2013 Oregon State Beavers Football Preview
Oregon State Beavers
Head Coach: Mike Riley
2012 Record: 9-4 overall, 6-3 Pac 12 North
2012 Bowl Result: Lost to Texas 31-27 in the Alamo Bowl
2013 Returning Starters: 9 offense, 7 defense
Odds to Win 2014 BCS Championship Game: 200/1
Odds to win 2013 Pac 12 Championship Game: 21/2
Odds to win 2013 Pac 12 North Division: 5/1
Regular Season Wins: under 8 1/2 -175 / over 8 1/2 +135
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Last season, the Oregon State Beavers weren’t expected to do much. However a 6-0 start that included wins over bowl teams, Wisconsin, UCLA, Arizona and BYU surprised a lot of people. Beaver fans had dreams of a Pac 12 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since 1965. However, Oregon State would come down to earth a little in the second half of the season alternating losses and wins. The Beavers had narrow losses at Washington and Stanford by a combined seven points, and Civil War rival Oregon beat them by 24. The Beavers beat Arizona St by 10 and crushed Cal and lowly Nicholls State. OSU would earn a trip to the Alamo Bowl, their first bowl berth in 3 seasons. Unfortunately, they were matched against Texas, in a virtual home game for the Longhorns in San Antonio. Oregon State would take a 10 point lead into the fourth, but Texas would rally with two late touchdowns to win 31-27.
Still it was a great season, and expectations are sky high in Corvallis. Sixteen starters return, but unfortunately they are still in the Pac 12 North with Stanford and Oregon. I don’t know if they are quite on that level yet, but the Beavers will be tough to beat.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the 2013 Oregon State Beavers.
Oregon State offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf is in his sixth year in the position. The first thing he and Riley need to do is decide who will start at quarterback.
Junior Sean Mannion and Senior Cody Vaz each started multiple games last season and neither did much to distance themselves during spring practice. As of this writing Riley had not named his starter. Mannion started the first four games and had great games against UCLA and Arizona. He injured his knee and missed a couple of games. Vaz started against BYU and led the Beavers to an 18 point win. After Mannion returned from the injury he wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in the first four games. Vaz would injure his ankle and miss the Cal and Oregon games. Mannion and Vaz both played in the rout of Nicholls St, but Vaz started the bowl game and Mannion did not play. Mannion completed 64.7% of his passes for 2,446 yards with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Vaz completed 58.9% of his passes for 1,480 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Both had negative rushing yards and no touchdowns.
Sophomore running back Storm Woods had a fantastic freshman year. If not for a midseason injury that kept him out of the Arizona St game, he would have rushed for 1,000 yards. As it was, he finished with 192 carries, 940 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 38 catches for 313 yards. He suffered a concussion in spring practice, but is expected to be fine by the start of the season. Sophomore Terron Ward had 68 carries for 415 yards and 6 touchdowns, and caught 10 passes. Last year’s third leading rusher Malcolm Agnew transferred to Southern Illinois. Redshirt freshman Chris Brown will also get some carries as will fullback Tyler Anderson. Anderson had 3 rushing touchdowns last year.
The Beavers must replace leading receiver Markus Wheaton who had 91 catches, 1,244 yards and 11 touchdowns, along with 20 carries, 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. Junior Brandin Cooks had 67 catches, 1,151 yards, and 5 touchdowns, along with 82 rushing yards. Junior Obum Gwacham and sophomore Richard Mullaney will rotate at split end. Mullaney had 13 catches last season, but sat out spring practice as he recovered from shoulder surgery. He is expected to be ready by the start of the season. Gwachem only caught two passes last year but one of them was for a touchdown. Kevin Cummings will start at the slot after making 18 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown a year ago. Hybrid H-Back/tight end junior Connor Hamlett had 32 catches, 403 ayrds and 3 touchdowns. Caleb Smith will also see some action at tight end. Senior Micah Hatfield will back-up Cooks, and made 9 catches and 2 touchdowns last year.
The offensive line returns 4 starters with the exception of right tackle Colin Kelly. Gavin Andrews will replace Kelly. Senior right guard Grant Enger was honorable mention All-Pac 12 last year and has started 21 games. Sophomore center Isaac Seumalo was freshman All-America last year. Left tackle Michael Philipp has started 35 games in his career. Senior left guard Josh Andrews started all 13 games last season.
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Last year, Oregon State had the #22 scoring defense in the country allowing just 20.6 points a game under coordinator Mark Banker. The defensive turnaround was a big reason why Oregon St won 9 games last season. With seven starters returning, the defense looks to maintain that high level of play.
The line must replace both starting tackles but both ends return. Junior Scott Crichton had 44 tackles, 17.5 for loss, and 9 sacks. Junior Dylan Wynn had 49 tackles, and a sack last year. Senior John Braun and Devon Kell will back them up at the ends. JUCO transfers Edwin Delva and Siale Hautau will start at the tackles. Hautau broke his hand in spring practice but will be ready by the season opener. Mana Rosa and Ali’i Robins will add depth at tackle.
Senior captain and weak side linebacker Michael Doctor had 83 tackles, 11 for loss, and broke up 5 passes. Junior D.J. Alexander will start on the strong side after making 58 tackles, 7 for loss and 1.5 sacks. Sophomore Joel Skotte and junior Josh Williams will rotate in the middle.
The Beavers must replace cornerback Jordan Poyer but the other 3 starters return. Senior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds had 75 tackles, 3 picks, and broke up 16 passes. Senior Sean Martin and JUCO transfer Steven Nelson will rotate at the other corner. Martin made 43 tackles and two interceptions and started 3 games. Junior strong safety Tyrequek Zimmerman had 63 tackles. Junior free safety Ryan Murphy had 67 tackles and 2 picks. Senior Steven Christian adds depth at safety.
Junior kicker Trevor Romaine was honorable mention All-Pac 12 last year making 51 of 54 extra points and 16 of 18 field goals. He is also very strong on kickoffs. The Beavers were in the top 20 nationally in kickoff coverage. Romaine could be among the nation’s best kickers.
Junior punter Keith Kostol averaged 41.9 yards, forced 23 fair catches and landed 40% of his punts inside the 20.
It isn’t clear who will replace Poyer as the punt returner but Cooks has volunteered. Ward will return kicks again. Either way, the return game was dismal last year, as OSU was 87th in punt return and 109th on kick returns.
The first half schedule isn’t too difficult. The Beavers open with home games against Eastern Washington and Hawaii. Then comes a two game road trip to Utah and San Diego St. OSU shouldn’t overlook a dangerous San Diego St team on the road. The Beavers host Colorado before traveling to Washington St and Cal. A 7-0 start is a very good possibility, but the second half is much more difficult. Stanford, USC, and Washington all come to Corvallis, and Oregon St travels to Arizona State and Oregon to close out the season. All five of those teams went to bowl games last year.
The Beavers have experience on both sides of the ball. However, with a tough stretch of games to close out the season, I can’t see more than 9 wins, and that would involve winning the games they should and also beating Washington, Arizona St, and upsetting USC. Another mid-tier bowl game such as the Holiday or Alamo seems about right for Oregon State.
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