Oregon State football head coach Gary Andersen has made a couple of roster moves following spring ball that are aimed at improving the depth in a couple of position groups.
Red-shirt freshman Mason Moran has moved from quarterback to safety, after falling to a distant 5th in the quarterback race this spring, behind transfer Jake Luton, and returnees Marcus McMaryion and Darell Garretson, both of whom have starting experience, and Connor Blount.
The move makes sense, as Oregon State is still in full-shuffle mode beyond the 1st string in the secondary, and could lead to Moran eventually seeing the field, something it doesn’t look like might ever happen had he stayed at quarterback. Moran has had moments of looking good in individual drills, and in scout team drills, but every time he has faced a full defense while trying to operate the Oregon State offense, appeared overwhelmed.
Andersen also has stated he wants a 3 deep running back group, and with the graduation of Tim Cook, himself a transfer, and the transfer to the Arizona State track team of Paul Lucas, Oregon State has only Jaylynn Bailey behind their preferred 1-2 punch of Ryan Nall & Artavius Pierce with any experience.
There are 4 walk-ons who might contribute in one or more capacities at some point, and 2 signees in this year’s class, which adds up to 9 backs, a pretty large group for this position. But 1 or more redshirts might be in order, and at the same time, both Nall & Pierce have some history of dings at the highly physical RB spot.
Enter for 1 year Trevorris Johnson. Johnson will graduate from TCU this spring, with 1 year of eligibility left, and enroll for summer term at Oregon State.
Morris, with 237 lbs on his 6’ frame, gives the Beavers a big back option for short yards behind Nall that Cook was, but Pierce really isn’t.
With that size, Johnson wasn’t as good a fit in Ft. Worth after the Horned Frogs went all in with an Air Raid spread system in 2014 to compliment Trevon Boykin than he was when TCU coach Gary Patterson initially recruited him out of Houston. With the arrival of Sonny Dykes, the opportunities for a predominantly between the tackles power runner will only diminish further.
Neither move is a major needle mover, but both seem to make sense for both the players involved and the Beavers.
Hoops Also Adds A Grad Transfer
I’m not so sure about the addition of another graduating senior with a season still to play that basketball coach Wayne Tinkle has welcomed.
It’s nothing personal against Seattle native Seth Berger, who understandably wants to finish his career closer to home, and his parents, especially after the coaching change that came after back to back sub-.500 seasons in the Atlantic-14 10ths.
But using the scholarship that opened up when Malcolm Duvivier decided to take his degree and transfer on a 6’8”, 212 lb. forward who figures to be more of a rotation player and an insurance policy than a starter unless Drew Eubanks really does depart for the NBA doesn’t seem the best use for the far scarcer scholarships available to hoops.
Eubanks and Stephen Thompson Jr. have declared for the NBA draft, but not yet hired an agent, allowing for a return to Oregon State. But while Thompson has indicated he’s likely to return, Eubanks is more seriously exploring moving on soon.
After a 5-27 season, one of Oregon State’s worst ever, and a 1-17 Pac-12 campaign that was followed up by a first round exit from the conference tournament, despite Eubanks excelling most of the time, he took a beating, and it’s understandable that he might not want a repeat of that experience.
Berger will get a look, and probably a lot of Matt Dahlen minutes if Eubanks departs, but otherwise seems likely to sit behind Tres Tinkle a lot.
The Beavers still (desperately) need a point guard, and need some rim-protecting help for Gligorije Rakocevic. And that’s if Eubanks returns. If he doesn’t, there is a desperate need for someone closer to Eubanks’ 6’10”, 250 lb. size. Ben Kone isn’t it, and Berger isn’t either.
Berger’s career a Massachusetts went off the rails a bit 2 years ago, when, after starting the first 8 games of the season, he surrered a season ending injury.
Last year, he appeared in 31 of 33 games for the Minutemen, but only started 7 times. He shot above 50%, which would be helpful, but he only averaged 5.2 points and 3.3 boards.
How exactly Coach Tinkle will work Berger into a turnaround he may need to execute to continue in Corvallis is not apparent.