#16 Oregon State Football 2013 Preview

Oregon State Beavers

Overall Rank: #16
#3 Pac-12

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Oregon State got off to a nice start in 2012. En route to a 6-0 record, the Beavers beat Wisconsin, UCLA, Arizona and BYU. They then lost four of their last seven, including a close loss to Texas in the Alamo Bowl. Coach Mike Riley has been building this group up for a few years now and this is the time to compete for a Pac-12 title. Unfortunately, they have to go through Stanford and Oregon to reach that goal.

2012 Record: 9-4, 6-3
2012 Bowl: Alamo Bowl vs. Texas (L 27-31)
Coach: Mike Riley (87-67 at Oregon State, 87-67 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Danny Langsdorf
Defensive Coordinator: Mark Banker

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Storm Woods, RB, 940 yards
Passing: Sean Mannion, QB, 2,446 yards
Receiving: Brandin Cooks, WR, 1,151 yards
Tackles: Michael Doctor, LB, 83
Sacks: Scott Crichton, DE, 9.0
Interceptions: Rashaad Reynolds, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: RB Terron Ward, QB Cody Vaz, WR Kevin Cummings, TE Connor Hamlett, OL Michael Philipp, OL Josh Andrews, OL Grant Enger, LB DJ Alexander, DE Dylan Wynn, S Pyan Murphy, S Tyrequek Zimmerman, K Trevor Romaine, P Keith Kostol

Key Losses: WR Markus Wheaton, OL Colin Kelly, LB Feti Unga, DB Jordan Poyer, S Anthony Watkins

There is proven talent all over the field. The offense boasts a line that returns four starters. Wide receiver Brandin Cooks caught 67 passes for 1,151 yards and five scores and there are plenty of options to help replace the production of Markus Wheaton. Kevin Cummings only caught 18 passes as a junior, but he was a solid playmaker by the end of last season. Obum Gwacham has had a nice spring and the big 6-5, 224 pound receiver could be a nice red zone target along with tight end Connor Hamlett. Running back Storm Woods rushed for 940 yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman and will eye the 1,000 yard plateau this time around. Terron Ward proved to be a tough backup to Woods and averaged over six yards per carry and recorded six touchdowns. The playmakers on defense have been just as productive. Scott Crichton recorded 9.0 sacks during his sophomore season and Dylan Wynn is back to man the other end spot. Versatile outside linebackers D.J. Alexander and Michael Doctor are ready to become leaders. Starting safeties Ryan Murphy and Tyrequek Zimmerman are also back.

If the Beavers are going to have any shot at winning the Pac-12, everything needs to come together and there are a few positions where questions remain. The most notable is at quarterback where Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz continue their battle for the starting job. Both are pocket passers and both are pretty good. Coach Riley just needs to settle on a starter and allow them to develop into a leader. Mannion, a 6-5 junior, was the more productive quarterback in 2012, throwing for 2,446 yards and 15 touchdowns. However, he did throw 13 interceptions. Cody Vaz only completed three passes to the wrong team, while ending up with 11 touchdowns and 1,480 yards passing. Whoever wins the job will put up big numbers in this offense, yet it would be helpful if a leader could emerge by starting the entire season. The problems on defense are right up the gut. Both starting tackles need to be replaced and OSU is hoping a couple junior college transfers can get the job done. Sophomore Joel Skotte is being asked to do a lot at middle linebacker and it remains to be seen if he is ready for the job. Jordan Poyer is gone after tallying seven interceptions during his senior season. The opposition is going to avoid Rashaad Reynolds so it is extremely important that the Beavers find a productive corner opposite of him. Junior college transfer Steven Nelson is the most interesting option.

The Bottom Line:
Coach Riley has gone out and filled those holes with experienced players and the program is ready to win right now because of it. The non-conference schedule, which includes Eastern Washington, Hawaii and San Diego State, is very manageable. The Beavers also get Stanford, USC and Washington at home. The Beavers do not have UCLA or Arizona on the schedule this year and that could certainly have been worse. The game at Oregon to wrap up the regular season should have Pac-12 title implications. If all goes well, the Civil War could mean even more for the Ducks and the Beavers.

Projected Bowl: Holiday Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 124.38 (100th in nation, 10th in conference)
Passing Offense: 307.08 (20, 2)
Total Offense: 431.46 (43, 6)
Scoring Offense: 32.54 (37, 5)
Rushing Defense: 129.46 (27, 3)
Pass Defense: 224.54 (49, 3)
Total Defense: 354.00 (30, 3)
Scoring Defense: 20.62 (22, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.62 (27, 3)
Sacks: 2.15 (50, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.54 (94, 6)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#36 Scott Crichton

Madness 2013 Football Recruit Rankings:
#187 Dashon Hunt


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