March 30, 2009

Five to Watch: Spring football kicks off

Yep, it's that time of year again. Today marks the first day of Spring football at Oregon State. While the Beavers are looking to replace several key players such as Sammie Stroughter, Andy Levitre, Victor Butler, Kennan Lewis and Al Afalava (just to name a few), they have plenty of momentum to build off of.

They are coming off their third straight nine-win season which included a thrilling 3-0 Sun Bowl victory over Pittsburgh. In the process, freshman Jacquizz Rodgers established himself as one of the top young running backs in the nation, his brother James displayed his versatility as a receiver and Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield both emerged as strong leaders for the Beavers at quarterback.

With those four players back, there's an aura of excitement surrounding the offense which should keep the younger players focused and on the go and take some of the pressure of them. Things are more of mystery for the Beavers on defense as they will be replacing both ends, a tackle, a linebacker and their entire secondary.

So here's BeaverBlitz's Five things to Watch this spring:

SECONDARY: Having to replace your entire secondary is always a daunting task, especially when you play in the Pac-10. But that's exactly what the Beavers will be attempting to do this spring. Making things even tougher is the fact that cornerbacks Lewis and Brandon Hughes were four-year starters. Senior Tim Clark has the inside track to start at one of the corner spots since he has the most experience. But who will start on the other side of him?

Sophomore Brandon Hardin is a freak of an athlete but is unproven. Will James Dockery be able to come back from his injury and push for a spot? Does David Ross, the ballyhooed 4-star recruit two years ago finally make his move? Can freshman speedster Keynan Parker shoot up the depth chart? Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins, both sophomores, have the speed and athleticism. But once again they have little experience.

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