The Replacements - Offense

Who will fill in for Markus Wheaton? - USA TODAY Sports

With spring ball fast approaching, it raises questions of who will take the lead in the positional battles going into fall camp.

Split End:

  • Former Starter: Markus Wheaton
  • Potential Candidates: Obum Gwacham, Richard Mullaney, Malik Gilmore
  • Coming into spring ball Gwacham is listed as the leader, but after his performance last season it is hard to imagine him becoming the starter while there are other available options. Richard Mullaney received the most playing time last year and has good hands with solid route running ability. Malik Gilmore is a redshirt freshman that has good size and good speed, but with no experience he is still an unknown quantity, he could leapfrog Gwacham come fall however. However I believe the fall depth chart will read Mullaney, Gwacham, and Gilmore.
Right Tackle:
  • Former Starter: Colin Kelly
  • Potential Candidates: Gavin Andrews, Nolan Hansen, Tyler Ropp
  • This positional battle seems a little more cut and dry, where Gavin Andrews is a sophomore that saw spot duty last year, and Hansen and Ropp are both walk-ons from local high schools. Right tackle is typically more of a mauler position as opposed to left tackle, and with Andrews listed at 6' 5" and a whopping 327 pounds he absolutely fits the bill for that.
Tight End/H-Back:
  • Former Listed Starter: Colby Prince/Tyler Perry
  • Potential Candidates: Tyler Perry, Caleb Smith, Connor Hamlett, Kellen Clute
  • This is a little confusing since Hamlett played and was the most prolific tight end for the Beavs last year, but he is now listed as the top H-Back on the depth chart and Perry is listed as the top TE when he was listed last year at H-Back. The H-Back will obviously move around and be a receiving threat, but Hamlett does not have good speed and would probably be best suited for deeper routes where he can win some battles in the air with his height as opposed to trying to outrun defenders. Tyler Perry will most likely start as well, as he has the experience advantage on Smith, but Caleb Smith is too talented to keep off the field as well and will get playing time either in two TE sets or come in for Perry. The pecking order is likely set for Hamlett and Perry to be on the field first but Smith and Clute will also play a substantial amount.
Running Back:
  • Incumbent: Storm Woods
  • Potential Candidates: Storm Woods, Terron Ward, Chris Brown
  • Storm Woods is the incumbent, but his position cannot be safe. Terron Ward had a good last season, and was more than sufficient when Woods was out. Ward runs with a head of steam and made improvements in his sophomore year with seeing the hole and then taking one cut and hitting it. Brown is still unproven, but he was a highly touted freshman and I find it hard to imagine that he will not get some playing time this year. Woods has more physical talent with acceleration that Ward cannot match, but needs to put on weight so he can help prevent getting himself dinged up. Jacquizz Rodgers has even gone on record saying that Woods needs to gain weight:

  • This all said, Woods should still remain the lead back, as he has the talent and experience to be a great back for Oregon State this year, although both Ward and Brown have that capability as well.
Quarterback:
  • Former Starter(s): Sean Mannion/Cody Vaz
  • Potential Candidates: Mannion, Vaz, Richie Harrington, Brent VanderVeen
  • Harrington and VanderVeen have little shot to take over the reins from Vaz or Mannion, but it was assumed that Mannion was the guy last year before Vaz got in. That said the real battle is the one that all Beaver fans have to worry about, Mannion versus Vaz. Mannion has size and generally gets through his reads more quickly than Vaz, but his throwing motion has a little too much of a looping motion and that leads to some inaccurate throws, where he does throw behind a lot of receivers. Vaz has a compact release, throws a tight spiral, and is generally more accurate, but he got rattled against Stanford in the second half and he was downright awful in the Alamo Bowl. Most of his faults fall to decision making, which as a smaller guy he needs to be better at. If Mannion can return to the form we saw from the first half of last season, then he will be the starter. I believe that Mannion at his best is better than Vaz at his best, and thus I believe that Mannion will eventually win the quarterback position.

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