Category Archives: Recruiting

All posts containing recruiting information.

Oregon State Signing Day Observations

Today was National Letter of Intent day for football, and Oregon State had some successes and some disappointments, which was about as expected.

Most of the expected/hoped for signees had their electronic signatures on file early in the day, which made the day a bit anti-climatic, compared to some recent years, when there were occasionally an out-of-the-blue late addition. That indicated Coach Gary Andersen had the class pretty buttoned up in advance, with adjustments in place for the 9 de-commits Oregon State had.

That 5 of the commits are already in school helps too.

“We got in a whole bunch of big-boy fights for recruits,” Andersen said. “We didn’t win them all, but we won our fair share, which was great to see.”

The lack of surprises also lent itself to the highly orchestrated series of short av clips released over the course of the day that represents how signing day was handled. Gone are the days of allowing investors and interested parties into the festivities, lest someone ask an inconvenient question. Even press participation was by invitation, not application, not that there’s a big push, what with more notable signing day lists forming up and down the freeway from here.

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Recruiting: How did we do on offense?

Recruiting is the lifeblood of every college program and every sport. Coaching is important, but having the athletes to preform the tasks the coaches require is imperative.  For the goals Coach Andersen and his staff  have, it is not good enough to have a very good 22 players that can start both ways, but to have the quality of depth that they can handle the ebbs and flows of your typical season.  For last year’s Civil War, Oregon State only had 57 players available.   That means they had less than a full 3 deep on both sides of the ball.  As we saw in the secondary and on defensive line, as injuries piled up, the options of who to put out there got less and less clear.

Coach Andersen has been very clear on the need for Oregon State to be bigger, faster and stronger than they were the day he stepped on campus, and part of that means getting in players that have those same qualities. So did the Beavers do it?  Is this class a step in the right direction for a team that is trying to put a two win season as far in the rear view mirror as possible?  Lets see:

OFFENSE:
Offensively, Oregon State had fewer needs.  While they will graduate 6 offensive linemen this year, other positions are less dire. Barring early defections for the draft of other reasons, the Beavers will lose the a fore mentioned linemen, 2 Tight Ends, 2 receivers, 1 Running Back and no QB’s. So what did we bring in?

Offensive Line: 1
Gus Lavaka

Over the next two years we lose 9 linemen. Next year will be a big year for recruiting them.  This year landing Gus Lavaka was a great get.  He is huge (6’4, 330lbs) and is returning from his Mission after signing his LOI to Hawaii in 2012.  A true offensive tackle, GUs will be a good player for the Beavers.

Candy Report Grade: C+
“I give this a C+ because I wanted two linemen in this class, but Gus is a solid talent who should be a good player for us over the next four or five years.”

Wide Receiver: 4
Kee Whetzel
Tyson Penn
Trevon Bradford
Timmy Hernandez

While we only lose two receivers this year, after 2017 we will lose 5 more. At least. So this was a position of need for sure.  Penn is a  huge target (6’5″ 195lbs)from perennial powerhouse Bellevue High School (Bellvue, WA) who was vastly under-recruited for as talented as he is.  Bradford is another solid player in the mold of Sammie Stroughter, who hails from Oregon City, OR.  JC Transfer Timmy Hernandez was being recruited as a defensive back from most schools, but the Beavers like the 6’1″ 195lb receiver from Pima Community College in Arizona. Kee Whetzel was a zero hour commitment from Florida who is another big target (6’3″ 184lbs) for the Beaver passers.

Candy Report Grade: B
“This is a position of need, and while they signed a few guys that I think are underrated, there is no big splash signing either.  And Hernandez will have a smaller impact numbers wise because he is a transfer.  Good class that will surprise people. “

Quarterback: 1
Mason Moran

Since Coach Andersen got to Corvallis, this position needed the biggest overhaul. Not that the players we had were not good, but they were pro style QB’s brought in to throw the ball in the pocket.  With the defection of Luke Del Rio, Kyle Kempt, Tanner Sanders, Nick Mitchell and recently Seth Collins (and the transition of Brent VanderVeen to Tight End), OSU now has just three QB’s on their whole team.  That includes current pick Mason Moran. So for me, that is kind of a tough spot to be in.  Not only that, the three you have: Garrettson, McMaryion and Moran are all quite different from each other.

Candy Report Grade: C+
“I think Mason is a steal and a great find, but I think they needed more QB’s than this. Last year, we used all three QB’s on the roster.  The year before Utah State used four, including Garrettson. I think the coaches got a great one in Moran, but missed on not taking a second QB. “

Running Backs: 2
Artavis Pierce
Kyle White

With the graduation of Storm Woods and Shane Wallen, the Beavers had a moderate need for running back. Senior Chris Brown, Sophomore Ryan Nall, Junior Damien Haskins and Sophomore Deltron Sands all saw action last year at running back. As did receiver Paul Lucas.  So with four or five players getting time last year, and a class break down that has the Beavers losing no more than 1 running back a year, the need was not great.

Fortunately, the coaches were able to keep the Florida pipeline alive by getting another running back from Auburndale, FL in Artavis Pierce.  Artavis is a quick runner and someone that can make an impact running inside or outside or getting the ball in space.  In addition, they added JC transfer Kyle White. The Orange Coast C.C. running back is a big body (6′ 200lbs) that can be used in a lot of different situations.

Candy Report Grade: B+
“While this position was not a huge area of need, this class not only adds some depth and talent, but also keeps alive key recruiting areas that will pay off down the road.  In the grand scheme of recruiting, this was probably the best job of recruiting by the offensive coaches because of the combination of talent, need and regional influence.”

Tight End: 1
Riley Sharp

Next year, the Beavers will say goodbye to standout Tight End Caleb Smith and former QB Brent VanderVeen.  With Ryan Nall moving to Running Back, that really only leaves Tuli Wily-Matagi, Noah Togiai and DaJuan Gant to play next to Riley Sharp. So again, I think that the coaches may have wanted two players here.  Especially since Sharp (6’5″ 215lbs), a superb athlete with great hands, will need to bulk up quite a bit to be an effective tight end for the Beavers.  I like Sharp a lot, but feel like we are again forcing next year to be a big tight end recruiting year for the Beavers.

Candy Report Grade: C+
“Sharp is underrated just because of his hands. If he can add 30 pounds he could be a beast for the Beavers by his Junior year.  Unfortunately, when he is a junior, he will be one of two TE on the team, so it really puts pressure on the coaches to add some quality bodies in the next two years.  Especially if they want to run double tight formations.”

CONCLUSION:
When you see the grades, you might think I am down on this class.  I most definitely am not.  I think the players they got are very high quality. I think Kee Whetzel would be a high 3* if he was in Oregon or Washington, but coming from Florida he gets lost in the shuffle. I think Moran is a legit Pac-12 starter from an amazing program and I think that we are going to be shocked by what Gus Lavaka brings.  I really think that the coaches did super well recruiting receiver, but I think they set themselves up to be under a lot of offensive pressure next year in recruiting.  They will need to sign two tight ends, two quarterbacks and four offensive linemen (or more).  Which seems doable, but it means that we are going to see saw offensive classes and defensive classes.   I prefer balance across the board, but that is just me.

For fit, I give this class a B+. For completeness and filling the needs they have for the future, I give it a D.  So my overall offensive grade for this class would be a C, which is pretty good when you consider the coaches felt the need to fill defensive needs so strongly that they recruited 2x as many defenders and offensive players. The ceiling for this class was never going to be an A because even filled with 4* players, the numbers were still going to be concerning. I like the guys we got and I think we will have some house hold names come from this group of players that signed their Letters of Intent to play for the Beavers.

Go Beavs (PRO)!

Recruit Focus: Jacob Capra

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.

Jacob Capra

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 3 star (5.6)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING: 4
 Star (5.8)
HT: 6-5
WT: 270
POS: Offensive Guard
HOMETOWN: Auburn, California
OTHER OFFERS: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Kansas, Nevada, ducks, San Jose State, UCLA, Utah, Washington, Washington State
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 25%

Hudl Profile

Position The Official Candy Report Sees this player at: Offensive Guard
What Beaver this player reminds us of: Andy Levitre

STRENGTHS
– Super athletic with frame to add some solid weight
– Very physical player
– Great techinique, locks on with hands and assaults with his helmet
– Amazing leg drive
– Strong upper body with aggressive and strong hands
– Great at finishing blocks
– Fast enough for pulling and blocking at second level
– Solid reach blocking and is athletic enough to catch up with his feet on blocks
– Aggressive or ‘Nasty’ streak, plays physically through the whistle

QUESTIONS
– Can OSU sign him?
– Little pass blocking film

SUMMARY:
Despite being an offensive lineman (i.e. my wheelhouse), I avoided doing a focus on Capra because, honestly, I thought OSU had no shot at him.  Despite his rather modest Rivals 3-star ranking, Capra is an elite lineman who will go wherever he wants.  Already having offers from 10 Big 5 Schools, Capra is going to be a cornerstone athlete in any class he joins.

Just a few minutes of watching his Junior Highlights, you can see why.  Simply put, he dominates his opponents.  I don’t know about his level of competition, but you cannot deny his violence at the point of attack, how he blocks through the defender and how he gets them on the ground, usually on their backs or in a crumpled heap.  At 6’5″ he has the frame to comfortably hold 300 pounds while not losing his speed and ability to get to the second level.  In the new read option scheme OSU will employ, he is the perfect guard because he is either going to pull or drive his defender into the linebackers on a double team.

Watching Jacob, you can see solid training and coaching.  He is making contact with his hands, driving his hips and his head into the defender and working to get them on their heels and then on their backs.  There are countless plays where he makes contact and there is a stalemate, but then with his size and strength he gets their shoulders up and back or just down and they end up on the ground. I note his hand strength, not because I have seen him do hand exercises at the hand strength olympics, but because he gets movement on defenders after contact.  Meaning post punch.  That tends to indicate strong hands and forearms as well as general power.  He is similar to a Mantis Shrimp in that way.

His film is eerily similar to Fred Ulu-Perry in terms of physicality and domination, a solid 2015 recruit who OSU coveted.  Fred went to UCLA unfortunately, but hopefully this new staff and new offensive line coach TJ Woods can make an impact.  While he may end up more akin to Gavin Andrews in terms of size and aggression, I compared him to Levitre because of his technique and his potential to be even better than anyone expects.  I rarely gush like this over a recruit, but Capra recently visited OSU and thus I think our shots are a smidge better. If he is still talking about us in September and October, I will be doing a dance of joy. Capra is my number one offensive lineman this recruiting cycle, and there are some good ones out there.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that should Jacob Capra come to OSU he has the potential to be a 3-4 year starter.  I think he will redshirt as he is right around 270, but I would not be shocked if he jumped up another then or so pounds and was fighting for a starting spot day one.  Like Sean Harlow he has the tools and the ability to, and with Andrews and Mitchell graduating after this year, there might be a spot for him.

Recruit Focus: Jordan Wilson

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.

Jordan Wilson

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 3 star (5.5)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.7)
HT: 6-5
WT: 215
POS: Tight end/defensive end
HOMETOWN: Nashville, Tennessee
OTHER OFFERS: Arkansas State, Florida Atlantic, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State, NC State, Ohio, Western Kentucky
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 35%

Hudl Profile

Position The Official Candy Report Sees this player at: Defensive end
What Beaver this player reminds us of: Obum Gwatcham

STRENGTHS
– Huge, athletic frame
– Very physical player
– Deceptive speed
– Great use of hands
– Strong upper body

QUESTIONS
– No film at projected position
– Pretty light for his height

SUMMARY:
It is not often that the state of Tennessee gets much interest from Oregon State, but Montgomery Bell Academy athlete Jordan Wilson might be too good to pass up. Listed as an athlete, most of his film is of him playing tight end. That being said, the similarities to former Beaver Obum Gwatcham are pretty evident. Physically, he is a huge man, who plays stronger and  with a ferocity that belies his 215 pounds.

While his highlight film is short and has no defensive footage, I can only assume that there was more to the films that Coach Andersen and his staff saw. That being said, if you want to see a good example of why we should be excited about Jordan, watch his junior highlight film at the 0:38 second mark. As soon as he gets the ball, he takes off down field. While he may not look like he is running fast, his long stride eats up yards in a hurry. He is probably not a great 40-yard dash runner, but when he is going, I can see him being able to track down runners and quarterbacks pretty well.

He also has a huge wing span, so getting his hands up in passing lanes, getting separation, and getting leverage should be solid weapons for him. The other side is that he is a physical player. Reviewing that highlight video, or his mid-season highlights, show a solid blocker who gets after players and uses his natural gifts to take advantage of opponents.

The last thing I will say is while Tennessee doesn’t get the same press as Florida or Texas for talent, it is a talent-rich state. Montgomery Bell Academy is one of the better schools in the state, and is in the top division. So these highlights we are seeing are against some of the better teams in the the state. I think that converting Jordan to defensive end is the right thing to do, but I would not expect him to be on the two-deep the day he steps foot on campus. His star ranking will probably reflect this. That being said, I am fairly confident that should Wilson come to Oregon State, before he leaves, we will all be pretty stoked he was a Beaver. His potential is off the charts and you just don’t pass on athletic, 6-5 players who are productive at the top level of a talent-rich state.

I predict other schools will see the same things — and I expect his recruitment to blow up. I am not hopeful that OSU lands him, but it would be amazing if they did. A great school and state to get inroads in for our program. Wilson will have plenty of suitors so the Beaver coaches have their work cut out for them.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that should Jordan Wilson come to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 3-year starter at defensive end. A redshirt year will be very important to help him add a few pounds, get stronger and more explosive, and learn the position. My guess is that he could come in, make some noise on scout team early, and then all the sudden his redshirt freshman year be that guy you hear about in practice all the time. From what I have heard, he would come prepared to work for sure.

Recruit Focus: Jadarius Byrd

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.

Jadarius Byrd

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 2 Star (5.2)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.5)
HT: 5′ 10″
WT: 170
POS: Cornerback
HOMETOWN: Jacksonville, Florida
OTHER OFFERS: Charlotte, Marshall, Maryland
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 80%

Hudl Profile – Private

Position The Official Candy Report Sees this player at: Cornerback
What Beaver this player reminds us of: Dennis Weathersby

STRENGTHS
– Jumping Ability is amazing
– Aggressive at the line of scrimmage
– Great instincts
– Very quick feet and hips
– Smooth coming out of breaks
– Great body control in the air and amazing hands
– Aggressive tackler and on special teams
– Plays with swagger
– Silly, Nintendo number of interceptions

QUESTIONS
– Smaller frame
– Can’t really tell what his speed is like on the film
– Not a lot of film on his hand work fighting for balls
– Not a lot of film of him breaking through blocks

SUMMARY:
It is always surprising around these parts when OSU gets a February commit.  While he has extensive ties with OSU (his cousin and best friend were part of their last class) Florida is still 3000 miles away and there is a lot of time between now and then.

With the Beavers new defensive philosophy, there is a premium on defensive backs.  Getting one that can create mismatches with his jumping ability and that has a knack for interceptions (double digit picks last year) is never a bad thing either.  Jadarius is not a huge player, but he plays big and he plays sound.  In his Hudl highlight film, you can see Byrd keeping position, running step for step with the receivers and managing to get his body in the way, often coming up with a big break up or interception. While it is hard to gauge a player solely on his highlight reel, you do see enough examples of a player that probably knows what the route is going to be before the ball is snapped and does a good job of preventing it.

The second play on the film is a good example.  Byrd gets a good hit at the line of scrimmage and forces the route outside.  Being close to the goal line (around the 22 yard line) he knows that this is a one on one play and most likely a fade.  After his punch, his feet are fast enough to burst into position on the inside hip of the receiver and he stays with him step for step, ultimately picking the ball off and preventing any points from being scored. This play was a great example of the three elements of a solid player: Mental, Physical and Technique.  He most likely knew the route and the play, he knew where he needed to be, was physically capable of staying with the receiver and used great technique in his punch, his recovery, his position and finishing the play.

These are the kinds of players any team wants.  While there are still a lot of great players out there, many that are bigger and faster than Jadarius, seeing someone that has a pretty dang complete game, looks well coached, has some physical advantages (jumping, quickness) and plays tough (looks for people to blow up on special teams, solid and smart tackling technique on the edges) is someone you cannot pass up.  He has great closing speed when the ball is in the air, has a good burst when needed to make a play and doesn’t appear to get burned a lot, so he is coming back to the ball a lot (giving him some of those pic opportunities.

There is not a lot of film of him fighting for balls or fighting off blocks, so of course those are questions.  Whether he is proficient at that or not is still up in the air.

His cousin Jay Irvine and best friend Taylor Thomas were recently signed to the 2015 Beaver class, so that gives OSU an edge and a strong connection with Jadarius. It also keeps the Beavers in the minds of players from Jacksonville.   The only reason I don’t have his chance of being a Beaver higher is just because there is a ton of time between now and when he signs.

There will be many that want to see a huge upgrade in fanfare and stars with the change from Mike Riley to Gary Andersen, and coach really wants the best players possible for sure. Those people may be a little underwhelmed by Byrd and that is a shame.  I compare him with former Beaver Dennis Weathersby.  He is not as big as Dennis was, but Dennis was fearless and was always in the right place.  Byrd is of that mold and I think many in Beaver Nation will be shocked with how good he really is.  He is from a good school in a good conference in Jacksonville so he has played against some Division 1 talent.  I think this is a very good pickup for the Beavers at a position where we are going to see a spike in numbers.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that when Jadarius Byrd comes to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 2-year starter at Corner/Nickle.  A redshirt year will be very important to help him add a few pounds and work on his speed and strength.  The tough deal for me in predicting guys like this is that he seems to be a high motor, intelligent player.  You never know when you are looking at the next Jordan Poyer or someone like that who comes to camp and blows people away.  I can see Byrd being that way, but right now I think he will maybe get in some plays in some packages as a Sophomore but really be part of the flow at corner or nickle as a Junior.

Favorite Thing About 2015 Class

There’s a lot to like about OSU’s 2015 recruiting class. The Florida pipeline, Paul Lucas, etc. Considering Gary Andersen and Co. barely had a month to recruit and put together a class, they did an outstanding job. And what stood out to me was that the majority of the players who signed are more physically along than a lot of OSU’s recent classes.

One of my biggest criticisms of OSU’s approach to recruiting dating back to the Erickson days is that it often relied on  undersized players needing to put on a lot of weight. This was especially true of offensive and defensive linemen.

The problem was that even after a redshirt year, many of these players still were under undersized. So sometimes, it was a two to three year wait for them to be ready. And usually, it came at a cost of losing some of their athleticism and speed. Even worse, some players never gained enough weight to be be as effective as they needed to be at their positions.

As a result it was hard to build depth when you were counting on something as unpredictable as putting on weight. Let’s face it, all of us know how hard it is to gain or lose weight. Some people, no matter how much they eat or work out, just aren’t able to make significant changes.

And programs like Oregon State can’t afford to play that waiting game, or have recruits not pan out because of that. That’s why I was stoked at some of the weights of this year’s recruits. Many of them don’t need to put on a lot of weight. Of course, they need to physically adapt to the college level. But at least they won’t have to worry too much about gaining pounds.

Here’s five examples of players that weight-wise are pretty ready (All heights/weights courtesy of BeaverBlitz.com):

  • Elu Aydon (DT): 6-3, 310
  • Treston DcCoud (DB): 6-3, 205
  • Christian Folau (LB) 6-1, 245
  • Simi Moala (DE) 6-7, 240
  • Taylor Thomas (RB): 5-8, 180

It’s encouraging to see, and I can only imagine what the 2016 class will look like. While there will always be players who need to put on weight, the less you have to worry about, the better. After all, the more you can bring in players who are ready to play, the more competition there is — and that’s always a good thing.

Go Beavers! (RW)

Recruit Focus: Taylor Thomas

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 Beavers 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.

Taylor Thomas

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 3 Star (5.5)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.6)
HT: 5′ 8″
WT: 180 pounds
40-Time: 4.48
POS: Running back
HOMETOWN: Jacksonville, FL
OTHER OFFERS: Boise State, Boston College, Indiana, Maryland. Memphis, Middle Tenn State, Troy, UCF, Utah, and Wake Forrest
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 99%

Hudl Profile – Private

Position The Official Candy Report sees this Player at: Running back
What Beaver this player reminds us of: JJ Young

STRENGTHS
– Fast. Fast. Fast.
– Great vision and explodes through the hole
– Constantly drives feet on contact, fights through tackles
– Runs so much stronger than you would expect from a 5’8″ speedster
– Great moves in traffic
– Follows blocks well
– Turns on a dime and sets up blocks with his moves.
– Constant motor and plays kind of mean
– Has a great stiff arm and uses it well to push himself in a new direction, away from tacklers.

QUESTIONS
– Not a lot of film of pass blocking
– Not a lot of receptions in highlights
– Does do a lot of dancing to get extra yards, which could hurt him at Division 1 level if he tries to dance too much behind the line.
– Played with an exceptional line (four Division 1 commitments, 1 Power-5 conference commitment)

SUMMARY:
When you think about great backs in the Pac-12, you think of a lot of great Beavers players such as Steven Jackson and Quizz Rodgers. You also have the freaks such as Reggie Bush and Ka’Deem Carey, or the slew of great runners out of the Eugene and Westwood. For me, the guy that Taylor Thomas reminds me most of is a guy that is suiting up this Sunday. He is a spitting image of Marshawn Lynch. The former Cal player runs with a style that looks like he is trying to shake his lags free of his body while also punching on a speed bag. Arms and legs flying everywhere, making him so hard to tackle. While Lynch is not known as a speedster, he is fast enough.

I see a lot of that in Thomas. He takes on tacklers, drags guys fights, claws for extra yards, and never seems to slow down until he is on the ground. There also is the instant commitment to a path and the ability to change directions quickly with either an amazing pause and go move or a stiff arm that just redirects Thomas as much as anything.

The differences are that I think Thomas has legit speed. He may not be Brandin Cooks (yet), but he is easily in the upper 4.4-second 40-yard dash range, and when you watch him run at 5’8,” he is rarely taking more than 2.5 steps per five yards. That is a good indicator of relative speed. He also plays in Florida in a solid league known for its speed, so many of those guys he is playing against are elite speedsters.

The other part of Thomas’ game that I really like is that he has very good vision, or at least appears to. If you look at how he sets up blocking, making a move to freeze the defender so that blockers can reach them or taking a path that looks a little weird because it sets up a great cutback opportunity. Thomas seems to be a pretty solid runner in all phases, in terms of making people miss, running through tackles, and breaking away for big gains. While sometimes I think he will get caught dancing a bit in the Pac-12, usually that happens in space, after already running for a sizable gain.

As a junior, Thomas averaged 13.2 yards per carry. That is a good indicator of someone that doesn’t take a lot of loss yardage and hits the hole hard. I also noted that his class of linemen is pretty dang good, with one commitment to Florida, and four others committed to Division 1 schools. So it is not like he had a shortage of holes to run through. While the competition he played against was stiff, his team was no slouch either.  With the new scheme at OSU, I can see him having the opportunity to be a huge asset for OSU, and I think the coaches will find ways to get him the ball where he can use his speed, elusiveness, power, and vision to help the Beavers score some points.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that when Taylor Thomas comes to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 3-year starter at running back. A redshirt year will be very important to help him add a few pounds and work on his already impressive physical tools. While the Beavers have some talent at running back with Chris Brown, Storm Woods and Damian Haskins, that is not a super deep group, so his redshirt status might be in question — especially with Ryan Nall moving to H Back and Harris Ross not qualifying yet. After this year, you will have Brown, Haskins, and Thomas, so I think he will get quite a few reps at running back and if he is as fast and quick as he looks, he might move up the ladder for playing time quickly. Plus, one injury, and I am not even sure he redshirts.

Sometimes you just have to flush one.

Saturday I got home in time to watch the game, only to find out that our power was out. No game, no DVR of game, no dice. Fortunately I had my smart phone with me and was able to get the game via an ESPN app. Unfortunately, I had about 18% charge on my phone, and again, no way to charge it.

Now many a fan would hit the road and find a bar or another place to watch the game. They would not have my daughters, nor the fortune of finally getting one of them asleep, so I was landlocked.

Normally, this would make me feel miserable, but within the 18% charge of my phone, i was able to watch about a quarter and a half, and that was about enough.

While the sound of broken bandwagon ankles is almost as deafening as the “I Told You So’s” who have ever disliked Riley, Mannion, Banker, Read, this version of this team or whatever myriad of things to be tired of with this team, I have one thought.

Flush it. Not the program, not the coaches, not the players, but the game. Sometimes, you have a game so bad that there is no reason to spend a lot of time on it because it only represents a bad game. Now, this year we have had two flushers. USC and Stanford. Colorado and Utah were good games with great effort spoiled by a few mistakes. This game was one of those where it looked like OSU prepared for the wrong team. Stanford is not as good on offense as we mad them look and honestly not as good on defense as we made them look. There were a lot of missed opportunities and a lot to be upset about.

But I am not ready to give up on a great QB or a good defense. Two flushers is two too many, but the season is not ending because we had a crapper of a game. There are five more and OSU better find some answers or some answers will be found for them. It is that simple, so I am going to suit up in my stupid shirts and jerseys all week, take the truck load of grief the duck faithful I work with will heap on me and hope for the best.

But after I write the Candy Report this week, I will give this last game zero thought because it is not worth it. I recommend the players do the same. Just like a DB turns their back on getting burned and lines up to try and get the stop again, the Beavers as a team need to turn the page on this and move on.

The coaches on the other hand, need to figure it out because they are going to see a whole lot of that the rest of the season. Outside of WSU, every team they play from here on out will run a hurry up spread offense so they better find a way to get pressure, to contain the perimeter and how to not lose receivers in the middle so that they are wide open. On offense we need to make sure we work to get first downs until they turn into touchdowns, not try and get touchdowns ever play. 3rd and 1 is a perfect time to work for just a first down.

Rough game and like the unmentionable disaster last year against the suck faces from Montlake or like John Canzano on Pure-Orange this game needs to never be mentioned. Unless it happens again next week. Then serious conversations need to be had, because this team and this school can be a contender and the current methods are not working for that. It can still be a decent year, but I am not sure I can see a championship from this regime until we go through a season with zero flushers.

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!

Beaver Football Starts Today! The Official Candy Report Tags Along

So, today is the first day of fall camp.  We at The Official Candy Report can almost feel the giant exhale by college sports fans, and causal sports fans who are tired of baseball, around the globe. This kickoff means two things:

1. Speculation, speculation speculation!

2. The Official Candy Report’s weekly Candy Reports start now!

Every Tuesday after a game, we will bring you a recap of the events the week before, in a unique and slightly irreverent tone meant to entertain and give praise where praise is deserved and udder disdain where it is needed.  Usually 37 miles south of Reser, but I digress.

As the 2014 Campaign begins, I want to spend a few moments showing us what to be excited about and what to be less than excited about.

THE GOOD:
Sean Mannion:
Lets be realistic here for a second. We can have angst over this and that and worry about the running game or the line or the defense or whatever, but this year there is something that we have NEVER had.

We as Beaver fans will be cheering for a future NFL starter at Quarterback.  We have had the opportunity to cheer for some very good signal callers, and guys that have made a career in the NFL.  We have even had the privileged of watching a quarterback from Oregon State play in the NFL Pro Bowl.

What we haven’t had is a Quarterback that will not only rewrite all of the Pac 12 record books, but will also be a first or second round pick in the NFL. Think about that. While we may have worries on this team, we are going to have the closest thing to Tom Brady we have ever seen running the show.  Sean Mannion is the complete package and while we might worry about the pieces around him, if anyone is going to get the most out of those pieces, it will be Sean.

The Defensive Line:
This is an embarrassment of riches. While i try my best not to talk poorly about Beaver players, last year, the defensive tackles worked their butts off but were fighting an uphill battle all year. Once Braun went down, it was even harder.  This year, there is not only a huge difference in size (6 players who are 295+) but there is a huge difference in experience.  Hautau and Delva both played a lot last year, as did Tago and Bennett-Jackson.  Grimble is new, but he did play in Miami and has experience at big time football.  At defensive end, you have not only a ton of starts and talent in Dylan Wynn, but Jaswha James got some quality play late in the season last year.  Failauga and Robins both have been in the program a while and there is a slew of talented new guys that are looking to make an impact.  Ultimately, the Beavers have so much more talent. size and experience this year to draw from, I really can’t imagine wanting to play against them.

I picture having Grimble come out and then you have to get punched in the face by Tago for a while, then Dylan Wynn comes in and makes you feel bad about yourself while Hautau then forces you to burn a ton of energy trying to move him out of the way.  Or Delva comes in and moves so much faster than you expect from someone that size or Grimble comes back and wreaks havoc on you world.  It is not going to go great for teams and OSU will finally be able to just reload on the line and dominate the interior.  Which means that bevy of experienced linebackers are going to be free to run around and make plays.

This is a good thing.

THE MAYBE NOT AS GOOD BUT THE JURY IS STILL OUT
Offensive Line:
There is a lot to be skeptical about here.  With Isaac Seumalo and Grant Bays missing the beginning of practice, and a fierce struggle at left tackle brewing, you go from potentially having a very experienced and talented offensive line to potentially having to pull in two newbies to the fold.  The good part is that there is a lot of talent to draw from.  An offensive line of Andrews, Mitchell, Bays, Harlow and Stanton/Keenan/Hopkins is definitely good enough to win the first three games and maybe more.  Andrews, Mitchell, Bays and Harlow are all experienced and talented enough to make NFL squads.  So it is not like the world is ending. Or if that doesn’t work out, you can have Andrews, Mitchell, Bays, Sapolu, Harlow.  Or Andrews, Mitchell, Sapolu, Lauina/Weinriech, Harlow.  Or Andrews, Mitchell, Bays, Harlow, Stanton/Keenan/Hopkins. Or… you get the idea.

IF at some point, the line can be some combination of Seumalo, Harlow, Andrews, Bays and Mitchell, we will see as good of a line as we have seen in years.  Maybe since 2007.  So there is reason for optimism.  The reason for pessimism, is the fact that we have a host of options, but none of them are set, which means guys are going to be splitting reps instead of five guys getting the most all the time.  It also means that no one has stepped up and proved to the coaches that they are ready and are one of the top five.  You get any five guys to do that and things will solidify.  I would love for Isaac and Bays to get healthy early and be ready to go.  My gut tells me that we won’t see Isaac until the SDSU game at the earliest.  Bays is already practicing so he should be good to go.

Regardless, unlike the quarterback and defensive line, there are questions so as long as those are not answered, this is an area of concern.

 Coaching:
A lot of people would not put this in there, but I think there is legitimate questions about coaching. First, on the defensive side, OSU went from an inspired defense in 2012 to a unit that had special moments (Stanford) and less than special moments (other games which I will not mention right now).  Much of those could be attributed to injuries at linebacker and on the defensive line  Of course there were also head scratching scheme issues in many of the unmentionable losses, and probably the wins as well.  Now I am not a hater of our coaches, but I am concerned of their bi-polar identity.

They have done a great job against teams like Stanford, but that is a style of offense they have been defending for over a decade.  And in modern times, there really is only one Stanford.  They do a bit less well against teams that have athletic quarterbacks and run misdirection plays.  Now not many teams do well, but the aggressive style of play that the Beavers employ can lead to players over-running the ball carrier.  Now some of the years that the Beavers have done the best against these types of offenses have seen them with dominant defensive tackles. My hope is that if the tackles are a strength this year, that we will see them be a little bit better against what the layman calls “spread offenses”.

The other part of coaching that I am worried about is that OSU is breaking in a new Offensive Coordinator. Now I have seen Coach Garrett in practice and he is a breath of fresh air. I think he brings a ton in terms of excitement, attention to detail and upgrades in techniques like ball carrying and tackling. The issue is that we have no idea what kind of game plan developer he will be.  We have no idea how much input he will have in the offense or if he will even be able to call plays in the near future.

I read a lot about what people hope or assume Garrett will bring. Better game clock management, more interesting run game, better reads by the QB, up tempo offense, better use of time outs and a better handle on what is working. That is what fans want. If I could pinpoint the biggest complaints about the current Riley era of football they would be:

  • Clock Management
  • Predictable play calling
  • Old School run game

We want to think that Garrett will solve these supposed slights.  We want to, by proxy, put those terrible attributes on Danny Langsdorf or his lack of influence on Mike Riley or Mike himself.  And maybe John will be the silver bullet we want. Maybe that is what Riley needed and he knows it and that is why he hired Garrett.  The issue is that we don’t know. We don’t know what he will be like, what he will do week from week and how he can improve the team.

So I think coaching is a huge question this year. If Banker and crew are able to make the adjustments they need to and use the experience and talent they have well, we could have an amazing year, much like 2012.  If Garrett is the panacea for the details that have haunted the Beavers the last few years and can keep the team from silly mistakes and losing focus a few weeks a year, then the sky is the limit for 2014.  If they are not able to rise above what has happened before, to improve on what is, quite frankly, a solid base and shore up a few common errors that has cost the Beavers 2 or so wins a year over the past ten years, then once again we will be left with what might have been and not what was.

2013 was a better team than their record indicated.  They were about five minutes away from being a ten win team, so the amount of change needed is minimal. I just have no idea if we are going to see those changes, so coaching gets a question mark.

TLTR:

  • Season starts today
  • The Official Candy Report will come out every Tuesday
  • Quarterback and defensive line will be strengths this year
  • Offensive line and coaching are question marks
  • Go Beavs.