Pac-12: Tony Wilson

Oregon State coach Mike Riley believes he has talent and depth at running back. He just doesn't know how much and from whom. He has "viable" bodies for every position on the offensive line. But he's pretty sure the starting five coming out of spring won't be the same at the start of the season.

These are a few of the concerns Riley is pondering as the Beavers set to open spring practice on April 3.

[+] EnlargeMike Riley
AP Photo/Colin E. BraleyThere are a lot of questions surrounding Mike Riley's running game this spring.
Tailback Jovan Stevenson will be limited with a foot injury, which means lots of reps for Jordan Jenkins, Malcolm Agnew, Storm Woods and Terron Ward.

"I think we have good depth," Riley said in a conference call with media on Tuesday. " ... It's definitely the biggest question mark, but it's a good group. I feel good about it. Sorting it out will be very important for us."

Which leads to another issue. The backs will be getting lots of work -- but who is going to do all of the blocking? With Grant Enger (shoulder) out for spring and Colin Kelly (ankle) expected to miss most or all of spring, the Beavers have very limited depth to work with over the next month.

"The hardest part about spring ball is that we're very thin on the offensive line," Riley confirmed. "We have the starters that are out rehabbing ... we have some good young talent that will get a lot of good work to see if they can play. We're looking -- not necessarily how it will look as a whole in the fall -- but as an individual development of those guys at that position. We'll just have to be careful how we practice."

Riley went on to say that as a result, there won't be much chemistry with whatever starting five opens the year Sept. 1 against Nicholls State in Corvallis.

"I think we'll develop toward that line that we'll have in the fall," he said. "The hard part is we won't have a whole synchronized group. I doubt the starting lineup coming out of spring ball will be the starting lineup necessarily in the fall. But there is a viable guy at each position this spring so let's see what they can do with it and we'll put up some better depth in the fall and we'll see who wins the job then.

"I think we have good candidates. That's good enough for right now."

Riley has said in previous interviews that restoring the ground game is a top priority in the upcoming year. Oregon State ranked last in the Pac-12 last season, averaging just 86.9 yards per game while managing just 12 touchdowns on the ground -- second worst behind Colorado (10).

Other roster notes:

Exiting the spring: Oregon State

April, 29, 2011
4/29/11
10:30
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Oregon State concludes spring practices with its spring game on Saturday. Here's a brief primer.

Spring game: The Beavers play their spring game at 3:15 p.m. -- 12:15 PDT -- at Reser Stadium.

Questions answered: With starting quarterback Ryan Katz out, backups Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion were solid to impressive. There are few worries at quarterback -- Katz is throwing after a wrist injury -- which is always good. The outside linebackers are set with Cameron Collins and Michael Doctor. The secondary, led by safety Lance Mitchell, looks solid and there's good depth behind the starting four. Kicker Trevor Romaine has been consistent and may be an immediate upgrade on Justin Kahut.

Questions unanswered: A lot of questions heading into the offseason, starting with the health of wide receiver James Rodgers, whose return is uncertain after a serious knee injury, and continuing with the uncertain seriousness of tight end Joe Halahuni's shoulder problem. Those are two big presences in the passing game. The pecking order on the offensive line, at running back and middle linebacker are far from set. Ryan McCants, Jovan Stevenson, Jordan Jenkins and the freshmen Terron Ward and Malcolm Marable are in the mix at running back. While the left side of the O-line is set, the right is not: Burke Ellis and Michael Lamb are competing at guard, and Colin Kelly and Michael Philipp at tackle. Rueben Robinson, Kevin Unga and Tony Wilson are still splitting time at middle linebacker. Further, there are questions about who will provide consistent pressure on the quarterback from the D-line.

Spring stars: Doctor is going to be a player at weak-side linebacker. The move of Dominic Glover from defensive end to defensive tackle has yielded positive results. Jordan Poyer has been solid after replacing James Dockery at cornerback opposite Brandon Hardin. Markus Wheaton was a standout at receiver, and Obum Gwacham flashed some potential at the same spot. Spring started with writers celebrating Mannion over Vaz, but things reversed by the end -- mostly because of strong play by Vaz and not anything Mannion did or didn't do.
On Friday, we looked at offensive three-headed monsters -- the best quarterback, running back, wide receiver troikas -- so it also makes sense to also look at their defensive counterparts, the best threesomes from each of the three levels of defense: defensive line, linebacker and defensive back.

Here's the tally from last season, if you are interested.

1. Arizona State

DE Junior Onyeali, LB Vontaze Burfict, CB Omar Bolden

The Skinny: No question on No. 1 here. Onyeali was the Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year. Burfict is the nation's best inside linebacker. Bolden was unanimous first-team All-Pac-10.

2. Stanford

DE Matt Masifilo, LB Shayne Skov, SS Delano Howell

The Skinny: Masifilo, the lone returning starter on the Cardinal defensive line, was honorable mention All-Pac-10, as was Skov, who was playing as well as any linebacker in the conference over the final third of the season. Howell was second-team All-Pac-10.

3. California

DE Trevor Guyton, LB Mychal Kendricks, S Sean Cattouse

The Skinny: Guyton had 8.5 tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks despite being a part-time starter. Kendricks was second-team All-Pac-10. Cattouse earned honorable mention.

4. Oregon

DE Terrell Turner, LB Josh Kaddu, CB Cliff Harris

The Skinny: Two solid returning starters and a second-team All-Pac-10 cornerback who figures to be a preseason All-American after earning second-team honors from the Associated Press and Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2010.

5. Washington:

DT Alameda Ta'amu, LB Cort Dennison, FS Nate Fellner

The Skinny: Ta'amu earned honorable mention All-Conference honors and seemed to find himself over the latter half of the season. Dennison had 93 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss and two interceptions. Fellner tied for second in the conference with five interceptions.

6. Arizona

DT Justin Washington, LB Paul Vassallo, CB Trevin Wade

The Skinny: Washington's numbers fell off when he got banged up, but he still had 11.5 tackles for a loss and six sacks as a redshirt freshman. Vassallo was honorable mention All-Conference. Wade had an off year last fall, but was second-team All-Pac-10 in 2009.

7. USC

DE Armond Armstead, LB Chris Galippo, FS T.J. McDonald

The Skinny: This actually could be one of the best threesomes in the conference, but Armstead and Galippo have injury issues and only put up middling numbers last fall. McDonald was second-team All-Pac-10 in 2010.

8. Washington State

DE Travis Long, LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis, SS Deone Bucannon

The Skinny: Long was honorable mention All-Conference, Bucannon, who started as a true freshman, and Hoffman-Ellis were the Cougars' top two tackles in 2010.

9. UCLA

DE Datone Jones, LB Patrick Larimore, SS Tony Dye

The Skinny: A solid threesome that is down here more because it gets an "incomplete." Jones missed all of last season with a foot injury, but, if healthy, he's an All-Conference sort. Larimore was solid in seven games before suffering a shoulder injury. Dye led the Bruins in tackles and earned honorable mention All-Pac-10.

10. Colorado

NG Will Pericak, LB Jon Major, FS Ray Polk

The Skinny: Pericak earned honorable mention All-Big 12. Major was the Buffaloes leading tackler before he blew out his knee in Game 7 (a knee injury also killed the junior's true freshman season). Polk was the second-leading tackler.

11. Utah

DE Derrick Shelby, LB Chaz Walker, CB Conroy Black

The Skinny: Honestly don't know how to rank the Utes here. Shelby and Walker are returning starters -- Walker earned second-team All-Mountain West honors. Black was the top backup cornerback last season. But Star Lotulelei might be the Utes' best defensive lineman, and Brian Blechen has moved from strong safety, where he was very good, to linebacker. How highly do the Utes think of him? They list him as an All-American candidate.

12. Oregon State

DE Dominic Glover, LB Rueben Robinson, S Lance Mitchell

The Skinny: Three returning starters, but none of them even earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors. Mitchell was the Beavers' third-leading tackler, Glover had 2.5 sacks, and Robinson split time with Tony Wilson.

Katz sharp in Oregon State scrimmage

August, 25, 2010
8/25/10
11:19
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New Oregon State quarterback Ryan Katz has answered every question he can during preseason practices. Now the question is what he can do in games. On the road. Versus top-10 teams, such as TCU and Boise State.

Katz was sharp in the Beavers' scrimmage Tuesday, completing 4 of 5 passes for 100 yards with two touchdowns, including a 48-yard scoring strike to James Rodgers.

The Oregonian quoted coach Mike Riley on Katz: "He's got every bit of range. Every bit of range. And the beautiful thing is, he doesn't need a big runway to throw it in. He can stand there and throw the ball unbelievably far. ... the one thing we can do is threaten people down the field for sure.''

It also appears that Jordan Jenkins' production -- I think it's fair to say pleasantly surprising -- at running back has continued since the spring. He figures to help add depth at the position behind Jacquizz Rodgers after the season-ending shoulder injury to Jovan Stevenson.

Still no resolution at middle linebacker between Tony Wilson, Rueben Robinson and Kevin Unga.

Some more notes on the scrimmage and video on Katz here. And a story.

The gist of all this: The Beavers look good on offense, even with a rookie QB. But the defense has some issues -- struggling against the run and yielding big plays -- while replacing David Pa'aluhi at MLB has proven difficult.

Opening camp: Oregon State

August, 8, 2010
8/08/10
10:00
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Oregon State opens preseason camp today. Here's a quick look.

Who's back: Eight starters on offense, seven on defense and both specialists.

Big names: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, WR James Rodgers, DT Stephen Paea, K Justin Kahut

What's new: The Beavers coaching staff returns intact under coach Mike Riley. The Beavers will be breaking in a new QB in sophomore Ryan Katz.

Key competition: Tony Wilson leads the competition at middle linebacker with Rueben Robinson and Kevin Unga. Burke Ellis leads a competition to fill the right guard spot, the lone void on the offensive line. The depth is uncertain at running back. Who's the No. 1 alternative at WR to Rodgers? Darrell Catchings, Markus Wheaton or Jordan Bishop.

Breaking out: DE Gabe Miller flashed signs over the spring that he can be a threat as a pass rusher. Unheralded CB James Dockery might become more heralded this year. H-back Joe Halahuni might be ready to be known for more than his amusing tweets. OT Michael Philipp figures to be better after going from touted recruit to wide-eyed true freshman starter in 2009. The big-armed Katz has tremendous upside.

Quote: Riley on Katz: “Ability-wise, he has a wonderful arm. He can throw all the passes. He is pretty much unflappable, so I don’t think he’ll be intimidated by anything. He has two years of experience in the program. The transition always provides a mystery. Jacquizz (Rodgers) and the guys are going to have to give Ryan a lot of support, but he’s going to be good.”

Notes: Two returning defensive starters quit the team, middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi and defensive end Matt LaGrone... Outside linebacker Keith Pankey ruptured an Achilles tendon in February but is apparently ready to return to full-speed action in fall camp... JC transfer Dominic Glover, a former Oregon Duck, is expected to bolster the depth at defensive end... Peter Lalich, a Virginia transfer and the the likely backup QB, was dismissed in May after being arrested for a boating DUI... The Beavers were picked third in the preseason Pac-10 media poll and were ranked 22nd in the coaches poll.

Preseason position reviews: linebacker

August, 4, 2010
8/04/10
12:40
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Linebacker is not an easy position to rate in the Pac-10. It's fair to say that only Oregon is worry-free at the position.

There are plenty of good individual players: Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict, California's Mike Mohamed and UCLA's Akeem Ayers are getting preseason All-American attention and Washington's Mason Foster looks primed for a breakout. But other than the Ducks, every team gives you reason to pause over the depth chart.

So what's the pecking order?

Great shape

  • Oregon: The Ducks are fast and deep and experienced. Casey Matthews was second-team All-Pac-10, while Spencer Paysinger was his equal in production. Josh Kaddu and Boseko Lokombo are impressive enough that returning starter Eddie Pleasant moved to rover. And sophomore Michael Clay might end up the best of the lot by season's end.
  • USC: Everyone read all about the Trojans problems at LB during spring practices, but that was mostly about a lack of depth. The bottom line is there are three returning starters from the Pac-10's No. 1 scoring defense, and sophomore Devon Kennard may be good enough to beat out Chris Galippo in the middle.
Good shape
    [+] EnlargeVontaze Burfict
    Matt Kartozian/US PresswireVontaze Burfict had 61 tackles and two sacks last season.

  • Arizona State: Burfict may be the best middle LB in the conference, and Brandon Magee and Shelly Lyons saw plenty of action as backups for a unit that ranked No. 1 in the conference in total defense. Still, there's reason to pause over the loss of Mike Nixon and Travis Goethel, two heady, productive players.
  • Stanford: The Cardinal switched to a 3-4 defense, and the lineup of LBs is impressive in terms of potential. Sophomore Shayne Skov is a budding star and Owen Marecic is a beast, though this will be his first season as a full-time LB after playing FB last year. It's possible Chase Thomas and Thomas Keiser will be better OLBs than DEs. But we'll have to see.
  • California: Mohamed led the Pac-10 in tackles last year and, though two starters must be replaced, there's talent and experience on the depth chart, particularly if Mychal Kendricks breaks through. The Bears ranked second in the conference in run defense in 2009.
  • UCLA: The Bruins are breaking in two new starters next to Ayers, though MLB Steve Sloan started nine games in 2008. But Ayers may end up the conference's defensive Player of the Year, so he makes up for a lot of the issues here.
  • Washington: Mason Foster is as good a LB as any in the conference, and Cort Dennison is solid in the middle. But who starts on the strong side is one of the Huskies' biggest preseason questions.
  • Oregon State: The Beavers are replacing their two best linebackers: Keaton Kristick and David Pa'aluhi. Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson both have significant experience platooning on the outside, though it remains to be seen how full-speed Pankey is after tearing his Achilles during the offseason. Tony Wilson and Rueben Robinson are competing in the middle.
We'll see

  • Washington State: Though the Cougs are replacing two starters, they have plenty of experience. The problem is the run defense has been terrible the past two years.
  • Arizona: The Wildcats, you might have heard, are replacing all three starters. Derek Earls and Paul Vassallo are JC transfers who have never played a down in the Pac-10. Sophomore Jake Fischer is hardly a veteran. Things could turn out fine, but as the title says, "We'll see."

Oregon State LB Pankey is back running

June, 21, 2010
6/21/10
5:37
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Good news for Oregon State fans: Coach Mike Riley just tweeted -- and it was confirmed by a school spokesperson -- that linebacker Keith Pankey ran for the first time Monday after tearing his Achilles tendon in February.

Odds are now good that Pankey, a senior who was in a platoon with Dwight Roberson at the "will" outside linebacker spot for two seasons, will be ready for preseason practices.

Back in January, the Beavers expected to have three of their top four linebackers back in 2010, with only Keaton Kristick departing. But Pankey got hurt and middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi quit -- so much for his widely reported military aspirations -- transforming a fairly solid position into a questionable one.

Pankey and Roberson now likely will man the two outside spots while sophomore Tony Wilson is the leader to replace Kristick inside.

Oregon State spring wrap

May, 7, 2010
5/07/10
8:30
AM ET
OREGON STATE

2009 overall record: 8-5

2009 conference record: 6-3 (tied for second)

Returning starters

Offense: 8, Defense: 7, punter/kicker: 2

Top returners: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, WR James Rodgers, C Alex Linnenkohl, DT Stephen Paea, DE Gabe Miller, LB Dwight Roberson, CB James Dockery

Key losses: QB Sean Canfield, LB Keaton Kristick, LB David Pa'aluhi, DE Matt LaGrone

2009 statistical leaders (*returning starter)

Rushing: Jacquizz Rodgers* (1,440)

Passing: Sean Canfield (3,271)

Receiving: James Rodgers* (1,034)

Tackles: Keaton Kristick (95)

Sacks: Stephen Paea*, Gabe Miller* (3)

Interceptions: Lance Mitchell* (3)

Spring Answers

1. Cool Katz: Sophomore Ryan Katz entered the spring as the favorite to win the quarterback job and he didn't disappoint. He has a big arm and good mobility. All he is missing is experience. He'll enter fall camp as the clear leader, while Peter Lalich and Cody Vaz compete for the backup job.

2. There are plenty of offensive weapons: Everything starts with the Rodgers brothers, running back Jacquizz and receiver James, but it doesn't end there. Receivers Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop and tight end/H-Back Joe Halahuni will give Katz plenty of options when he distributes the football.

3. Solid in the secondary: The Beavers will be experienced -- not to mention big -- in the secondary, with three starters back from 2009 and all four first-teamers measuring over 6-feet. James Dockery and 6-foot-2, 219-pound Brandon Hardin are the corners, while Lance Mitchell, 230-pound Cameron Collins and Suaesi Tuimaunei have combined for 29 starts at safety.

Fall questions

1. Front seven issues: Taylor Henry stepped up at defensive end after Matt LaGrone quit the team, but what's unclear is if he can hold off touted JC transfer Dominic Glover as the starter. Things also are fluid at linebacker. Will Keith Pankey be 100 percent by fall camp after missing spring with a torn Achilles tendon? Will Tony Wilson or Rueben Robinson step in at middle linebacker?

2. How will the offensive line shake out? Starters Grant Johnson and Michael Philipp missed spring with injuries, which forced line coach Mike Cavanaugh to do some mixing and matching. The good news was the re-emergence of tackle Wilder McAndrews, who almost quit due to persistent wrist problem. It's possible that McAndrews could take over at left tackle and Philipp could move inside to guard. Then Johnson and Burke Ellis could compete at the other guard.

3. Who is Katz’s backup? The story of spring might have been Katz's impressive effort, but Vaz also deserves note. His rise is more about how well he played than Lalich not producing. Considering how often a backup quarterback is needed, this will be an interesting competition to follow during fall camp.

Quick notes from Oregon State's practice

April, 7, 2010
4/07/10
10:10
PM ET
CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Watched Oregon State's practice Wednesday so here are some quick observations.

  • While the big story is the quarterback competition between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich -- Katz is clearly ahead -- what I came away with was the feeling the Beavers are well-stocked at quarterback. Both Katz and Lalich look the part and can make plays. Redshirt freshman Cody Vaz also was impressive.
  • Vaz hooked up with split end Darrell Catchings on what might have been the play of the afternoon. Catchings hauled in a deep toss from Vaz under tight coverage by trapping it against his helmet as he fell out of bounds. "Good coverage, good catch," said coach Mike Riley.
  • Defensive tackle Stephen Paea is one thick dude. He played at around 285 last year and said he's around 310 now -- and it looks like all the new weight is muscle. It's well-distributed on his 6-foot-1 frame and he's far from top-heavy. His lower body is as impressive as his upper.
  • Receiver James Rodgers and cornerback James Dockery had a couple of nice one-on-one battles, with the 6-foot-1 Dockery holding his own vs. the powerful, super-quick, 5-foot-7 Rodgers.
  • Brandon Hardin has to be the biggest starting cornerback in the Pac-10. He's a linebacker-like 6-foot-2, 219 pounds. In fact, he and No. 1 safety Cameron Collins, who is 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, have to be the biggest secondary pair in the conference.
  • The move of Kevin Frahm from defensive end to tackle seems like a good call. While he's undersized at 267 pounds, he'll be more effective as a quick tackle in the Beavers gap-cancellation scheme than as an end who struggled to disengage blockers against the run and was perhaps a step slow on the perimeter.
  • The loss of middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi and end Matt LaGrone -- both quit for personal reasons -- were substantial blows to the defense, but LaGrone's departure might hurt worse. Sophomore Tony Wilson is a capable replacement at linebacker, but it remains to be seen whether sophomore pass-rushing specialist Taylor Henry can be an every-down end. The coaches are crossing their fingers that junior college transfer Dominic Glover -- a former Oregon player -- will be able to step in and help immediately.
  • On the plus side, everybody seems to feel that DE Gabe Miller is headed toward a potential All-Conference sort of season.
  • It's obvious who is the leader of the offensive line: center Alex Linnenkohl. The three-year starter seems to spend almost all of his downtime during drills giving tips to younger players.
  • Incoming freshman quarterback Sean Mannion watched practice with his dad, John, who has been hired as Silverton (Ore.) High School's new head football coach.

Bigger shoes than you think: Oregon State

March, 31, 2010
3/31/10
11:30
AM ET
Fifth in a series looking at lineup holes that are important even if they don't make headlines.

Oregon State

Everybody is talking about: The Beavers not only must replace their quarterback, they must replace Sean Canfield, who earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors after posting an outstanding senior season. Therefore, the marquee competition this spring is between sophomore Ryan Katz and junior Peter Lalich.

Bigger shoes than you think: Middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi

The obvious answer here would be first-team All-Pac-10 linebacker Keaton Kristick, who started 27 games during his career and led the Beavers in tackles in 2009. But this isn't about obvious. Moreover, the Beavers will be moving senior Keith Pankey, who's sitting out spring practices with a torn Achilles tendon, to Kristick's strongside spot. Pankey has started 13 games while previously platooning with Dwight Roberson at weakside linebacker, so he's hardly green. There will be no such veteran presence ready to fill the void at MLB. Pa'aluhi, an underrated player who looked ready to blossom in 2010 as a junior, opted to quit the team for personal reasons and, reportedly, to join the military. He started all 13 games last year and ranked second on the team with 77 tackles and tied for second with eight tackles for a loss. He earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors.

Who is stepping in: It figures to be an interesting competition. Sophomores Feti "Kevin" Unga and Rueben Robinson and senior Walker Vave combined for 32 tackles in 2009, but sophomore Tony Wilson, who sat out last year with a knee injury, might be the frontrunner. There's plenty of potential here, but it's mostly unproven.

Roster, depth chart changes for OSU

March, 17, 2010
3/17/10
12:21
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Oregon State coach Mike Riley met with his beat writers Tuesday, and lots of interesting stuff came up.

Riley and his coaches have moved some guys around on the Beavers' depth chart. And the quarterback battle between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich is a competition, not a coronation for Katz, Riley said.

Of note:

  • Kevin Frahm will move inside from defensive end to tackle. Frahm is more a powerful, high-energy guy than an edge rusher, so the move makes sense. Of course, Frahm, a 6-foot-2, 267-pound junior, will be undersized. But, playing next to Stephen Paea, he can expect some one-on-one battles that he can win with quickness. Frahm starts off behind Brennan Olander.
  • The best news coming from Riley was optimism that linebacker Keith Pankey, who will sit out spring after surgery on his Achilles' tendon, will be recovered in time to play next fall.
  • The battle at middle linebacker to replace David Pa'aluhi, who left the team for personal reasons, will feature Tony Wilson, Rueben Robinson, Kevin Unga and Walker Vave.
  • Jordan Poyer has moved from safety to cornerback, where he's listed behind James Dockery.
  • Sophomore Markus Wheaton and Darrell Catchings are competing for the starting job at split end. Looking at the receiver depth chart, the Beavers look strong at the position, with plenty of experience and talent, topped, of course, by James Rodgers.
  • The Beavers need to replace Gregg Peat at right guard. The depth chart features Burke Ellis, Colin Kelly and Colin Lyons.
  • A couple of guys to watch on the O-line are Timi Oshinowo and Wilder McAndrews, who are No. 2 and 3 at left tackle behind true sophomore Michael Philip. Both likely would have been starters last year, if healthy. Oshinowo is coming back from a knee injury, while McAndrews' status is decidedly iffy due a wrist problem that has limited him to three games over the past two seasons.
  • In addition to Pankey, five players will sit out spring while recovering from injuries, including starting guard Grant Johnson (shoulder). The others are: cornerback Sean Martin and defensive end Mana Rosa (both shoulder) and defensive lineman Mitchel Hunt and offensive lineman Rory Ross (both knees).

Strong & weak: Oregon State

March, 8, 2010
3/08/10
9:33
AM ET
The sixth of a 10-part series that looks at where Pac-10 teams are strongest and weakest as they begin spring practices.

Oregon State

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.

Weak: Linebacker

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.

Pac-10 injury update

August, 31, 2009
8/31/09
11:26
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller


Based on news reports and this this useful Web site: The latest on injuries heading into week one.

Arizona
TE Rob Gronkowski, back, questionable
OG Vaughn Dotsy, finger, probable
WR Delashaun Dean, hamstring, probable

Arizona State
OT Tom Njunge, biceps, questionable
C Garth Gerhart, toe, questionable
C Thomas Altieri, concussion, probable
OG Zach Schlink, knee, out
DT Lawrence Guy, biceps, probable
DE James Brooks, suspension, out

California
RB Jahvid Best, toe, probable
TE Tad Smith, knee, out
OT Mitchell Schwartz, leg, probable
S Marcus Ezeff, ankle, questionable
WR Michael Calvin, knee, probable
LB Robert Mullins, knee, out
TE Skylar Curran, ankle, probable

Oregon
WR Rory Cavaille, shoulder, out,
OT Bo Thran, knee, questionable

Oregon State
WR Darrell Catchings, wrist, out
WR Markus Wheaton, NCAA Clearinghouse, questionable
WR Geno Munoz, abdominal, questionable
QB Lyle Moevao, shoulder, out
RB Ryan McCants, knee, out
CB Brandon Hardin, leg, out
OT Timi Oshinowo, knee, out
LB Tony Wilson, knee, out
S Josh LaGrone, knee, out
S Lance Mitchell, hamstring, probable

Stanford
OT Allen Smith, knee, out
S Taylor Skaufel, knee, out
OT Chris Marinelli, shoulder, probable
LB Alex Debniak, knee, out

UCLA
OG Micah Kia, knee, out
OL Nick Ekbatani, knee, out
DE Reginald Stokes, knee, out
DT Jess Ward, knee, doubtful
RB Christian Ramirez, ankle, questionable
DE Chinonso Anyanwu, hip, out
WR Gavin Ketchum, hamstring, questionable
OG Stanley Hasiak, stinger, probable
FB Chane Moline, hip, probable

USC
CB Shareece Wright, knee, academics, questionable
WR Ronald Johnson, collarbone, out
DE Armond Armstead, foot, out
C Kristofer O'Dowd, knee, doubtful
DT Averell Spicer, ankle, questionable
OG Nick Howell, ankle, questionable
LB Luthur Brown, academics, out
TE Blake Ayles, heart condition, probable
QB Aaron Corp, leg, questionable
QB Mitch Mustain, illness, probable
CB Patrick Hall, knee, out

Washington
CB Justin Glenn, knee, questionable
DT Cameron Elisara, shoulder, probable
RB Johri Fogerson, ankle, probable
RB Chris Polk, concussion, probable
WR James Johnson, ankle, probable
DE Darrion Jones, illness, probable
TE Kavario Middleton, hamstring, probable
DE Everrette Thompson, ankle, questionable
S Jason Wells, Achilles, doubtful

Washington State
WR Jeshua Anderson, hamstring, probable
RB James Montgomery, knee, probable
CB Brandon Jones, ankle, probable
WR Jeffrey Solomon, ankle, probable
LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis, foot, questionable

Beavers defense gets revenge

May, 4, 2009
5/04/09
10:37
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Oregon State's defense, after getting rolled in two previous scrimmages, controlled the Beavers spring game on Saturday, but the real story is composed of two huge questions that will linger into the fall.

Who's the starting quarterback? And can the Beavers get healthy?

As for the spring game -- a glorified scrimmage due to a lengthy injury list -- the defense piled up five interceptions, two forced fumbles and was all over whoever was playing quarterback.

What to take from that? Well, the unit, which is replacing eight starters from 2008, probably started to catch its rhythm late, particularly a promising but completely rebuilt secondary that got abused in the early going.

As for quarterback, it might further spice things up that Sean Canfield threw three interceptions after having an exceptional spring. Some might have been forgetting how well Lyle Moevao played in 2008 before trying to play through the shoulder injury that kept him on the sidelines this spring.

That competition between two experienced seniors -- Canfield vs. Moevao III -- might be the most interesting battle in the Pac-10 next preseason.

Further concerns will be fortifying the offensive line and finding the right combination at cornerback.

Remember that the last time the Beavers defense was bad -- anyone recall 31 touchdown passes surrendered in 2005? -- inexperience at cornerback was a problem. Of course, everyone knew then that Keenan Lewis and Brandon Hughes would never amount to anything.

Injuries are an issue. Moevao, running back Jacquizz Rodgers and receiver-brother James Rodgers all sat out with shoulder injuries. While the expectations are that all three will be fine by the fall, shoulder injuries can be tricky.

Further, No. 1 offensive tackle Timi Oshinowo hurt his knee during the scrimmage. Backup tailback Ryan McCants and backup middle linebacker Tony Wilson will need offseason knee surgeries, while cornerback Brandon Hardin will require wrist surgery.

On the positive side, the rebuilt receiving corps looked solid through spring, with Darrell Catchings, Jordan Bishop and Casey Kjos, among others, playing well.

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PAC-12 SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
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