourself practicing, you are able to narrow your focus on what is really needed. It is the same anywhere.  I am a Front End Web Developer for a company in Eugene.  I use HTML, CSS and JavaScript every day (which are web technologies).  It might be helpful for me to know other programming languages, but while that is helpful, looking at the range of tasks I will actually do at work, and knowing how my company operates, allows me to narrow down what languages or frameworks I should dive into. I only have so much time, so it is not worth wasting it on something I will never use.

Spring football is not about winning the spring game or even seeing an efficient brand of football at any given practice.  It is about establishing where you are now and where you need to be in three months. I think OSU did that in spades this year, and I really feel like the team is far ahead of where it was last year both physically and in building depth.  This August a bunch of new, young players will come to campus and look to fill out the areas that need depth on the Beaver football team.  This is the opportunity the current players have to make sure that those young players’ role on the team is not ahead of their own.

After this week, we will enter the dark days of sports until August. While it is a stinky time for fans, from what I have seen/heard about this spring, it will be an amazing opportunity for OSU to get better and come out and prove all of us wrong in our expectations of what Beaver Football in 2016 will be like.

Go Beavs (PRO)

Spring Game Thoughts

Sorry for the delay with this post. Then again, you always have to take Spring Ball with a grain of salt, and the Spring Game is no exception. With so many key players sitting out and several potential defensive starters not arriving until fall, it’s important to not too read too much into what you saw Saturday. So, I thought I’d sum up my thoughts by answering the three questions I posed heading into the game about the Beavers.

1. Granted it was against a defense that has many questions, but Darrell Garretson looked solid, completing 21 of 32 passes for 263 yards and three TDs. Most impressive was his willingness to go downfield, something that the offense sorely lacked last season. He showed good touch on his two TDs to Jordan Villamin. That said, I would like to see him pushed into fall camp as well. If the Beavers want to surprise this season, the offense has to be way more consistent. The good news is Garretson looks like he will move the offense down the field with more variety. But again, it will be interesting to see how he fares against stronger defenses.

2. There’s been a lot of concern about the WRs lately, as it can be argued they were inconsistent last year, but there’s no denying that Villamin (4 catches, 108 yards) can be one of the Pac-12’s best if he gets the ball thrown his way. His two receptions were beauties. I also liked what I saw from Hunter Jarmon. I hope him getting looks (5 catches) carries into fall camp and the season because he’s good in space. Early enrollee Trevon Bradford showed some great athleticism and speed. He could be a Stroughter/Ja. Rodgers-type player down the road. But the star of the game was TE Noah Togiai, who hauled in seven balls for 107 yards. He could be the breakout star this season for the offense.

3. There’s still a lot to be settled defense-wise by the start of the season, but Treston DeCoud and Dwayne Williams did nothing on Saturday to make me think they shouldn’t start at the cornerback positions this season. Williams displayed great explosiveness on his 46-yard interception return for TD, Meanwhile, DeCoud broke up several passes. But I think Kendall Hill and Jay Irvine will get plenty of reps this season. Safety, however, could be up for grabs, and don’t forget, two 4-stars will arrive on campus in the fall. So this unit is still a work in progress.

All in all, I think I walked away from the Spring Game thinking that if the line can come together and Garretson adjusts well to Power 5 football, the offense could be markedly improved from a year ago. Maybe fall camp will provide more confirmation of my gut feeling. Of course, you never truly know until the real games are played. And who knows, maybe this week, other players will make a push and we will see them emerge in a few months.

Who stood out to you on Saturday? Go Beavs! (RW)

Will Spring Answer These 3 Questions For OSU?

It’s so hard to have expectations when it comes to Spring Ball. Because in the immortal words of a recently enshrined HOF basketball player:

“We’re sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about practice.”

And truer words have never been spoken. That said, here are five questions that I hope are answered by the end of Spring Ball next week.

Is Garretson the Guy? Did anyone raise an eyebrow when Darrell Garretson was named a team captain prior to Spring Ball and seemingly anointed starter? I thought it was strange considering Marcus McMaryion’s performance in last year’s Civil War. Should’ve helped his case more. But, from what I’ve seen and read, I am not so sure Garretson is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. So I have to wonder if the coaches will really be able to name a starter after Spring Ball, as they hoped to do. It seems to close to call at this point But in an ideal world, it would nice if one of the QBs distanced himself from the pack this Saturday and in the next week.

Are the WRs ready to Step Up?: Yes, you can make an argument that they didn’t have a reliable QB throwing to them most of last season, but any way you slice it, the Beavers WRs struggled last season. But the trio of Jordan Villamin, Victor Bolden, and Hunter Jarmon have the talent. And they will need to be better this season, because there’s youngsters already pushing them such as Trevon Bradford and eventually Seth Collins. Bradford and JUCO transfer Timmy Hernandez have been impressive this spring, and you can bet Andersen won’t hesitate to play them over more tenured players. It’s all about who can make the plays, and more importantly, be consistent. I am hoping the three returning starters will head into fall camp confident and ready to shine.

Who emerges in the secondary? There’s been some turnover, and last year injuries left this group resembling a game of musical chairs. And more recently, Justin Strong transferred. So there’s definitely spots up for grab. But who will end up with them? I’d say the only lock might be one of the corner spots by Treston DeCoud Hopefully, at least another spot will be settled in a few weeks, though. As giddy as I am about the talent arriving in the fall, my expectations are tempered by the fact that the learning curve will be steep no matter if you are a two-star or a four-star player. The good news is that there will be a lot of players to evaluate and choose from.

I have questions about the offensive line and linebackers too, but felt that they would be better asked during fall camp when the incoming freshmen and other JUCOs arrive. What were you hoping to see addressed this spring?

Go Beavs! (RW)

Thanks for the Memories, Beavermobile!

Editor’s Note: This post originally was published on April 7, but was taken down at request of the Taylor family, who wanted more time to notify family members about Richard’s death. We apologize for any confusion that this might have caused. 

Last week, Richard Taylor, AKA Beavermobile, died after a long battle with cancer. He is one of the most beloved Beavers fans ever, having been a fixture at many OSU athletic events and on just about every message board out there, even eDuck. His tales (sometimes tall) are legendary among Beavers and Ducks fans. But beneath that big personality and outlandish sense of humor,  was one of the kindest and most loyal souls you’ll ever find. Richard will be dearly missed, and so we wanted to share how we got to know him and remember him…

Peter:
“My first introduction to Richard was on Pure-Orange.net in 2005.  I was reading some posts before I had any type of courage to post, when I noticed a distinct pattern:

You click on the links provided by Beavermobile at your own risk. 

I saw things to this day that are burned in my brain and haunt my dreams.  Many of them pertaining to the smallest of our people. All of them of which are completely NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

I also remember Richard as the eDuck antagonist, visiting the site to rile it up and toss grenades like a veteran message board troll, leading to countless pages of responses, half of which were desperate pleas not to respond to his posts because it just encouraged him!

Beyond his antics as vibrant Beaver fan and his charismatic personality was a man who cared deeply about his friends, his Beavers, and who made the people around him enjoy the day and their lives a little bit more. Even in a loss, Richard had the words to say that would bring a smile to everyone’s face. Virtually and in person.”

Raju:
“After reading soda-up-the-nose inducing stories about the legendary Beavermobile on Pure Orange during high school, I finally got to meet Richard Taylor in the flesh in spring of 2002 at a PO tailgater. He didn’t disappoint; he quickly imparted his knowledge of hilarious, but suspect vocabulary on this then naive college freshman. It was easy to see why he had been banned numerous times from eDuck.

Richard was one of the most loyal Beaver fans out there. You might not have always agreed with him, or enjoyed his provocative manner, but you always respected him. That said, Richard also was one of the nicest Beaver Believers I’ve ever been around. It’s no surprise that Beaver Nation rallied around him during his illness and has mourned his death tremendously  I can only hope that I become half the fan and person he is…”

The next time we send an off-color message to a co-worker, cheer for the Beavers on a cold and wet November evening, or put a painted yellow toilet seat on the lawn of an annoying duck fan (one that I then utilize for its intended purpose of course), we will think of you.  You are one of the reasons this blog exists. Thanks, man for everything!

We encourage any family and friends to share stories about Richard in the comments section below. Also, to read more stories about the legendary Beavermobile and see some awesome pictures of him, check out the Pure Orange Facebook Page.

Go Beavs (and Go Beavermobile!) (PRO & RW)

Collins’ Return is Good News For Beavs

Big news in Beaver Nation today! Worried about who would emerge as the Beavers’ big playmaker on offense this season? Never fear, a familiar face is back and is a prime candidate to fill that role.

Monday afternoon, Coach Andersen announced that Seth Collins is returning to the Beavers — strictly as a WR (for now…)! And guess what? I love this reunion. There’s no denying that Collins is one of the best athletes OSU has seen — he’s a threat every time he touches the ball.

And while I was never sold on him as a QB, I thought he could become a Slash (Kordell Stewart)-type for the Beavers. He showed off his ability to thrive in such a role in last year’s Civil War, scoring three touchdowns, and nearly making a highlight-reel catch for a TD as well.

But apparently, he was set on playing QB and shortly after the season ended, announced he was transferring to Northern Illinois, even going as far to sign a non-binding financial aid agreement with NIU. Life has a funny way of working out, though.

Collins, who was seen at several OSU practices this spring, had a change of heart, and Andersen and Co. were willing to take him back. Good on both sides to handle their decisions well. I sincerely hope Collins can put the ups and downs of last season behind him and move forward.

Because if he can truly embrace playing WR, the sky’s the limit for him. He’s got the athleticism, speed, and size to be a really good receiver. The biggest challenge for him will be getting routes down and developing his blocking skills. Remember, Collins is just a sophomore. He’s got plenty of time to hone his skills. And for him, staying with OSU in a Power-5 conference is the best move. If he can excel, I think he has a shot at the next level.

In the meantime, Collins provides OSU with a much-needed and proven playmaker. We know he can throw the deep ball, we know he can run very well, and we know he has the skill set to be a good receiver. So it’s exciting to think about Collins in a Slash-type roll for an entire season.

It’s too early to pencil Collins in as a starter since he’ll be playing catch up. But I bet he will push for playing time, and from all accounts, it sounds like OSU’s WR corps could use some healthy competition.

As someone who was critical of Collins last season, I humbly eat some crow and confess that I am excited to have him back as WR. In fact, I’ll go as far to say that Collins could be the difference between a few wins. And if you’ve read my doom and gloom posts, you know that’s saying something… So, welcome back Seth!

Go Beavs! (RW)

Recruiting: How did we do on defense?

In the second installment of my recruiting review, I tackle the defense.  When the Beavers  took the field against the ducks for the Civil War at Autzen Stadium the past November, they had a defense riddled with injuries, walk-ons and players that were not even on the two deep at the start of the season.  Injuries, attrition and fit had taken its toll on the defense, and in a game where a single stop could have been the difference between a win and a loss, the Beavers just didn’t have anything left in the tank. Recruiting for our defense was a huge area of need going into 2016, and this staff delivered in a big way.

Defense:
With last year’s recruiting class bringing 10 defenders in it, the 2016 class needed to be a little unbalanced in favor of the defensive side of the ball.  That was definitely accomplished with 17 players in the class being on the defensive side (we have since learned that Kee Whetzel will be starting out on defense.  Thanks Rivals!).  In a class of 25 players that is a pretty hefty load on a single side of the ball, but it was needed.  Below, I outline the positions and how I felt we did in recruiting on the defensive side of the ball this last year.

Defensive Tackle: 2
David Fangupo
Paisa Savea

When was the last time OSU got 2 defensive tackles in a single class? 2013 we had 3 JC DT’s sign, Delva, Hautau and Peko.  Before that the class of 2008 was the last time we had two Defensive Tackle recruits make it to campus. Fangupo is a big talent (literally at 6’2″ and 320lbs) who is going to be a much needed run stopper up the middle for the Beavers. Savea is another huge body from Snow CC that has produced a lot of talent for the Beavers. I am not going to say that Savea will be a Stephen Paea, but he has the size, strength and motor to be a great player for the Beavers.

Candy Report Grade: A
“Defensive tackles are pure gold in college football.  Everyone covets them and they are, in my opinion, the hardest position to recruit. While I would give this group an A++ if there was a High School prospect (for longevities sake) honestly, Defensive tackle as such a huge need for us and to get two solid JC prospects fills a great need on this team.”

Defensive End: 6
Phillip Napoleon
Isaac Garcia
Hamilcar Rashed
Joah Robinett
Doug Taumoelau
Kenny Turnier

Anyone that watched OSU last year knew that our pass rush needed help.  While the incumbents are working their tails off with Coach Simon to get better, there is no doubt that this was a huge area of need for the Beavers. In my mind, in any given class, you can assume 50% of the people you get at any position will pan out and be starters.  75% will contribute in some way and so on. So while I don’t think we will see us take 6 defensive ends in every class, the odds are that at least 3 will be impact players for the Beavers.  You factor in a player like Phillip Napoleon, who is big enough to slide in and play tackle, a la Michael Bennett for the Seahawks, and you have a pretty great base.

I think that Isaac Garcia is a legit prospect in the vein of Scott Crichton, and Rashed, Turnier and Taumoelau are all big, fast speed ends like Orchard was for Utah.  Joah Robinett is also an interesting prospect just from the standpoint of his size.  At 6’8″ he will be a long frame on the edge that can be a match up nightmare on passing downs.  I can also see him contributing to the field goal defense team.

Candy Report Grade: B
“Again, this class filled the needs there but honestly, outside of Napoleon, I am not sure they have anyone that I think is an instant impact player.  They are going to be asked to be and I think they will be up for the challenge.  This is a very good class in a very important position for the Beavers, I just don’t think we will know how good it is for a few years.”

Line Backer: 4
A. Hughes-Murray
Wesley Payne
Shemar Smith
Shemiah Whitson

Another big area of need, linebacker was one of the groups that was decimated last year.  With the new commitment to the 3-4 and the coaches desire to change the .size, speed and shape of the linebacking crew, this was going to be another area of need.  The transfer of Rommel Mageo makes this four person class even more imperative. One of the bright spots of this class may end up being the one that seemed undersized on paper. Shemar Smith has arrived at spring camp at 230 pounds and physically ready to make an immediate impact.  In fact, this group has a lot of players that will probably be asked to step up sooner rather than later.  I like the size and speed of Hughes-Murray and Whitson while the JC transfer Payne is a strong, hard hitting missle from Pima CC in Arizona.

Candy Report Grade: B
“This class doesn’t have a ton of star appeal, but players like Hughes-Murray and Smith have Pac-12 frames with Pac-12 speed and chips on their shoulders.  As a group, I expect them to offer depth at least and potentially some real stars on the field. I think this team squad will end up being a good one for us, but I am going to take a wait and see on their production.  The B may not seem really high, but for a class that averages less than 5.6 Rivals Ranking, I think I am showing they have far more to offer than Rivals does.”

Defensive Backs: 5
Landry Payne
Emony Robinson
Shurod Thompson
Christian Wallace
Kee Whetzel

This part of the class is a home run.  Two 4* studs in Thompson and Wallace will provide instant help and athleticism to the corner and safety spots while Payne and Robinson are talented players that can cover and tackle well.  Kee Whetzel, who I talked about in the offensive report is actually slated to play defense (according to sources at BeaverBlitz.com) and will be another large, fast and athletic option.  In a conference that can really throw the ball well, being able to rotate often in the backfield is paramount. These five players give OSU that depth not just in numbers but in quality. I would put our secondary class in the top third of the conference for talent.

Candy Report Grade: A+
“Not sure what else they could have done to make this class better. I cannot remember the last time that one group got two 4* players at Oregon State.”

CONCLUSION:
I mentioned last week that this defensive class could be the most important in the last decade for the Beavers.  I honestly believe it is. Right now, to accomplish what Gary Andersen and his staff want to accomplish, Oregon State needs to have a top fourth of the conference defense.  They need to be able to really manage the game and play solid defense in all phases, against a wide variety of offenses. They need to also play defense with their offense, but that is a topic for another day. To me, this defensive class fills the major needs they had.  We will not know how well for a few years, but for now, the foundation is there and in many cases the numbers are.

If you assume that 50% of any position group will succeed and be starters, defensive end, secondary and linebacker all got great boosts where they needed them.  If we want to elevate the size and speed of our defense, out of the box this class accomplishes that. In terms of players that fit the vision of Gary Andersen, I think this class does a great job of reflecting the head guy. Ultimately, this was a great first step for Gary and his staff fulfill their vision of what OSU will look like under them.

For fit, I give this class a A. For completeness and filling the needs they have for the future, I give it an A+.  So my overall offensive grade for this class would be a A, While we should not always take 17 defensive players in a class, if the quality of player we are getting matches this next year, we will not have to wait long to have a stout and feared defense in the conference.

Go Beavs (PRO)!

Orange & Black Bits Part 1

Editor’s Note: From time to time, we will run roundups of OSU-related odds and bits. These posts will contain quick thoughts on news that don’t warrant an entire blog post, or honestly, we don’t know enough about to write.

Women’s Hoops: Losing to UCONN didn’t hurt the Beavers too much in the eyes of the voters — they finished the season ranked No. 2 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches’ Poll! It eclipses the program’s previous high of No. 6 prior to the NCAA Tournament. It’s the exclamation on a fantastic season and a springboard to next year. Also, this can only help in recruiting, hopefully, a lot with a certain prospect from California…

Football: Hey! We beat the Ducks at something finally. Jaydon Grant, son of former Blazers star Brian Grant, flipped from UO to the Beavers on Monday night. He’s a 6-2, 170 pound cornerback out of West Linn. While he’s walking on, if he has the heart, toughness, and determination that his father had, Jaydon will earn a scholarship quickly. He appears to be a good athlete and it must be noted last year was his only year playing high school football.

Baseball: Tough break losing ace Drew Rasmussen for the season, especially in a conference as loaded as the Pac-12. It appears Jake Thompson, Travis Eckert, and Luke Heimlich will make up the Beavers’ rotation. Eckert is coming off a Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week performance against UW during which he struck out a career-high nine batters in five innings. If the offense can step up and take pressure off, I think the Beavers can survive the loss of their ace.

Dam City Showcase: In my previous blog post, I lamented not feeling connected to the OSU football program. Saturday’s event in Hillsboro is a step in the right direction, combining a football scrimmage, BBQ, and OSU baseball game. Here’s all the details. Coach Andersen and several of his assistants are scheduled to speak during the BBQ. This event will also help engage Portland-Metro area fans more, hopefully.

Go Beavs!

Anyone feel Disconnected?

Beaver Nation was spoiled under former coaches Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley — when it came to access. Their open-practice policies allowed fans to watch the Beavers up close and personal just about every day. It was easy to feel connected to the program and even get to know the coaches and players on a certain level.

How many of you spent a sunny afternoon or 10 at Pothro Field taking in a practice back then? If you did, you likely remember the family-like atmosphere. Fans of all ages and backgrounds, from children to college students, enjoying the coaches and players working together on technique, plays, and chemistry.

That kind of access went a long way toward creating excitement around the program, even when it was apparent the season could be a long one. When you feel like a part of something, it helps you whether the highs and lows.

Allowing open practices made the Silver Fox and Riles rarities in their profession, as many coaches close them off to fans and even the media due to wanting to keep a tight lid on things, as well ease their rampant paranoia (OK, I am kind of kidding about that, or am I?). Count current OSU coach Gary Andersen as one of those coaches who closes practices.

It’s Andersen’s program and he can do as he sees fit, of course. And I totally get why he favors closing practices. These days it seems like everything ends up online and out there for everyone to see. And would you put it past the Yucks to implement a spy at open practices? 🙂 But I got to be honest, closed practices at OSU feels weird.

It’s perhaps one of the reasons there seems to be a lack of buzz or whatever you want to call it around OSU football. I can’t see Andersen and Co. opening more than an occasional Saturday practice, so I am curious to see how the program and Beaver Nation build that connection that fostered so much enthusiasm and goodwill in the past. Maybe it won’t ever be the same. Maybe that’s the price to pay for more wins.

And of course, winning solves everything… Go Beavs! (RW)

Recruiting Breakdown: Offensive Linemen

This year is an important year for offensive line recruiting at OSU. We have only 16 scholarship linemen on the roster (19 overall according to the latest roster), and we lose three starters this year and four total, followed by four total and three other players with starting experience the following season. That means we will be down to only 12 offensive linemen and nine with scholarships at that point.

While there are walk ons coming in this year, only getting one lineman in the last recruiting cycle really puts pressure on our staff this year to pull in some Pac-12 quality linemen.  According to Rivals, we currently have 19 offers out to OL, with six currently being committed. While that doesn’t mean anything (as we all know), prying these players from their commitments might be pretty tough as they include Texas Tech, Oklahoma, UCLA (x2) and Wisconsin (x2). Wisconsin is especially tough because they have really closed their borders in the last decade (70% of their state’s top recruits stay home. Six of their current eight commits are from the crushed hand state). Texas Tech doesn’t seem like a world beater, but the player committed there is from Texas, and honestly will probably stay in the are, even if they flip their commitment.

So I will focus on the 13 available.

Foster Sarell
Offensive tackle – 4 STARS (Rivals Ranking: 6.0)
Graham-Kapowsin
Graham, WA
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 315 lbs
Class: 2017

Foster is a huge, huge man and is the highest rated, un-committed offensive lineman that OSU has offered this year. He fits Coach Woods’ style to a T with his size and physicality. He is a mauler and does a good job on the edge. I see him as a Gavin Andrews (pre-injury) type player. He plays a little high and needs to work on his footwork a bit, but he is physically ready to play and play well right away. With Stanton, Hopkins and Harlow all leaving next year, we will need quality OT depth soon.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 10%
Predicted School: Washington


Aaron Banks
Offensive tackle – 4 STARS (RR: 5.9)
El Cerrito
El Cerrito, California
Ht: 6’7″
Wt: 305
Class: 2017

Banks is massive. He just overwhelms players on the snap. Again, some technique stuff that can be ironed out, but he is physically, a dominant player and when he gets going, it is impossible to stop him. El Cerrito is in a strong league too, so he is playing against good players and has excellent coaching. He definitely plays with aggression.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 20%
Predicted School: USC


Alijah Vera-Tucker
Offensive tackle – 4 STARS (RR: 5.9)
Bishop O’Dowd
Oakland, CA
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 270 lbs
Class: 2017

Vera-Tucker is a bit smaller, more athletic blocker. He really gets under guys and has pretty good technique and feet. I would say he has a lot of upside, and is also probably the most schematically polished of the three. He is one of those guys, kind of like Josh Mitchell, that can come in and pick up what OSU is doing rapidly, and then grow into what they need physically. And he doesn’t have to go far. I could see him playing early, but dominating at 290 pounds or more.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 10%
Predicted School: Washington


Chuck Filiaga

Offensive tackle – 4 STARS (RR: 5.9)
Vista Murrieta
Murrietta, CA
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 270 lbs
Class: 2017

I actually like his film the most. He needs to get better explosion with his hips, but he plays really violently and attacks guys. He is way tougher than I am, that is for sure. A great motor and a solid player. He just moved from LA to Texas, and is playing in a pretty good conference in the Lone Star State.Like the other four top guys, I think Coach Woods has his work cut out for him to get Filiago to come to OSU over both Texas and USC.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 5%
Predicted School: Texas


Henry Bainivalu
Offensive tackle – 4 STARS (RR: 5.8)
Skyline
Sammamish, WA
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 277 lbs
Class: 2017

Bainivalu comes from a very pass-friendly offense, that is pretty close to what Mike Riley used to run. While he is an exceptional pass blocker, there are some footwork and leverage issues on run blocking. That being said, he is a huge body that will definitely be a solid player at the next level. I am concerned about the Washington schools, but I think OSU will be in the mix for Henry late in the recruiting process. Of course, now that I have said this he will probably commit to Washington…

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 25%
Predicted School: Washington


Andrew Vorhees
Offensive tackle – 3 STARS (RR: 5.7)
Kingsburg
Kingsburg, CA
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 290 lbs
Class: 2017

Vorhees is a mauler from a run-heavy offense that just goes out there and punches people. I really like what he could bring to Oregon State, and he seems to play with the toughness and attitude that the Beavers are looking for. He is a big guy already and would need to do some technique and foot speed work, but overall, I think he is the best prospect for the Beavers offense in terms of fit and signability. If Stanford offers, I think he takes it, but I am not sure who his leader is. I think he is someone that will listen to Gary Andersen, and if they make him a priority they can get him. As a prototypical tackle, he is exactly what this class needs.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 45%
Predicted School: Oregon State


Popo Aumavae
Offensive tackle – 3 STARS (RR: 5.7)
St. Mary’s
Stockton, CA
Ht: 6’4″
Wt: 300 lbs
Class: 2017

Our first entry onto the All-Name Team is Popo Aumavae. Popo, while not ranked at an elite level, has offers from literally everyone. He has offers from every team in the Pac-12, plus Nebraska and Michigan. While his size is not prototypical for an OT, he is a great DT and OL prospect and actually the best film I saw. He is just a big, tough, violent dude — and when you look at his offers from Nebraska, Michigan and Utah, you are talking about offensive line-intensive teams that want to rough you up in the trenches. Popo fits this bill and while it would be a HUGE win to get him, I don’t see him being a Beaver.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 2%
Predicted School: USC


Matt Sichterman
Offensive tackle – 3 STARS (RR: 5.6)
Kings
King Mills, OH
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 266 lbs
Class: 2017

Sichterman is another player like Popo that has a ton of offers. Also, like Popo, his film is better than some of the 4* players I have seen. His drive on contact and athletic ability is off the charts. He also does a great job on reach blocks and really reminds me a lot of Sean Harlow. Guys that are athletic, aggressive, and know how to play. I would say that he is also a perfect fit for what Oregon State and Coach Woods want to do with our offense. The Beavers are the only West Coast offer for Sichterman, and my gut tells me that the big dogs of Memphis, Nebraska and Wisconsin are going to be too much to pass up, but if we get him, he would be a steal for the Beavers.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 15%
Predicted School: Nebraska


Alex Forsyth
Offensive tackle – 3 STARS (RR: 5.7)
West Linn
West Linn, OR
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 290 lbs

West Linn’s Alex Forsyth is a physical and athletic tackle prospect who is perfect for read option-style attacks. He has great feet and is a powerful and aggressive player. He would be a huge get for the Beavers in two ways, as a standout tackle that the Beavers need, but also as a native Oregonian. Unfortunately, unlike Wisconsin, we are not a one-school state and he already has an offer from the crap sacks in Eugene. Double unfortunately, is I think he is a heavy duck lean. Nothing a Civil War win and a few surprising victories by the Beavers couldn’t fix. Even if he commits early elsewhere, I would hope the coaches would stay in contact because I think they could have his ear for the long haul.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 45%
Predicted School: yellow toilet seat covers


Jaxson Kirkland
Offensive tackle – 3 STARS (RR: 5.5)
Jesuit
Portland, OR
Ht: 6’7″
Wt: 305 lbs
Class: 2017

Kirkland is a prospect who I think is going to see his recruitment blow up. A huge tackle out of Portland, Jaxson is also what I would consider one of those mauler-type players. While his footwork and footspeed need work, he has a lot of the intangibles you look for in a lineman. I think Oregon State has a great shot at him, and I think he would be a great addition to the class. I would really like to see what Coach Simon can do in a year with Kirkland because I think he could be an all-conference-level player with the right coach. You cannot coach size and you cannot coach attitude and Jaxon appears to have both.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 55%
Predicted School: Oregon State


Brock Wellsfry
Offensive Guard – 3 STARS (RR: 5.5)
Hanford
Richland, WA
Ht: 6’6″
Wt: 295 lbs
Class: 2017

Brock is another big, athletic player that I think has a future at the next level. He is a better run blocker than a pass blocker, but he has decent feet and seems like a strong player. Watching him move guys around, he looks like someone that could also be a solid player for the Beavers after a year or two with Coach Simon. I would like to see him get some core work in, because he bends at his waist when he is pass blocking a little too much, but all of that can be corrected. At 6’6″ and 295lbs, Brock has all the physical tools to play any position on the line. While he is listed as a guard, he has the quickness to play outside as well if needed.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 60%
Predicted School: Oregon State


Jalen McKenzie
Offensive Guard – 3 STARS (RR: 5.6)
Clayton Valley Charter
Concord, CA
Ht: 6’5″
Wt: 280 lbs
Class: 2017

McKenzie is a big, big guy. He is very quick for his size and moves really well in space. I was a little shocked at how quickly he gets off the ball on run plays. He also has decent footwork and position on pass plays. Athletically, he is pretty advanced for a sophomore (as was the film above) so I can only imagine that his Junior film will be even better. I think he is a pretty good player and his offer sheet will probably expand as time goes on. He does have an offer from Miami, and is looking for offers from big programs like USC, Tennessee and Florida. I have a feeling that he is destined to go elsewhere and if it came down to Miami and OSU,he would choose Miami. You never know, but I get the feeling he has his sights set on bigger things.

Percent Chance he is a Beaver: 20%
Predicted School: USC