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2017 Position Preview: Offensive Line

Gus Lavaka and Fred Lauina lead the way for the Beavers’ fresh faced O-Line.

NCAA Football: Oregon State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Personnel

  • Fred Lauina (SR)
  • Will Hopkins (SR)
  • Kammy Delp (JR)
  • Sumner Houston (JR)
  • Trent Moore (JR)
  • Yanni Demogerontas (JR)
  • Clay Cordasco (JR)
  • Andrew Iademarco (SO)
  • Gus Lavaka (SO)
  • Miki Fifita (SO)
  • Blake Brandel (SO)
  • Justin Sattelmaier (SO)
  • Nous Keobounnam (R-FR)
  • Onesimus Lutu-Clarke (FR)
  • Travis Mackay (FR)
  • Brock Wellsfry (FR)

Definitely/Could Be Gone

Center Gavin Andrews as well as tackles Sean Harlow and Dustin Stanton are all off to the NFL Draft. These departures leave the most glaring holes to be filled in the Beavers’ line. OSU also loses some key backups with the graduations of guard Sosaia Tauaho and tackle Bobby Keenan.

OSU also loses depth on on the line for some more unfortunate reasons. Tackle Robert Olson has medically retired after dealing with cancer for the past year or so. Center Brayden Kearsley also spent a large chunk of last year tending his girlfriend who suffered severe injuries in a car accident and has officially left the team. Rising sophomore Gunnar Braden is also no longer listed on the Beavers’ roster.


New To The Mix

Sumner Houston may not be a new name to Beaver fans, but he is new to the offensive line. Houston spent the first two seasons of his college career playing defensive end for OSU, but will make the switch to center in 2017. Andrew Iademarco also makes the switch from defense to offense, but has a smaller likelihood of seeing immediate first team reps.

Justin Sattelmaier comes to OSU via Western Oregon University and Palomar Community College in San Marcos, CA. Of this year’s true newcomers, the tackle seems like the most likely to contend for a starting position. Clay Cordasco is another JUCO tackle that has some great size and gives OSU more depth at that spot.

Onesimus Lutu-Clarke, Travis Mackay, and Brock Wellsfry are all true freshmen that have the potential to develop into quality linemen down the road.


Who Will Start?

With both of last season’s big name starting tackles gone, those two spots are tricky. Trent Moore, Blake Brandel, Will Hopkins, and Justin Sattelmaier (who will officially join the team in April) all have a real shot to earn one of those two spots. But for now, Moore and Brandel are practicing with the first team in spring ball according to OregonLive.com.

For the guards, Gus Lavaka more than earned his keep on the left side last year being named to the Freshman All-American teams of both Campus Insiders and Pro Football Focus. On the right, the experience Fred Lauina will flip over from the left guard spot he has played the majority of his career with OSU before conceding that spot to Lavaka last year due to injury.

Right now, Sumner Houston looks like the most likely candidate to fill the vacant starting center role. The defensive line convert has been described as a fast learner and a natural by O-Line coach T.J. Woods. Yanni Demogerontas is also getting first team reps in spring ball and played in three games in 2016.


What To Expect?

Offensive lines, like fine wine, only get better with age. The more a line sticks together and plays together, the better it gets typically. The big issue here is there are past injury concerns with most of the players in contention for playing time, which was also what plagued this unit throughout 2016.

The good news is that the talent is there. The Beavers have shown to be adept at run blocking with Ryan Nall’s impressive 2016 stats as proof. In pass blocking, OSU gave up 25 sacks in 2016, which was fourth best in the Pac-12. OSU staying healthy and allowing cohesion to develop along that front five are the keys to success in 2017.


2017 Oregon State Football Position Previews

Sunday (2/19): Quarterbacks
Monday (2/20): Running Backs
Tuesday (2/21): Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Wednesday (2/22): Offensive Line
Thursday (2/23): Defensive Line
Friday (2/24): Linebackers
Saturday (2/25): Defensive Backs
Sunday (2/26): Special Teams