2009 Oregon State Preview - Offense
Oregon State WR James Rodgers
CollegeFootballNews.com 2009 Preview - Oregon State Beaver Offense
need to know: The offense will once again revolve around
the Rodgers brothers, Jacquizz and James, the explosive duo,
who’ll vex defenses with their speed, quickness, and
versatility. When either has the ball in space, opposing
defenses are almost forced into crisis mode. They’re that
dangerous. The senior getting them the ball remains a mystery
that might not be solved until late in August. Lyle Moevao is
the incumbent, but he missed the spring recovering from shoulder
surgery, creating an opportunity for lefty Sean Canfield. One of
the two needs to be more consistent under center than the
program has witnessed in recent years. The Beavers must also
replace a quartet of All-Pac-10 players, two at wide receiver
and two on the left side of the line. For now, redshirt freshman
Colin Kelly is penciled in at left tackle, which is cause for
some sleepless nights around Corvallis.
Preview 2009 - Offense
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2009 OSU Offense
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2009 OSU Depth
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Passing: Lyle Moevao
214-361, 2,534 yds, 19 TD, 13 INT
Rushing: Jacquizz Rodgers
259 carries, 1,253 yds, 11 TD
Receiving: James Rodgers
51 catches, 607 yds, 4 TD
Star of the
Sophomore RB Jacquizz Rodgers
Player who has to step up and become a star: Redshirt
freshman LT Colin Kelly
Unsung star on the rise: Junior C Alex Linnenkohl
Best pro prospect: Rodgers
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Jacquizz Rodgers, 2) WR
James Rodgers, 3) QB Lyle Moevao
Strength of the offense: The Rodgers, Quarterback Depth
Weakness of the offense: Quarterback Efficiency, Wide
Starter: Two senior quarterbacks vying for one job.
And head coach Mike Riley plans to use all of his allotted
time to make a decision. The incumbent, 5-11, 220-pound
played well last season, but has left the door open after
sitting out the offseason with a shoulder injury. The
definition of a tough, scrappy player, he doesn’t look the
part, but is a human sparkplug and the vocal leader of the
offense. Although he can drive the coaches batty with his
decision-making and penchant for forcing passes, he throws
with some zip and is more mobile than the competition. An
honorable mention All-Pac-10 selection last year, he
finished 214-of-361 for 2,534 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13
While Moevao sat, 6-4, 214-pound
pulled into a dead heat, a complete role reversal from the
spring of 2008. Although he’s played a ton of football in
Corvallis, he’s never approached the expectations that came
with his signing in 2005. The more prototypical pocket
passer of the pair, he’s struggled badly with his
consistency, labors to escape pressure, and has thrown more
career picks than touchdowns. He showed flashes in the
spring and was in terrific shape, but he’ll have to deliver
in September to convert his skeptics.
Reserves: The runner-up in the Moevao-Canfield race
will be the No. 2 quarterback. Since both are seniors, the
battle for third-string will be interesting because it could
be a sneak preview of next summer. Coming out of spring, the
job belonged to 6-1, 205-pound redshirt freshman
Ryan Katz. He
gets maximum RPMs on his passes, shows good touch throwing
on the move, and has a nice grasp of the system. At this
early stage, he’s the quarterback of the future in
Remember the name
Peter Lalich? He
was the starting quarterback at Virginia last September
before getting in trouble, getting booted, and deciding to
transfer about as far away as geographically possible. A
6-4, 229-pound junior, he can really wing it, and has the
edge over Katz in game experience. If he adapts quick
enough, he could wind up being the second-coming of Derek
Anderson before running out of eligibility.
Watch Out For…
Moevao to be in the huddle when Portland State visits Sept.
5. Of course, that’s assuming his shoulder is fine. Forget
what you think a quarterback should look like. Moevao has a
certain set of intangibles that Canfield will never possess.
He inspires his teammates, he’ll bury a linebacker downfield
on a block, and he’ll make plays to keep drives alive.
Basically, he gives the Beavers their best chance to win.
Multiple players with starting experience. Moevao has 15
career starts under center. Canfield has 11. Having more
than one quarterback, who’s played in big games and who
understands the speed of the Pac-10 is a luxury that few
schools can claim.
Weakness: Turnovers. Overall consistency in the
passing game is a problem that’s plagued this program for
many years. Two years ago, Moevao and Canfield combined to
throw 21 interceptions. Last season, there were 15. Unless
that figure continues to come down, the quarterback will be
an occasional fly in the offensive ointment.
really doesn’t matter who gets the ball in September as long
as that guy produces and cuts down on the turnovers. Both
Moevao and Canfield have proven they can pilot the Beavers
to wins, which is comforting, especially in a year filled
with so much turnover. Health issues aside, Moevao would
appear to have a slight edge simply because he’s played the
catalyst role better in the past.
Starters: Quiz. It’s not just for professors anymore
in Corvallis. Sophomore
Jacquizz Rodgers became an overnight and improbable rock star in his
first season out of high school, becoming the first freshman
ever to be named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the year. A
blend of shiftiness and power in a compact, 5-7, 193-pound
frame, he’s always moving forward and surprisingly difficult
to bring down. Despite not being the starter when the season
began and missing the final two games, he wound up with
1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns on 259 carries, adding 29
receptions for 247 yards and another score.
Reserves: Now that Jeremy Francis has decided to not
return to Corvallis, it’s more important than ever for 6-1,
Ryan McCants to develop into a reliable backup. The
starter at the beginning of last season, he quickly gave way
to Rodgers, finishing with 337 yards and two scores on 85
carries. A north-south runner, who’ll do most of his damage
between the tackles, he’ll be looking to bounce back from a
knee injury suffered in the spring.
Sneaking up on
McCants and looking to steal some of his snaps will be 5-11,
184-pound true freshman
who delayed enrollment by greyshirting last season. However,
he made a strong first impression throughout the spring,
flashing the speed, quickness, and soft hands to carve out a
role in the rotation this fall.
Watch Out For…
the staff to search for new ways to get the ball in Rodgers’
hands. In just one year, he’s already become one of the most
dangerous offensive weapons in the country. Look for Oregon
State to get creative, exploring all options for getting him
in space, much the way it does with his older brother James.
Quizz. It sort of gets redundant, but did you watch the film
of last September’s USC game? He almost single-handedly
defeated the Trojans, a defense that would go on to finish
No. 2 nationally in total defense and No. 1 in scoring
defense. He uses his stature as a tool, and can beat
defenses on the inside or to the outside.
Durability. Rodgers isn’t very big, and spent the tail end
of last year on the shelf with a shoulder injury. McCants is
trying to make it back in time for the opener after going
under the knife in April. If either one of these, especially
Rodgers, is lost for any period of time, the running game
and overall depth is going to suffer.
Well, it didn’t take the program long to recover from the
loss of Yvenson Bernard, did it? After taking the country by
storm in 2008, what can Rodgers possibly do for an encore.
If he can stay healthy for the entire season, a concern in
Corvallis, he’ll stockpile the numbers and the individual
accolades for a second straight season.
Starters: Last year’s top two receivers, Sammie
Stroughter and Shane Morales, have departed, leaving the
offense with holes to fill in the passing game. The one
constant will be 5-7, 185-pound junior
the Beavers’ flanker and most versatile playmaker. Part
receiver and part running back, he’ll hurt defenses catching
passes or taking handoffs on the fly sweep. An electrifying
weapon whenever the ball is in his hands, he caught 51
passes for 607 yards and four touchdowns, adding 408 yards
and five more scores on just 46 carries.
Stroughter at split end will be 5-11, 173-pound junior
who’s coming off his best spring with the program. A bit of
a disappointment last season, he only made seven grabs for
95 yards, a far cry from his freshman debut. However, he has
seized the opportunity in the offseason, showing the
separation speed and athletic ability to evolve into the
long ball hitter of this group.
In the slot, the
staff is turning to 6-2, 205-pound junior
Casey Kjos, who’ll be getting his first opportunity to be more than
just a special teams contributor. Although he only had two
catches for 15 yards a year ago, he’s proven in practice to
be a precise route runner with some of the most reliable
hands on the team.
Although 6-3, 240-pound senior
Howard Croom has
a team-high 23 career starts, earning another one is going
to require a strong summer session. While he’ll no doubt
have a role on offense, it could be diminished by the team’s
depth at the position. A better blocker than pass-catcher,
he had just six receptions for 37 yards, a sharp decline
from the previous year.
Reserves: As the reserves jockeyed for positioning
in the offseason, no wide receiver stood out more than 6-3,
199-pound redshirt freshman
Jordan Bishop. He
consistently flashed the big-play skills and sure hands that
will earn him more than just occasional reps as the backup
to Catchings at split end.
Running neck-and-neck with
Croom at tight end is 6-4, 259-pound junior
Brady Camp. In
fact, if he wins the job in the summer, it wouldn’t surprise
anyone. He has better size than the incumbent, using his
frame to blow up defenders on running plays and establish
position as a receiver. He led all tight ends in 2008 with a
dozen catches for 92 yards and two scores.
Beavers employ the use of an H-back, 6-3, 240-pound junior
John Reese is
likely to get the call. A powerful downfield blocker and
reliable intermediate receiver, he pulled down 10 balls for
109 yards a year ago.
Watch Out For…
the tight ends and H-backs to have an expanded role. Oregon
State has always liked using these guys to soften the middle
of the field, but they’ll be even busier as the new wide
receivers get comfortable in September and October. The
Beavers are well-stocked with veteran tight end, which also
raises their value.
Playmakers. Even without Stroughter, Oregon State is
confident it harbors the receivers needed to be a
quick-strike offense. While it all starts with the dynamic
Rodgers, it’ll be worth watching the development of
Catchings as well. His type 2 diabetes now under control,
he’s poised to become the field-stretcher that the offense
Proven depth at wide receiver. Hey, Bishop has looked like
the real deal in practice, but it should be a concern when
the best-looking backup has yet to play a real game. The
Beavers’ most productive backup a year ago, Kjos, had just a
pair of catches.
Outlook: Rodgers, like brother Jacquizz, is a
bona fide star, but he’s going to need a little protection
now that Stroughter and Morales are gone. If the passing
game is going to click and provide balance for the offense,
it’s imperative that Catchings and Kjos catch at least 35
passes apiece this season.
Starters: With the loss of four seniors and an
all-star left side of the line, the Beavers have spent part
of the offseason trying to retool and recharge the front
wall. They do believe they have a budding rock at center in
6-2, 297-pound junior
Alex Linnenkohl, a 13-game starter in his first season
of extensive action. Quick to the second level, tenacious,
and always scrapping, he’s exactly what Oregon State seeks
in its offensive linemen.
To his immediate right,
Linnenkohl will see a familiar face, 6-3, 295-pound
Gregg Peat, who
started every game at guard last season. A steady,
consistent blocker, especially on running downs, he’s not
drawing attention from the NFL, but he’s also not the kind
of player that’s going to hurt this unit with mental
Rounding out the right side of the line at
tackle will be 6-4, 299-pound sophomore
Mike Remmers, a
starter during the first half of last season. Although he
struggled in pass protection and was eventually replaced by
Tavita Thompson, he does have the size and strength to play
the position once he sharpens his technique and improves his
The narrow favorite at left guard is 6-3,
284-pound junior Ryan Pohl, who has played only a handful of games over the last two
seasons. One of the smartest and most versatile members of
this unit, he can play just about any position if needed. A
little undersized for the position, he uses his hands well
and has the light feet to get out of the box in a hurry.
The biggest question mark will be at left tackle, where
6-4, 284-pound redshirt freshman
Colin Kelly took
a slight edge out of spring. If Lyle Moevao is the
quarterback, it means the rookie will be protecting his
blindside. He’s added weight and improved his strength since
arriving, yet remains very nimble for his size. While he has
a chance to be special, the learning curve this season will
Reserves: Kelly’s chief competition at left tackle
will come from 6-4, 288-pound junior
the veteran of the second unit. A transfer from Hawaii and a
backup before hurting his wrist in 2008, he has the raw
athletic ability that the coaches believe can be molded into
a productive offensive lineman.
Pohl may have a lead
at left guard, but it’s slim. Sophomore Michael Lamb
figures to mount a challenge once he returns from a knee
injury in the summer. He’s tough at the point of contact,
and has shown an ability to drive defenders off the ball and
back on their heels.
Watch Out For…
Michael Philipp. The school’s top recruit of 2009 and a
target of most Pac-10 programs, he is physically ready to
contribute immediately. A dominant run blocker and solid
pass protector, he’ll be the most watched rookie in August.
The coaches have already stated, however, that if he doesn’t
start, he’s going to redshirt.
The right side, including center. A big concern last summer,
from Linnenkohl to Remmers is where the Beavers will be
running most of their plays this season. All three players
started last season, which will serve them well as they
become the new leaders of the offensive line.
The left side. This is where the situation could become
precarious this season. Looking to succeed Andy Levitre and
Adam Speer, a pair of All-Pac-10 performers, are Kelly and
Pohl, who have just a couple of career starts between them.
Obviously, the drop-off from last season is going to be
Outlook: While line coach Mike Cavanaugh perennially
does a fantastic job here, he’ll have his hands full this
season. Sure, there’s potential up front, especially if
Philipp is set to start, but there’s no true anchor and
those issues to the left of Linnenkohl could take much of
the year to solve. Cavanaugh will coach them up, as always,
but this won’t be a vintage Beaver line.