What you need to know ...
Eight starters return to an offense that should blow up as long
as there's steady quarterback play. All five starters return to
a line that should be among the best in the Pac 10, Yvenson
Bernard and JUCO transfer Clinton Polk form a rushing tandem as
good as any in the league, and the receiving corps should make
up for the loss of Mike Hass with several good prospects led by
Anthony Wheat-Brown. Matt Moore is back for his second year as
the starting quarterback and needs to cut down on his mistakes.
Expect more offensive balance with the ground game carrying the
load far more than it did last year.
Passing: Matt Moore
211-355, 2,711 yds, 11 TD, 19 INT
Rushing: Yvenson Bernard
299 carries, 1,321 yds, 13 TD
Receiving: Anthony Wheat Brown
40 catches, 400 yds, 3 TD
Star of the offense: Junior RB Yvenson Bernard
Player that has to step up and become a star: Senior QB
Unsung star on the rise: Junior RB Clinton Polk
Best pro prospect: Senior TE Joe Newton
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Bernard, 2) Newton, 3)
G Roy Schuening
Strength of the offense: Offensive line, running back
Weakness of the offense:
There are three decent options to work with. Matt Moore is
back for a second year as the starter, Ryan Gunderson a big
veteran who knows the system, and Sean Canfield, who's the
future of the offense. Moore has to be better at keeping things
moving and must cut down on his interceptions, while Gunderson
doesn't appear to be the answer for a long stretch of time, he
can play in an emergency. Canfield will be a major player once
he gets a little more practice time.
The key to the unit: Be more efficient. The Beaver
quarterbacks combined to throw 23 interceptions and only 13
touchdown passes. If that reverses, there are guaranteed to be
Quarterback Rating: 7
- Matt Moore, Sr. - 211-355, 59%, 2,711 yds, 11 TD, 19
INT, 3 rushing touchdowns
The former UCLA transfer had an odd first season. He kept up the
Oregon State tradition of throwing way too many interceptions
getting picked off six times in the loss to Arizona, three times
in the loss to Arizona State, and three in the win over
California. Around for a year in the system, he should be
sharper and more consistent even though he still needs to work
on his mechanics. He'll have to be even better at spreading the
ball around without Mike Hass to go to.
- Sean Canfield, RFr.
Canfield was impressive in practice as a true freshman before
redshirting. He was so good this spring that he replaced veteran
Ryan Gunderson for the backup job showing off a live arm and a
surprising command of the offense. The left hander is 6-4 and
can make all the throws, but he's far from being a finished
- Ryan Gunderson, Jr. - 54-102, 53%, 542 yds, 2 TD, 4 INT
The big 6-5, 230-pound junior knows the system and has plenty of
experience getting the start in the season finale against
Oregon. He threw four interceptions and got replaced this spring
by Sean Canfield for the number two job, but he has maintained a
great attitude and will still get plenty of practice reps. He'll
make his biggest impact as a holder for the kicking game.
This could be OSU's deepest
backfield in years. Yvenson Bernard will be one of the Pac 10's
most productive backs with his shiftiness and speed, but the new
star will likely be JUCO transfer Clinton Polk. He's 220 pounds
with excellent quickness and hands. Patrick Fuller is an
experienced number three back, while walk-on Andy Stewart had a
great spring and could see time in an emergency.
The key to the unit: Get more of a rotation going.
With the emergence of Polk and the skills of Fuller, there's no
reason to run Bernard into the ground.
Running Back Rating: 8
- Yvenson Bernard, Jr. - 299 carries, 1,321 yds, 4.4 ypc,
13 TD, 37 catches, 316 yds, 8.5 ypc, 1 TD
Bernard single-handedly solved the team's rushing woes after
fielding one of the worst ground attacks in 2004. The smallish,
quick back is a Ken Simonton clone who turned into a
surprisingly durable workhorse highlighted by a 42-carry game
against Cal. He ran for over 100 yards in six of the final eight
games and was a steady scorer with two scores in four straight
games over the middle of the season. He's also a terrific
receiver finishing fourth on the team in catches.
- Clinton Polk, Jr.
The 220-pound back provides a great mix of speed and power to
the mix coming over from Scottsdale JC. He grabbed the second
string job by the horns this spring and showed soft hands as a
receiver. While he won't take over the starting job from Yvenson
Bernard, he'll get at least ten carries a game.
- Patrick Fuller, Soph. - 12 carries, 25 yds, 2.1 ypc, 1
TD, 3 catches, 32 yds, 10.7 ypc
The 5-11, 199-pound sophomore is a tough inside runner with a
little bit of bounce to get outside. He's the number three
running back after the emergence of Clinton Polk, but he's an
experienced runner who'll see a little bit of work.
The loss of Mike Hass takes away 90 catches, 1,532 yards
and six touchdowns and the team's top player. Even so, there are
more than enough decent prospects to pick up the slack as long
as Anthony Wheat-Brown and Sammie Strougher can stay healthy
after being banged up this spring. Along with those two, Ruben
Jackson is part of the mix as a potential go-to receiver. The
big cause for excitement is the return of 6-7 tight end Joe
Newton from a leg injury. He could be the Pac 10's best tight
The key to the unit: Everyone has to stay healthy.
There will be major problems replacing Hass if all the parts
aren't there to chip in.
Receiver Rating: 7
- Sammie Stroughter, Jr. - 5 catches, 58 yds, 11.6 ypc
A big-time prospect out of high school a few years ago,
Stroughter was starting to look like a future start this spring
before he got nicked up and missed time. He has tremendous deep
skills with the quickness to be the team's top kick and punt
returner. With speed, toughness and smarts, he'll be a top
producer at split end.
- Anthony Wheat-Brown, Jr. - 40 catches, 400 yds, 10 ypc,
The 6-1, 223-pound slotback finished second on the team in
receiving as a steady, reliable performer despite being banged
up all year. He'll be the number one target if he can come back
100% after being banged up in spring ball. He's tough enough to
make grabs across the middle and fast enough to turn into a good
- Ruben Jackson, Sr. - 11 catches, 118 yds, 10.7 ypc
Jackson is the team's most talented receiver with the acrobatic
skills to make the highlight reel catch and the wheels to be a
dangerous deep threat. The coaching staff could try to get him
the ball as a runner to use his speed and elusiveness.
- Tight end Joe Newton, Sr.
One of the nation's best tight ends, the 6-7, 252-pound senior
is back after missing last year with a leg injury. He
caught 56 passes for 687 yards and
seven touchdowns in 2004 and is now back too 100% and looks like
the players of old. Along with being a great receiver, he's a
strong blocker. Expect a huge year as the go-to guy in the red
- Marcel Love, Sr.
Love was one of the team's top receivers in 2004 but missed all
of last year and has been suspended indefinitely for violating
team rules. Reportedly he had academic issues. He has excellent hands
and the toughness to make big catches across the middle, and
not going to stretch the field too much, he'll make more
than enough key catches to help move the offense ... if he gets
back on the team.
- Brandon Powers, Jr. - 2 catches, 9 yards, 1 TD
With the on-going health issues of Anthony Wheat-Brown, Powers
could play a key role at slot back. He's 6-2, 215 pounds and is
a fantastic athlete. He was kept down with an ankle injury last
season, but he has his speed back.
- Tight end Jason Vandiver, Sr. - 10 catches, 98 yds, 9.8
While not as tall as Joe Newton, the 6-4, 266-pound Vandiver is
bigger with the hands to be use more in the passing game. With
his size, he's a physical blocker.
This might be the Pac 10's best line, and it's certainly
the most experienced with all five starters returning and three
excellent reserves waiting in the wings. Guard Roy Schuening is the star
of the show and should pave the way for a strong ground attack. Pass
protection will be the concern after allowing 32 sacks, but the
consistency should improve if everyone can stay healthy. Sophomore guard
Jeremy Perry will earn All-Pac 10 honors by the time he's done, while
senior tackle Adam Koets is in line for a huge year.
The key to the unit: Keep everyone healthy. This
should be the team's strength as long as it stay together. While there
are good reserves, the starting five is terrific.
Offensive Line Rating: 9
- OT Adam Koets, Sr.
The 6-6, 299-pound senior has been a steady starter for the last two
years with good feet and decent pass protection skills. He grew into a
strong run blocker on the left side and should be in the hunt for
All-Pac 10 honors if he can keep be just a bit more consistent against
the top ends.
- OG Jeremy Perry, Soph.
One of the team's biggest linemen at 6-2 and 313 pounds, Perry was named
the Pac 10 Co-Freshman of the year and a Freshman All-American. He's a
bruising run blocker who should get next level attention if he keeps
- C Kyle DeVan, Jr.
The quarterback on the line, DeVan should be better after a year of
starting experience. A good-sized 296 pounds, DeVan is a great athlete
who's great on the move. He's growing into an all-star.
- OG Roy Schuening, Jr.
The star of the veteran line, the 6-4, 315-pound junior is a phenomenal
athlete for his size. He's a devastating run blocker who'll have the
option to leave early and be a first day draft pick next year.
- OT Josh Linehan, Sr.
A good starter for the last two years, the 6-5, 315-pound senior moved
from guard and tackle last year and will once against be a fixture on
the right side. He needs to improve as a pass blocker and be more
- T Tavita Thompson, Soph.
A big-time recruit when he came to Oregon State, the 6-6,
325-pound sophomore should finally play a part in the rotation. Big
enough to play guard, he'll be the main backup at both tackle spots.
- C Adam Speer, Soph.
Speer bulked up a bit and should be able to be more of a force in the
middle behind Kyle DeVan at 282 pounds. He's a smart, tough blocker who
saw time in every game last year and earned honorable mention Pac 10
- G Andy Levitre, Soph.
A star of the future, the 6-3, 334-pound sophomore is the team's biggest
lineman and the top backup at both guard spots. He saw time in every
game including a start at Oregon. He's a physical run blocker.