Oregon State released their most current edition of their 2009 football schedule this week, a schedule that includes non-conference match-ups with Portland State, UNLV, and Cincinnati. We'll begin by taking an early look at the Portland State Vikings.
Portland State will always be a threat as long as Jerry Glanville (right) is head coach, but the Vikings underachieved in the win column in 2008. They did improve a game from the 2007 season, but the 4-7 overall record and 3-5 mark in the Big Sky wasn't exactly what Viking fans were hoping for. The Vikings were 4-1 at home, including a win over then-11th-ranked Eastern Washington, 47-36. PSU had been just 1-4 at home in 2007.
Glanville did have his share of challenges, however, as he only had ten returning starters to work with. Fifty of 92 players on the roster were new to the program, and 19 freshmen (11 true freshmen) saw game action in 2008. Glanville's accustomed "Run and Shoot" offense led the nation in passing, and the Vikings averaged just over 372 yards per game passing.
The Vikings are scheduled to return 16 starters (8 on offense, 7 on defense, 1 on special teams) to the roster for the 2009 season. Seven other players with starting experience should also be back, and the Vikings are expected to have 50 returning letter-winners at their disposal.
Many of the key components of Glanville's offense will return, including junior quarterback Drew Hubel of Corvallis High School, who threw for 623 yards in an upset home victory over the-11th ranked Eastern Washington. Fullback Bobby McClintock of Marshfield High School (pictured, left) returns for his senior year, as well as four wide receivers. The list includes 5"6" (little big man) Aaron Woods of Sunset High School, and Mario D'Ambrosio. Three offensive linemen return as well.
If there's one thing this game should do, it should provide a season-opening win for the Beavers, somthing tehy couldn't accomplish in 2008. The last time these two teams met was 2005, when the Vikings participated in the inaugural game in the newly-expanded Reser Stadium. The final score of that game was 41-14, and everyone partied with Montgomery Gentry afterward.
Glanville's experienced "Run and Shoot" offense could pose an early threat to Oregon State's defense, which will likely include nine players making their first career start, but this game looks as favorable as any on the schedule for an Oregon State win.
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