Oregon State Beavers 2010 college football preview

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Top 25 Athlon Team Previews: Oregon State Beavers

2009 Record: 8-5 (6-3 in Pac-10)
Head Coach: Mike Riley
Jacquizz Rodgers :: Steve Dykes/Getty Images
2010 Schedule
Sept. 4 TCU (Arlington, TX)
Sept. 18 Louisville
Sept. 25 at Boise State
Oct. 2 Arizona State
Oct. 9 at Arizona
Oct. 16 at Washington
Oct. 30 California
Nov. 6 at UCLA
Nov. 13 Washington State
Nov. 20 USC
Nov. 27 at Stanford
Dec. 4 Oregon
2009 Results
Sept. 5 Portland State W 34- 7
Sept. 12 at UNLV W 23-21
Sept. 19 Cincinnati L 18-28
Sept. 26 Arizona L 32-37
Oct. 3 at Arizona State W 28-17
Oct. 10 Stanford W 38-28
Oct. 24 at USC L 36-42
Oct. 31 UCLA W 26-19
Nov. 7 at California W 31-14
Nov. 14 Washington W 48-21
Nov. 21 at Washington State W 42-10
Dec. 3 at Oregon L 33-37
Dec. 22 BYU (Las Vegas Bowl) L 20-44
2009 Rankings
OFFENSE PER GAME Pac-10 NAT'L
Scoring 31.5 ppg 3 26
Rushing 139.9 ypg 6 67
Passing 270.8 ypg 1 27
Total 410.6 ypg 3 34
DEFENSE PER GAME Pac-10 NAT'L
Scoring 25.0 ppg 6 57
Rushing 114.4 ypg 3 25
Passing 235.1 ypg 6 84
Total 349.5 ypg 6 46
TO MARGIN PER GAME Pac-10 NAT'L
+5 +0.38 2 31
2010 Projected Rosters
OFFENSE
WR Darrell Catchings (Jr.) Markus Wheaton (So.)
WR Jordan Bishop (So.) Aaron Nichols (Sr.)
FL James Rodgers (Sr.) Micah Hatfield (Fr.)
LT Michael Philipp (So.) Timi Oshinowo (Sr.)
LG Grant Johnson (Jr.) Ryan Pohl (Sr.)
C Alex Linnenkohl (Sr.) Josh Andrews (Fr.)
RG Burke Ellis (Jr.) Colin Kelly (So.)
RT Mike Remmers (Jr.) Geoff Garner (So.)
TE Joe Halahuni (Jr.) Brady Camp (Sr.)
QB Ryan Katz (So.) Peter Lalich (Jr.)
RB Jacquizz Rodgers (Jr.) Jovan Stevenson (So.)
DEFENSE
DE Gabe Miller (Sr.) Andrew Seumalo (So.)
DT Stephen Paea (Sr.) Castro Masaniai (So.)
DT Brennan Olander (Sr.) Kevin Frahm (Jr.)
DE Taylor Henry (So.) John Braun (Fr.)
SLB Keith Pankey (Sr.) Devin Unga (So.)
MLB Tony Wilson (So.) Rueben Robinson (So.)
OLB Dwight Roberson (Sr.) Zane Norris (So.)
CB James Dockery (Sr.) Jordan Poyer (So.)
CB Brandon Hardin (Jr.) Kenyan Parker (So.)
S Cameron Collins (Jr.) Suaesi Tuimaunei (Sr.)
S Lance Mitchell (Jr.) Josh LaGrone (So.)
SPECIAL TEAMS
1 Justin Kahut (Sr.) KR James Rodgers (Sr.)
1 Johnny Hekker (Jr.) PR James Rodgers (Sr.)
RETURNING LEADERS
Passing: Ryan Katz (232 yards, 1 TD)
Rushing: Jacquizz Rodgers (273 car, 1,440 yds, 21 TDs)
Receiving: James Rodgers (91 rec, 1,034 yds, 9 TDs)
Tackles: Lance Mitchell (72, 43 solo)
Sacks: Two tied with 3
Interceptions: Lance Mitchell (3 for 25 yds)
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PLAYERS TO WATCH

Stephen Paea, DT: The first-team All-Pac-10 pick tied for the team lead in sacks despite facing constant double teams.

Jacquizz Rodgers, RB: The All-American has topped the 100-yard mark 14 times in his two years in Corvallis.

James Rodgers, WR: Quizz's big brother is a versatile weapon in the passing attack and the running game.

IMPORTANT LOSSES

David Pa'aluhi, MLB: He joined the military, forgoing his final two years of eligibility.

Sean Canfield, QB: The first-team all-conference pick threw for 3,271 yards in '09.

Keaton Kristick, OLB: The emotional leader of the defense led the team with 95 tackles.

NUMBERS GAME

25: The Beavers have 25 Pac-10 wins since 2006, when the conference went to a nine-game schedule and a true round-robin format. Only USC (27) has more league wins than the Beavers in that span.

OFFENSE

With veterans Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao gone, the QB spot will have a new look this seasons. Barring the unforeseen, sophomore Ryan Katz and junior Peter Lalich will battle for the starting job. Both have limited game experience, although Lalich, a transfer from Virginia, was the Cavs' opening-day starter in 2008. "I like the talent there," coach Mike Riley said. "Now we'll see who emerges."

Junior tailback Jacquizz Rodgers again will anchor the offense. In addition to rushing for 1,440 yards, Rodgers became an accomplished receiver (78 catches for 522 yards) and stayed healthy all season after missing most of three games in 2008 with a shoulder injury.

Senior flanker James Rodgers remains the go-to receiver and a threat to run on the fly sweep (58 rushes for 303 yards). The Beavers have plenty of depth at wideout despite the loss of starter Damola Adeniji to graduation and backup Casey Kjos to recurring back injuries.

The offensive line should be a position of strength, as left tackle Michael Philipp, left guard Grant Johnson, center Alex Linnenkohl and right tackle Mike Remmers all return. Johnson missed spring practice with a shoulder injury but should be good to go.

DEFENSE

The Beavers recorded only 17 sacks in 2009 after having 130 in the previous three seasons combined, so becoming more physical up front is a major priority. Senior tackle Stephen Paea is the reigning winner of the Morris Trophy, awarded to the Pac-10's top defensive lineman.

Linebacking is now an area of concern. Starting outside linebacker Keith Pankey tore his right Achilles' tendon on Feb. 10, although he is expected to be recovered and play this fall. Starting middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi withdrew from school in February to join the military. Pa'aluhi started every game and was second on the team in tackles (77), so he'll be missed.

The Beavers had only eight interceptions last season and gave up 23 touchdown passes. The secondary isn't entirely responsible for those bad numbers, though; part of the blame must go to an anemic pass rush. Starting left corner James Dockery and starting safeties Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins are back.

SPECIALISTS

Virtually every starting specialist returns, led by senior placekicker Justin Kahut, who was 22-of-27 on field goals overall and 21-of-24 inside of 50 yards. Junior punter Johnny Hekker matured in 2009 after an inconsistent freshman season and averaged 40.1 yards per kick. James Rodgers averaged 23.3 yard per kickoff return and is always a threat to take one all the way.

FINAL ANALYSIS

For the third straight season, the Beavers are in position to contend in the Pac-10. They will be one of the most experienced teams in the country, with 19 position players and specialists who have started at some point in their careers.

Three factors will determine whether the Beavers finally break through to a first-tier bowl: the emergence of Katz or Lalich at quarterback; identifying the next set of NFL-caliber linebackers and defensive backs; and developing a more consistent pass rush. If those things happen, a team that lost its final regular-season game against rival Oregon with the Rose Bowl on the line in 2008 and '09 could return to Pasadena for the first time since the 1964 season.

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