Monday, March 8, 2010
Strong & weak: Oregon State
By ESPN.com staff
The sixth of a 10-part series that looks at where Pac-10 teams are strongest and weakest as they begin spring practices.
Strong: The Rodgers brothers
Why it's a strength: Well, would you be interested in welcoming back a pair of first-team All-conference playmakers who combined for 330 yards per game and 32 touchdowns in 2009? Of course you would. These two are the biggest reasons the Beavers figure to be in the mix in the top-third of the conference again in 2010, even with a new quarterback running the offense. Jacquizz Rodgers ranked third in the conference with 1,440 yards rushing last year and was second in receptions per game with six. James Rodgers ranked second in the conference in receiving yards with 79.5 per game and was an ever-present threat on the fly sweep. He also ranked third in punt returns.
Why it's a weakness: The Beavers knew they'd be without Keaton Kristick, who's off to the NFL, but the offseason also saw them lose starting middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi -- he quit to join the military -- and Keith Pankey, who ruptured his right Achilles tendon during a running drill in February and may be out for the season. Dwight Roberson will return at one outside spot -- he platooned with Pankey the past two seasons -- but the depth is questionable and young. The Unga brothers, Devin and Kevin, both sophomores, Walker Vave, Tony Wilson, Keo Camat, Rueben Robinson and newcomer Michael Doctor will battle to fill the voids. While nearly everyone is back on the defensive line and in the secondary, the Beavers now will be inexperienced at linebacker.