2011 Record: 3-9; 3-6 Pac 12
2011 Bowl: N/A
Head Coach: Mike Riley
Odds to win BCS: 500/1
Odds to win Pac 12: 60/1
Odds to win Pac 12 North Div: 20/1
Odds from Bovada
Sean Mannion will return at QB for the Beavers and he’s coming off an excellent year in which he threw for 3,328 yards and 16 TDs. He has some nice receivers in Markus Wheaton, Brandin Cooks, and Jordan Bishop. The offense can only improve after ranking 11th of 12 in Pac 12 scoring with just 21.8 points per game, and 10th in total yardage with 373.7 yards per game. The OL and running backs will be the key to improving upon that…
In six games last year, the Beavers rushed for 50 total yards, which left Mannion struggling to carry the entire load. Their leading returning rusher is Malcolm Agnew, but he’s has had hamstring problems. Storm Woods, a redshirt freshman, will start at RB.
“We had a real good battle, Malcolm and Terron were right there … it’s from months of evaluation. (Storm’s) played well. There’s no specific thing, it’s just performance overall.”
Incoming freshman Chris Brown will also be looked at extensively for heavy duties. All three must account for more rushing for this team to finish any better than the 3-9 they did last year, and Athlon magazine doesn’t expect much improvement, predicting another 3-9 finish for the Beavers.
The defense returns eight starters, but they were horrible last year, so let’s not put too much faith in that. They couldn’t stop the run last year, allowing 196.8 yards per game, ranking last place in the Pac 12. They have two good DEs in Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn, but will have issues at DT, where they were ravaged by injuries in 2011.
The Beavers should be good at linebacker where they have D.J. Welch at outside linebacker and the secondary should be strong as well, as CB Jordan Poyer will be entering his senior season for OSU. They have some outstanding athletes joining him in the backfield.
No matter what happens, the Beavers must improve their defense against the run, as it has typically been a strength of the program. To do so, they need big strides from their entire defense to prevent big plays, which were a problem, as one would expect from a defense that gave up 411.3 yards per game (5th worst in the Pac 12).
Bruce Read is the special teams coach and has NFL experience. Losing punter Johnny Hekker hurts though. Hekker will be replaced by Aussie Tim McMullen. Trevor Romaine will be the place kicker and is entering his sophomore year. Last year as a freshman, Romaine hit 15 of 22 field goals.
Riley is going to have to get some production from his defense or risk losing his job. He can’t have a repeat of last year, yet it seems inevitable that he will. There’s been little turnover in a defense that was horrible last year and Riley knows the development of his young guys is going to be crucial towards this season and moving forward. The OL has to be better, too, or it’s going to be a long season for the Beavers on both sides of the ball.