Oregon State Preview 2006

Posted Aug 8, 2006

The Pac 10 has become a nasty place, and as last year showed for Oregon State, you have to be strong week after week.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Off to a 4-2 start and coming off a nice win over Cal, the Beavers lost four of their last five including a bizarre turnover fest against Arizona and a 20-17 heartbreaker to Stanford that, for all intents and purposes, cost the team a bowl bid.

While losing to average teams like Arizona and Stanford was rough, the bigger concern was how badly the Beavers got obliterated against the better teams on the slate. They caught a huge break missing USC but still finished with, statistically, one of the nation's worst pass defenses. They lost to Louisville, Arizona State, UCLA and Oregon by a combined score of 212 to 93. That's an average of 53 to 23.25. That's hardly the work of a team looking to be in the hunt for the Pac 10 title any time soon.

Head coach: Mike Riley
6th year: 28-30
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 24, Def. 26, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 16
Ten Best Beaver Players
1. RB Yvenson Bernard, Jr.
2. TE Joe Newton, Sr.
3. S Sabby Piscitelli, Sr.
4. OG Roy Schuening, Jr.
5. PK Alexis Serna, Jr.
6. OG Jeremy Perry, Soph.
7. DE Jeff Van Orsow, Jr.
8. RB Clinton Polk, Jr.
9. LB Derrick Doggett, Jr.
10. WR A. Wheat-Brown, Jr. .

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

8/31 Eastern Washington
9/7 at Boise State
9/23 Idaho
9/30 California
10/7 Washington State
10/14 at Washington
10/21 at Arizona
10/28 USC
11/4 Arizona State
11/11 at UCLA
11/18 at Stanford
11/25 Oregon
12/2 at Hawaii

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 5-6

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 Portland State W 41-14
9/10 Boise State W 30-27
9/17 at Louisville L 63-27
9/24 Arizona State L 42-24
10/1 Washington St W 44-33
10/15 at California W 23-20
10/22 at UCLA L 51-28
10/29 Arizona L 29-27
11/5 at Washington W 18-10
11/12 Stanford L 20-17
11/19 at Oregon L 56-14

The 2006 Beavers are much improved with several things to get excited about. The offensive line gets all five starters back and should be dynamite. The backfield is loaded with JUCO transfer Clinton Polk joining Yvenson Bernard. All-America caliber tight end Joe Newton is back and healthy, and kicker Alexis Serna returns after winning the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker. However, the problems are way too much to overcome in the hopes of competing for the Pac 10 title.

At some point, the program is going to find another quarterback who doesn't throw interceptions, and it needs Matt Moore to be more efficient. The corners are better, but they're still going to give up too many big plays. The defensive front seven will be productive, but not out-of-this world, and the receiving corps, while decent, isn't going to scare anyone. In the new Pac 10, you need to have everything humming or else you're an also-ran.

There's plenty of room for this team to grow. It's a relatively young team with most of the seniors backed up by better prospects. There will be shootouts galore, only this year the Beavers will end up on the right side of most of them.

The Schedule: The road trip to Boise State is the only thing to keep the non-conference schedule from being a complete and total joke. The Beavers have to deal with back-to-back Pac 10 games twice, but they aren't that bad with trips to Washington and Arizona in October and UCLA and Stanford in November. They have to be ecstatic to get Cal, USC, Arizona State and Oregon in Corvallis. The team had better not let down after the conference finale against Oregon or Hawaii will bomb away for a win in OSU's 13th game.

Best Offensive Player: Junior RB Yvenson Bernard. The small, quick junior proved to be surprisingly durable as he helped carry the offense over the second half of the season. With the addition of JUCO transfer, Clinton Polk, Bernard should be even more effective since he can limit his carries and his workload.

Best Defensive Player: Senior SS Sabby Piscatelli. The leader of the defense had to spend last year trying to make up for other's problems. With more experience returning to the secondary, now he can focus more on making big plays and being a better all-around defensive back. It'll be a shock if he isn't one of the team's top three tacklers.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Matt Moore. If he's steady and cuts his interception total from 19 to around ten, and ups his touchdown pass total from 11 to around 20, Oregon State will win more than its share of games and will pull off a few upsets. He's the difference between a good year and a great one.

The season will be a success if ... The Beavers flirt with winning ten games. It might take 14 games to do it if you include a bowl trip, but it's possible if they don't screw up against the teams they're supposed to beat and can pull off an upset at home against a team like Arizona State or California. Eight wins is more likely.

Key game: Sept. 30 vs. California. Oregon State beat the Bears 23-20 last year in Berkeley, and now a win in the Pac 10 opener could mean a 4-0 conference start with Washington State, at Washington, and at Arizona ahead before dealing with USC and Arizona State. A win against Cal would also make a bowl appearance close to a mortal lock.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Yards per catch: Opponents 16.3 - Oregon State 12.2
- Penalties; Oregon State 98 for 86 yards - Opponents 62 for 551 yards
- Fourth down conversions: Oregon State 12 of 19 (63%) - Opponents 2 of 11 (18%)

The Last Time Oregon State…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Insight Bowl vs. Notre Dame)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…1983 (Oregon)
…was shutout…2002 (USC)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Oregon)
…went undefeated…1914
…won a conference title…2000 (share, Pac-10)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2004 (Derek Anderson)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2005 (Yvenson Bernard)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2005 (Mike Hass)
…had a first-round draft choice…2004 (RB Steven Jackson)

Related Stories
Oregon State Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
Oregon State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006
Oregon State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 8, 2006

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