Pac-12: Mike Remmers
- Arizona quarterback Nick Foles is more comfortable, technically sound.
- Arizona State's defense is counting on this guy. Former Sun Devil standout Adam Archuleta is helping out his former team.
- Low expectations might be just the ticket for California. Running backs Isi Sofele and Dasarte Yarnway might lead the competition to back up Shane Vereen.
- Oregon is pleased with what it's getting from its young SAM linebacks. A practice report that's got eggs-cellent info on the quarterbacks.
- Oregon State has some prospects at receiver. The Beavers offensive tackles, Mike Remmers and Michael Philipp, need to come through.
- Stanford's players rally around offensive lineman Andrew Phillips, who lost his father in a plane crash. The Cardinal offense doesn't expect to drop off despite the loss of Toby Gerhart.
- UCLA is forced to rebuild its defensive line. Is Kevin Prince as good as Matt Barkley?
- As for some of the players who left USC? Good riddance, says Chris Galippo. This Trojans defensive end might be the next big thing.
- If this guy re-emerges, a good group of Washington receivers gets even better. Some big-time recruiting targets were at the Huskies practice.
- The intensity is picking up for Washington State.
- A look at how the Pac-10 has distributed revenue in recent years.
- Sometimes harsh notes in my mailbag get my goat. So reading this is cathartic, though not something I'd do myself.
- After Pat Tillman's story was exploited by politicians, his family seeks to find the truth.
Oregon State: Offensive guard
Why the competition? Right guard Gregg Peat is the only 2009 starter not back on the Beavers offensive line, but the only certainties after spring practices are Alex Linnenkohl at center and Mike Remmers at right tackle.
Candidates: Sophomore Michael Philipp (6-3, 307), Grant Johnson (6-3, 280), Burke Ellis (6-4, 280), Colin Kelly (6-4, 285), Ryan Pohl (6-3, 284) and Michael Lamb (6-3, 282).
The skinny: The easy way for this to go is four starters return to their 2009 spots and Ellis and Kelly compete for the starting job at right guard. But the Beavers are looking for their best five guys, and that might mean some shuffling. So does Philipp stay at left tackle, where he started as a true freshman, or does he move inside to left guard because of how well Wilder McAndrews played this spring while Philipp sat out with a knee injury? And does McAndrews, after a career that almost ended because of hand and wrist injuries, stay healthy? Second, does Johnson, a returning starter at left guard who missed spring after shoulder surgery, then move to the right side to compete with Ellis and Kelly? Or will someone else emerge? McAndrews is the wild card. If he's one of the best five, then things will shuffle. If Philipp is back at tackle, then right guard is the only hot spot.
Philipp will have his knee scoped on Wednesday, according to The Oregonian.
As a true freshman, Philipp started all 13 games as the Beavers left tackle and earned a number of freshmen All-American honors.
The offensive line already was missing starting guard Grant Johnson (shoulder).
Timi Oshinowo, who missed the 2009 season with a knee injury -- an injury that pushed Philipp into the lineup -- will step in for Philipp. Starting right tackle Mike Remmers might see some action there as well, as could Wilder McAndrews, who is trying to come back from a long-term wrist problem.
Read Part I here.
The Rodgers brothers, Jacquizz and James: They do so much. Can they do any more?
DL: It's really a challenge to try to find different ways to get them the ball. I think they can, though. I think they both are becoming masters of what they do. They are continuing to work on running routes and catching the ball. I think through pretty extensive offseason study of our running game, we can find some things that Quizz could do better in terms of some of his reads and how he runs some particular plays that we have. James I know has concentrated on running better routes and being more consistent catching the ball. So I think they have more improvement ahead of them. At the same time, we have to continue to find ways to get them the ball because they are so dangerous with it in their hands.
Other than those two: Who are your big playmakers?
DL: Markus Wheaton is playing the 'X' position right now and he has got a lot of talent. He can really run. He was a talented high school player and a great recruit for us. We're looking for some big things from him. I think our line is very solid -- we've got a veteran group there and are only losing one off of that. We've got to find some depth up front. We've got to find a little more depth at the flanker and receiver position behind James. We've got a couple of guys in mind who are battling that out. I like how our tight ends have played. Joe Halahuni had a good season last year but was kind of a part-time player for us. He only played about 50 percent of the snaps. We've got to get more production out of him as a blocker. I think he's a talented receiver right now but he's got to improve as a blocker. But he's a pretty exciting player for us. We've got some weapons I believe we can do some fun stuff with.
You mention the line with four of five starters back: Where do you expect to see the most improvement?
DL: I think our tackles [junior Mike Remmers and sophomore Michael Philipp] are good players and I think they have a ton of improving to do. They are solid guys and they are young. Remmers has continually improved and has a chance to be outstanding. He has put on weight and gotten a lot stronger in the weight room. He was already an athletic kid, but he came on toward the end of last year and really became a stand-out player for us. We're really looking for him to continue on that path, as well as Philipp, who was a freshman All-American, but at the same time has a lot of work to do and a lot of growing up to do. Michael has gotten some accolades already but we feel like there's a lot of improvement for him still to continue to work on. If he does and he follows through, he could be an outstanding one, too. So those two bookend tackles, they are talented but that potential is only as good as they want to make it. The challenge for them is to work on their trade to become better players.
So what do you think about your new quarterback -- either Ryan Katz or Peter Lalich -- playing two of his first three games on the road vs. top-10 teams [TCU on Sept. 4 in Cowboys Stadium and at Boise State on Sept. 25]?
DL: That's not totally ideal [laughs]. It's going to be tough. I don't think there's a whole lot more pressure just because they're playing on the road. I think it's just that they're new. It would be the same amount of pressure if they were playing at home. But obviously noise is going to be a factor and some things they haven't experienced a lot of yet. That's a little disconcerting. But I think they are pretty poised guys and confident players. We've got to try to get them into situations and put some pressure on both of them to get them used to that atmosphere. That will be key once we get into fall camp especially.
You guys averaged 32 points and 411 yards per game last year: Can this crew improve those numbers with a new QB?
DL: I think so. The quarterback position will be a vital spot. He's got to be able to manage the offense and spread the ball around and get the ball into our playmakers hands. That will be a big deal. But we do have a lot of weapons and a veteran line. If we can improve in the run game, I think that will take some pressure off the quarterback. And, at the same time, we have some weapons on the perimeter. So if we can get the ball to Quizz in the run and pass game and we can get it to our weapons outside in our passing game and our tight end, we should be just fine. Like I said, if we can do a good job of running the ball, I think all that stuff plays out. It helps the play-action game. I think the scheme comes alive. Being versatile and not just relying on one thing. Being multi-dimensional will help the quarterback with what we are trying to do.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
The fifth of 10 quick updates on offseason Pac-10 goings on.
Oregon State in a sentence
- After finishing the past three seasons ranked in the nation's Top 25, the Beavers have earned the benefit of the doubt, even with only 11 returning starters: this team will finish in the top half of the conference.
The big issue
- Only three starters return from a crew that ranked second in the conference in total defense last fall, but the biggest challenge for the Beavers' high-pressure scheme is replacing cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Brandon Hughes, who were both NFL draft choices.
Quick hit news
- Quarterback Lyle Moevao, running back Jacquizz Rodgers and receiver James Rodgers each had offseason shoulder surgery. They are expected to be ready to go when camp begins, but each figures to be protected to some extent by cautious coach Mike Riley.
- Offensive tackle Timi Oshinowo is out and running back Ryan McCants doubtful for preseason camp because they are still recovering from knee injuries. Oshinowo was the projected starter at right tackle, while McCants is Jacquizz Rodgers' top backup.
- Offensive lineman Mike Remmers and punter Johnny Hekker, who are both likely to start this season, are no longer walk-ons, as both were recently awarded scholarships.
- Former linebackers coach Robin Ross returns to Corvallis as an offensive graduate assistant. Ross had been the head coach at Western Washington, which dropped football.
- Bruce Read returns for his third tour as the special teams coach. His previous stays included the 1997-98 and 2004-06 seasons. Read has coached special teams in the NFL for three teams, including last year with the Dallas Cowboys.
Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
After seeing significant starting action in 2008, offensive lineman Mike Remmers and punter Johnny Hekker are no longer walk-ons, as Oregon State announced Thursday the sophomores will both be on scholarship in 2009.
Remmers started the first seven games last fall at right tackle before senior tackle Tavita Thompson returned from an NCAA-mandated suspension. That will make him the Beavers' most experienced tackle entering fall camp.
Hekker was one of just four true freshmen to play in 2008. As the starting punter, he blossomed late in the season, earning special teams MVP honors at the Sun Bowl. In the final five games, Hekker had an average of 43.4 yards per kick, an improvement of 7.5 yards over the first half of the season. During that span, eight of his nine kicks went for 50 yards or more.
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