1) Who is your most important player on offense this season?
Marcus Russell: Jermar Jefferson (RB) is the name to know. He burst on the scene as a true freshman taking over for the injured starter and rattled off 12 Touchdowns and ran for 1,380 yards. The pass game should improve in 2019 lead by receivers Isaiah Hodgins, Trevon Bradford and Nebraska transfer Tyjon Lindsey. But look for Oregon State to lean on Jermar as the focal point of the offense.
Jermar. Jermar. Jermar. For the sake of writing about someone other than star running back Jermar Jefferson, I’ll go with Jake Luton (or Trstan Gebbia or whoever else wins the quarterback job) for Oregon State. The Beavers will become painfully one dimensional if they can’t establish a solid passing attack to compliment their flourishing run game. We know Jonathan Smith wants to spread the ball around and he may finally be able to do that in 2019.
2) Who is your most important player on defense this season?
MR: Defensively Oregon State was a disaster last season. Safety Jalen Moore led the team with 101 tackles a year ago and returns for his senior season. The biggest difference makers in 2019 might actually be a couple of transfers though, in edge-rusher Addison Gumbs (Oklahoma) and linebacker Avery Roberts (Nebraska).
The_Coach: Hamilcar Rashed Jr. The 6’ 4”, 235-pound edge player finished fourth on the team in total tackles in 2018 and led the group with a stunning 11.5 tackles for loss, showing his ability to be a game-changing playmaker at any moment. Most of the Beavers first-stringers on the defensive side of the ball are gap-and-fill talents, who do their job in serviceable manors. To me, Rashed Jr. is one of the few change-up pieces who can seek out a play on his own.
3) What should be the biggest change between last year and this year?
MR: Clearly the defense needs to drastically improve if Oregon State is going to be more competitive in 2019. Overall I think the Beavers will make improve in a number of areas, even if that isn’t exactly reflected in their final record. Last year they lost nine games by 17 points or more. Don’t expect Oregon State to be apart of so many blowouts this upcoming season.
The_Coach: If the question is what should be the biggest change between last year and this year and if everything we read is true, then it sounds like the offensive line will be the biggest change, barring injuries. They’ll need to make life easier for Jermar Jefferson, who will become more and more of a focal point on scouting reports. But what needs to be the biggest improvement is the defensive front-seven, where Oregon State has to be more impactful and disruptive.
4) What is the most important game on this schedule, and why?
MR: The second game of the season on the road against Hawaii. Theoretically Oregon State should be able to comfortably beat a Mountain West team early in the season, but Hawaii is returning a lot of talent and will be favored at home. There’s also the added drama between the schools thanks to a recruiting violations mix-up last summer. If the Beavers are going to improve on last season’s 2-10 record, they’ll need to win this game.
The_Coach: The season opener against Oklahoma State. Last season, the Beavers were lambasted in their first game on the road at Ohio State and it set a lack of confidence in the squad that lingered into a less-than-impressive victory over Southern Utah, a close loss at Nevada and on and on it spiraled. I think gaining some confidence in a hard-fought game against the Cowboys will help set the tone for a team who may only have a few legitimate chances for wins in 2019.
5) What is your prediction for W/L record and postseason destination?
MR: 3-9 record, no postseason. Vegas set the line for Oregon State at 2.5 wins and I think that’s pretty spot-on. Oregon State’s offense is going to surprise some people and put up a lot of points; but the defense is still going to be very bad. Here’s my guess on Oregon State’s three wins: Hawaii, Cal Poly and Arizona State.
The_Coach: Well, there’s definitely not any postseason in Oregon State’s future so we can rule that out from the start, but I’ll go with 2-10 for the second straight year. I think the Beavers take care of Cal Poly at home and hold on against Arizona State in Corvallis, as well. Last season, running back Jermar Jefferson ran for 254 yards and two scores against the Sun Devils in Tempe, but the defense has a disastrous day. I’d expect them to change the tide in this year’s meeting.