Oregon St. Spring Depth (And Sometimes Lack Thereof) Chart

This is what Oregon St. football looked like far too often last season. The Beavers begin spring practice Wednesday, but injuries will delay sorting out the situation with the lines for a while. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. football coach Mike Riley has announced the depth chart as the Beavers prepare to start spring drills next week, and the lack of depth at many positions once injuries are factored in has prompted Riley to cancel the non game scrimmage that traditionally wraps up spring ball.

Five projected starters, including 2 of the offensive linemen, Grant Enger and Colin Kelly, and one starting defensive lineman, Castro Masaniai, will not see physical action outside of their rehab work during spring ball, and starting Slot Receiver Jordan Bishop and starting safety Anthony Watkins, are also out with ankle and shoulder injuries, respectively.

A. Watkins' brother Brian, who sees lots of action as the nickel back, backup safety, and on special teams, is also unavailable, due to a shoulder injury.

The offensive line and linebacker groups were further thinned in the off season, when MLB Tony Wilson, who has started when healthy over his career, and offensive lineman Darryl Jackson both announced they will have to give up football due to lingering injury problems. Jackson has hip trouble, and Wilson, who missed an entire year with a knee injury, has also missed part or all of several games, and struggled to perform up to his potential at times, due to persistent stinger problems.

OFFENSIVE DEPTH CHART

Year, Name, Ht/Wt

Quarterback
So. Sean Mannion 6-5/215
Jr. Cody Vaz 6-0/198
Jr. Jack Lomax 6-3/171
RFr. Richie Harrington 6-1/223

Running back
So. Malcolm Agnew 5-8/204
Sr. Jordan Jenkins 6-1/209
So. Terron Ward 5-7/192
RFr. Storm Woods 5-10/202
Jr. Jovan Stevenson* 5-11/185

Fullback
Sr. Clayton York 6-0/235
So. Tyler Anderson 5-10/215
RFr. Michael Balfour 5-8/234
RFr. Tyler Renne 5-8/249

Split end
Sr. Markus Wheaton 6-0/180
RFr. Richard Mullaney 6-1/191
Sr. Geno Munoz 6-0/195
So. Jeff Bedbury 5-10/190

Flanker
So. Brandin Cooks 5-9/177
Jr. Micah Hatfield 6-1/178
RFr. Tyler Trosin 5-10/192

Slot back
Sr. Jordan Bishop* 6-3/205
So. Obum Gwacham 6-5/224
Jr. Kevin Cummings 6-1/180
Jr. Mitch Singler 6-2/208
RFr. Kramer Ferrell 5-10/182

Tight end
Sr. Colby Prince, 6-5/262
So. Tyler Perry 6-4/256

H-back
So. Connor Hamlett 6-7/259
RFr. Kellen Clute 6-4/246
Fr. Caleb Smith 6-6/250
RFr. Austin Slade-Matautia 6-/223

Left tackle
Sr. Colin Kelly* 6-5/298
RFr. Justin Addie 6-2/323

Left guard
Jr. Josh Andrews 6-2/297

Center
So. Roman Sapolu 6-2/284
RFr. Jake Welch 6-2/322

Right guard
Jr. Grant Enger* 6-5/282
So. Michael Beaton 6-3/292
RFr. David Vieru 6-3/330

Right tackle
Jr. Michael Philipp 6-4/324
So. Derek Nielsen 6-4/286

DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART

Year, Name, Ht/Wt

Left end
So. Scott Crichton 6-3/263
Jr. Devon Kell, 6-4/250
Sr. Rusty Fernando 6-3/242
RFr. Lavonte Barnett 6-1/236
RFr. Akeem Gonzales 6-3/233

Left tackle
Sr. Castro Masaniai* 6-3/351
Jr. Mana Rosa 6-3/275
So. Joe Lopez 6-0/273
RFr. Brandon Jackson-Bennett 6-1/267

Right tackle
Sr. Andrew Seumalo 6-3/287
RFr. Desmond Collins 6-2/269
So. Mana Tuivailala 6-3/273
Jr. Blake Harrah* 6-1/262
Fr. Noa Aluesi 6-6/281

Right end
So. Dylan Wynn 6-2/265
Sr. Rudolf Fifita 6-3/263
Jr. John Braun 6-5/274
RFr. Ali'i Robbins 6-1/270

Outside linebacker
So. DJ Welch 6-2/220
So. Jabral Johnson 6-0/234
Sr. Shiloah Te'o 5-10/221
RFr. Will Storey 6-1/227
So. Kyle Egan 5-11/235

Middle linebacker
Sr. Kevin Unga 6-1/248
Sr. Rueben Robinson 6-3/235
So. Josh Williams 6-0/239
RFr. Jaswha James 6-1/251
RFr. Kyle Gardner 5-10/225
Jr. Charlie Gilmur 6-1/235

Outside linebacker
Jr. Michael Doctor 6-0/223
Jr. Cade Cowdin 6-2/220
So. Shaydon Akuna 6-2/249
Jr. Zeke Sanders, 6-1/212
Fr. Caleb Saulo 6-2/215

Safety
Sr. Anthony Watkins* 6-1/217
So. Tyrequek Zimmerman 5-11/206
RFr. Micah Audiss 6-1/206

Safety
So. Ryan Murphy 6-3/213
RFr. Peter Ashton 6-1/211

Cornerback
Sr. Jordan Poyer 6-0/190
Sr. Keynan Parker 5-11/178
So. Malcolm Marable 5-7/172
RFr. Larry Scott* 5-11/192
Sr. Brian Watkins* 5-9/185

Cornerback
Jr. Rashaad Reynolds 5-10/186
Jr. Sean Martin 6-0/186
Sr. Danny Evans 6-3/189
Sr. Ryan Handford 5-9/204
RFr. Naji Partick 5-8/190

SPECIAL TEAMS DEPTH CHART

Place-kicker
So. Trevor Romaine 5-11/200
Fr. Andrew Mikkelsen 6-1/192

Punter
Jr. Tim McMullen 6-3/232
So. Keith Kostol 6-3/189

Long snapper
So. Michael Morovick 6-0/223
RFr. Troy Whalen 6-1/199

Kickoff returns
Sr. Jordan Poyer 6-0/190
So. Malcolm Marable 5-7/172

Punt returns
Sr. Jordan Poyer 6-0/190
So. Brandin Cooks 5-9/177

*Injured and not active this spring.

Offensive Line A Lot Of Question Marks

The first place everyone inside and outside the Oregon St. program will look at the depth chart is obviously the offensive line, which was out-sized and injury riddled the last couple of seasons, contributing considerably to the Beavers' problems with both running the ball and passing it effectively. And now, substantial experience is gone as well.

In looking at the lineup, every starter is a) starting for the first time, b) starting at a new position (both Kelly and Phillip are flipping sides from where they have worked previously), or c) missing spring ball due to injuries except left guard Josh Andrews, or in several cases, more than one of the above. And Andrews wasn't a full time starter last season, and has no backup.

The fact that JC transfer Stan Hasiak isn't coming until summer, instead of enrolling at Oregon St. for spring term, and participating in spring practice, can only be seen as another big red flag as well.

This group doesn't need position drills, it needs to settle on a starting lineup and work as a unit against full speed defense extensively. As it stands, the work that should be happening during the month of April will be happening in September, in counting games. Games Riley can not call off.

Malcolm_agnew_dsc07803_medium

It makes the relative health of RB Malcolm Agnew, above, slowed much of last season by hamstring problems, and the progress of the rest of the running back group almost a moot point, and impossible to gauge at this point.

Defensive Line Fast But Small

At least exclusive of Masaniai, who represents the only thing resembling a run stopper on the roster. Unfortunately, Masaniai has been unable to stay healthy either of the last 2 years, and one of those he wasn't even a regular.

Edge speed should be good, with Scott Crichton, who was the one of the best freshmen in the Pac-12 last year, and improving sophomore Dylan Wynn at the ends, with Rusty Fernando providing even more speed in relief of them.

Much of the chance for the Oregon St. defense to be successful this season will hinge on how undersized Sr. DT Andrew Seumalo, 6'3", and only 287 lbs., does against the typical 300 lb.+ offensive linemen he will go up against in most games, especially if Masaniai can't stay on the field.

To understand why Oregon St. football has declined significantly for 3 years in a row, one only has to consider that the Beavers led the nation in rush defense in 2007, and were last in the Pac-12, and 101st in the country, last year. There are plenty of issues throughout the program, but it remains a truism in football that if you cannot stop the run, you cannot win. At least not with any consistency.

Linebackers Need To Stay Healthy

Even without Wilson, the linebacking group looks to be "OK", but only as long as they stay healthy. Which was another big part of the problem last season. Kevin Unga couldn't stay healthy last season either, and injury trouble on the edge meant Reuben Robinson was in several situations forced into matchups he did not have the speed to handle.

Robinson has moved back inside this season, but this isn't an overall fast group, and if they have to shuffle around in order to get bodies on the field, rather than putting the right players in the right positions, the speed and field coverage responsibilities that some of the spread offenses they will face will shred them again.

Michael_doctor_dsc05892_medium

Michael Doctor, above, represents the Beavers' best outside linebacker, and will need to have a good season, and a breakout year by sophomore DJ Welch on the other side would certainly help. Welch is another of the numerous freshmen who lacked consistency, but gained valuable experience playing as freshmen that does give some reason for optimism this season.

Defensive Backfield A Big Area Of Interest

Jordan_poyer_dsc08624_medium

Senior All-Pac-12 corner Jordan Poyer, above, is back to anchor the secondary, but as noted, the Watkins brothers won't be working on the field this spring, which is highly unfortunate, given that new defensive backs coach Rod Perry, the most significant coaching staff change this season, needs to get the unit working as a unit.

Which is another reason the lack of scrimmages, and a spring game, is going to really set things back for the Beavers. What Perry, who took over after Keith Heyward left to join the completely overhauled Washington Husky defensive staff, decides to do systematically will be critical, given the infusion of passing offenses such as at Arizona, under new coach Rich Rodriguez, and Washington St., whose' new coach Mike Leach will introduce the "Air Raid" offense to the Pac-12.

Given that run support is (hopefully) going to occupy the linebackers this year, the secondary is going to be on its own a lot, and Perry's experience is going to have to find creative ways for the secondary to help each other. Poyer is the only one proven to be able to successfully go it alone with any regularity. Junior corner Rashaad Reynolds, at 5'10", in particular has struggled when faced with 1 on 1 coverage against an array of wide receivers who are both bigger and faster, so coverage schemes, a concept largely unfamiliar to defensive coordinator Mark Banker, are necessary to put players into position to make plays.

Expect A Lot Of Passes

Marcus_wheaton_dsc06260_medium

Despite Riley's acknowledgement that the Beavers have got to redevelop the ability to run the ball, its clear that Oregon St. will again rely a lot on the passing game again this season. Even with WR James Rodgers and TE Joe Halahuni graduating, the receiving group is still the strongest unit on the team. Senior WR Marcus Wheaton, above, and Sophomore flanker Brandin Cooks are going to get the ball thrown their way by Sophomore quarterback Sean Mannion a lot.

Mannion really needed to be able to also work a lot with Bishop under game conditions this spring in order to develop some confidence (and hopefully accuracy) in Mannion, who tended to lock onto Wheaton too often last year, and the absence of Bishop and live scrimmages are both most unfortunate.

Of course, that assumes that Mannion, the clear only choice at quarterback actually plays all fall. A year ago, no one anticipated that Ryan Katz, the clear only choice at that time at quarterback, one who was anticipated on a national level to be a force last year, would be discarded at halftime of the season opener against a FCS opponent.

Workouts begin on Wednesday, and there has never been a time when the opportunity for an unanticipated star has the opportunity to emerge than this spring.

(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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