Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Hope & concern: Oregon State
By ESPN.com staff
Every team has hope heading into the offseason. And every team has concerns.
Ergo, we're going to run through the conference and look at the chief matters -- on the up and downside -- for each Pac-12 team.
Biggest reason for hope: If everybody shows up, the Beavers will be OK.
If Oregon State heads to Wisconsin on Sept. 10 with QB Ryan Katz, WR James Rodgers, WR Jordan Bishop, TE Joe Halahuni and RB Jordan Jenkins at 100 percent, it has a chance to win. And to keep winning and to become a factor in the North Division. Rodgers, Bishop and Halahuni would combine with WR Markus Wheaton to give Katz an outstanding array of options in the passing game -- one of the strongest in the conference, in fact. When healthy, Rodgers is one of the nation's best receivers and return men. That's a huge thing for the Beavers. Not to mention Rodgers' return would be uplifting emotionally for the team and in terms of leadership. Assuming that the line improves -- four starters are back from last year's underwhelming crew -- then the offense could thrive with the big-armed Katz taking the lead.
Biggest reason for concern: If everybody doesn't, the Beavers won't be OK. Especially with this defensive line.
All hands on-deck is not very likely, though. While Katz and Jenkins are expected back before fall camp, things have been murky for a while with Rodgers' knee issues. Bishop's ankle injury also shouldn't cause him to miss a game, but Halahuni's shoulder problem may keep him out until mid-September. Losing one guy for a few games is a hit but not an in surmountable obstacle. Losing more than one for a lot of games is a problem for a team that isn't terribly loaded with offensive playmakers. And the Beavers are going to have to score with what might be the Pac-12's most questionable defensive line, one that lost two NFL draft picks -- tackle Stephen Paea and end Gabe Miller -- and yet didn't do very well in 2010.