Friday, May 4, 2012
Under the radar: Oregon State
By Kevin Gemmell
We're continuing with our under the radar series.
The idea is to pick out a player who is not a big name, but who may be underrated. Or, at least, a guy who will need to step up and play a critical role in 2012.
We're going in reverse alphabetical order.
Oregon State: WR Obum Gwacham
2011 production: Appeared in 12 games and caught eight balls for 147 yards and no touchdowns.
Making the case for Gwacham: It's the kind of name that gets broadcasters tongue-tied. But they better practice, because they might be saying it a lot more. Head coach Mike Riley moved Gwacham into the slot during spring to better utilize his 6-5, 225-pound frame. With a ton of speed on the outside with Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks, cornerbacks and safeties are going to have their hands full. That means there should be plenty of looks for Gwacham to exploit linebackers and backed-off safeties on slants and dig routes. He has the speed to play outside -- and is Wheaton's primary backup at split end. The early knock on Gwacham was that he was still too raw. Riley said he thinks the move to the slot has made him a stronger route runner and helped him develop as a wide receiver.
Jordan Bishop is slated as the No. 3 receiver and the starter in the slot. But indications are that Gwacham could challenge Bishop -- or at least see an increase in reps -- as the season progresses. He had an outstanding spring game, catching four balls for 96 yards that included a 44-yard touchdown. Whether or not he actually does crack the starting lineup, Riley has made it clear that Gwacham will see an increased role in OSU's passing attack.