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Pac-10 Preview: Oregon State Will Look to Build Off Last Year's Success

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Pac-10 Preview: Oregon State Will Look to Build Off Last Year's Success
(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The Beavers have made a habit of surprising the Pac-10 over the last few years.

Over the last three seasons, Oregon State has been selected to finish in the back half of the conference.

All three of those times they have provided us with a great upset, a top three finish in the Pac-10 and a spot among the final Top 25 standings in the nation.

One of the most memorable moments from the 2008 college season would have to be the upset in Corvallis. On the shifty legs of Jacquizz Rodgers, the Beavers beat then No. 1 USC, 27-21.

That victory catapulted Oregon State into the national eye and made Jacquizz Rodgers a household name. 

With some of the key pieces back, here is a look at the 2009 Oregon State Beavers.

 

Offense

Ten of the 11 starters will be returning to the offensive unit this fall. One of those starters being true sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers.

Rodgers quickly vaulted to the forefront of elite runners in the college game following his coming out party against the Trojans.

Jacquizz finished second in the Pac-10 in rushing with 1,253 yards, all while missing the final two games of the year.

His electrifying freshman campaign earned him several honors throughout the conference and country. Some of those awards were Pac-10 player and freshman of the year, as well as various All-American honors.

Ryan McCants will back up Rodgers and provide a different style of running to the offense.

McCants is much more of a downhill runner who has a proven backup track record. In his three starts, Ryan rushed for over 300 yards. He should help provide a great one-two punch in the Beaver backfield.

Another Rodgers will grace the Oregon State offense at receiver. Junior James Rodgers will return to the team providing great speed on the outside. James accounted for over 1,800 total yards and is critical in many misdirection plays for the Beavers.

Playing opposite of Rodgers will be junior Darrell Catchings. Catchings has shown decent pass catching ability, but is unproven at best right now.

The quarterback position is one of great experience and depth. Senior Lyle Moevao should get the starting nod, but Sean Canfield has played well when given the opportunity. The senior is 7-4 in eleven career starts.

Lyle Moevao threw for over 2,500 yards and 19 touchdowns last season. Injuries held him out of three key games during the season.

Oregon State did not miss a beat as Canfield filled in and led them to three big wins over conference opponents.

Three of the five offensive linemen will be returning starters from last season, boasting over 35 games started between all of them. Left guard and right tackle will be filled by new guys this season. 

 

Defense

Unlike the offense, the defensive unit will only return three starters from last year's team.

There should be little panic though, as Oregon State does a great job of playing many reserves on defense throughout each season.

The defensive line will return one of those three starters, in junior tackle Stephen Paea. Paea earned Pac-10 honorable mention in his first true season with the team. A rotation of three to four more upper classmen should assist in the rebuilding of the interior.

Ben Terry and Kevin Frahm will fill in at the end positions. Both benefited as reserves as they saw significant time on the field. 

Linebackers will provide the most leadership and experience to the unit in the fall. Both Keaton Kristick and Keith Pankey are returning starters at the strong and weak side positions. 

Dwight Roberson will fill the final spot at middle linebacker. Roberson shared time in 2008 with Pankey, so the play at linebacker will be critical to the defenses success.

The secondary returns with four new members. At safety, junior Suaesi Tuimaunei has started two games in his career. The other safety position will be filled by one of two sophomores, Lance Mitchell or Cameron Collins.

Senior Tim Clark and junior James Dockery will look to replace the void left at corner. Dockery is coming off of a knee injury that left him out of the 2008 season.

 

Special Teams

Justin Kahut will return as the starting place kicker, with consistency still a concern. The punter will be sophomore Johnny Hekker. Hekker is also a returning starter.

The return game should be exciting as James Rodgers will handle all of the return duties for the Beavers. Rodgers was named to the Pac-10's first team as kick returner last season.

 

Outlook

Oregon State should light up the scoreboard once again this season. Veteran leadership at the quarterback position will benefit the team greatly.

Having both of the Rodgers brothers lining up somewhere on the offensive side of the ball should give opposing defenses headaches all season.

Defense will be a major key this season. Although many of the guys have seen the field, that is not the same as being a weekly starter.

Four of the first six games will be at Reser Stadium in Corvallis. This is a major home field advantage and should help with any short comings on the defensive side of the ball.

Expect the Beavers to be a force in the Pac-10 again this season. Winning eight games should be a manageable task.

 

 

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