First and most importantly, everyone see what I did with the title? Pretty clever right? Only kidding but we find ourselves in a precarious situation as Oregon State fans. One of the greatest players in Oregon State football history is leaving the program and the group of talent behind him is unproven or has proven to be mediocre. Last year, the offensive line was merely adequate, the defense was at times abysmal and at other times only poor. It seems ole OSU might be in a bit of pickle, but there is still a glimmer of hope.
Ryan Katz and the passing attack are the only thing that can save the Beavers from slipping into the bottom of the Pac-12. We have seen massive improvements from quarterbacks from year 1 in Riley's offense to year 2, and if Katz continues to improve then we could see him evolve, much like Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, and to a lesser extent, Sean Canfield. The receiving core remains deep, with James Rodgers returning, Jordan Bishop, Markus Wheaton, and a whole bunch behind them, including lots of new recruits, who will all likely redshirt. The offensive line loses Linnenkohl, which is a big loss but hopefully coach Cav can work some magic to help prepare a new center for the coming season. Although the offense still has some potential, the defense is even more of a question mark.
If the defense is able to improve with youngsters, for instance Michael Doctor, Shaydon Akuna (where did he go to?), and Cameron Collins (I know he's a touch older) they will still stand a chance. The secondary will simply have Poyer step into the cornerback and everything is stable. The real question mark will be how to replace Paea. It is a tough time to replace a 1st round pick, but players like Castro Masaniai and Kevin Frahm will have to fill some of the gap. For defensive end to replace Gabe Miller I'm not sure who is in position to do it, the position might fall to Dominic Glover, but potentially maybe a JC transfer might be able to do it too. If you thought there was uncertainty last year about the defense get ready for a much stronger wave, replacing two linebackers, and three defensive linemen, with no one hurting more than the loss of Paea.
The special teams will have both Poyer and Rodgers returning kicks, Hekker stays on as punter, and Kahut will be followed by greyshirt Trevor Romaine, who will hopefully be more consistent than Kahut. I saw too many kicks missed by Kahut to ever trust any kick of his, including extra points. I am very ready to move on from Kahut, and I hope that Romaine will do well. The return and coverage teams were a strength of Oregon State last year and hopefully they can keep that up, because exceptional play might be needed.
To sum everything up, Oregon State might have a tough time next year, and while there are reasons to still hope for success the loss of Jacquizz Rodgers means so much. He was the focal point of the offense and the impact of his jump to the NFL will be felt for a while. On a side note, after time to think I can accept Quizz leaving, it is his life he is taking care of, he gave three extraordinary years and I only wish the best for him in the future and look forward to watching him on Sundays. While I hope for him to succeed, the team has to find a new running back to focus on or figure out some sort of platoon system. Three players to look for to try and fill Quizz's spot are Ryan McCants, Terron Ward, and Storm Woods. While Woods clearly has the best name, McCants has at times looked like a suitable back, he can be inconsistent and has been known to lose the ball. Terron Ward is a greyshirt and a smaller back, which might draw comparisons to Quizz. He seems to be quick and fast, and thus deserves at least a shot at some playing time. Storm Woods seems to have a good balance of speed and power and has some potential, but we will find out more during spring ball, when things will begin to clear up. There is certainly more going on at OSU than the football team but that will have to exist in a separate post. The current state of OSU football is looking like we see a decrease, but hopefully the Beavers can fight and claw their way to continue to compete.