Buzz from around Beaver camp
The OSU Beavers enter 2012 fighting for their lives. This is a squad that’s gone 8-16 over their last two seasons. A number of things have been called into question, the biggest of which being Mike Riley’s job.
Despite the weight put on them by Beaver Nation, camp so far has been exciting. There’s a lot of good energy, with plenty of shake ups to push the team in the right direction. Riley himself has said he feels like a rookie coach again.
Translation: he’s got nothing to lose Pac-12.
Here’s what’s been making headlines in camp so far this August.
Somber Beginnings Can’t Dispel High Energy
Two days before the start of camp, it was announced Bud Riley—father to coach Mike Riley—had passed away. He was long a part of OSU history, serving as an assistant coach between the 60′s and 70′s, and as the defensive coordinator during the 1967 Giant Killers season.
Despite the sad news, it wouldn’t keep Riley or the Beavers down. Riley has been upbeat, excited for the season and experimenting with practices.
The players have been high energy and pushing themselves.
While the news was hard to swallow for the team, it seems they’re ready to send Bud out with a big OSU season.
Awards Could be Piling Up
There is award buzz aplenty around Beaver camp. While no one is talking Heisman, that doesn’t mean these distinctions aren’t just as exciting.
Jordan Poyer, Scott Crichton and Markus Wheaton are the top three Beavers making waves on NCAA watch lists. There’s also been a lot of media attention on Sean Mannion, who if he could build on his freshman season would be looking at some offseason hardware.
Mike Riley is Trying to Solve the D
With a quarterback poised to challenge Derek Anderson and two of the fastest wideouts in the West, the Beavers are set on offense. With that said, defense remains a project.
The Beavers are very thin at defensive back. Riley is so desperate that he’s moved running back Jovan Stevensonto cornerback.
He’s got speed and size, and running back is plenty deep.
It’s these kind of unorthodox moves that will either save the Beavers on defense, or further destroy them.
Who Runs the Ball?
The committee is still out on this one. Or should I say it’s in? Because, right now, it looks like their might not be a starting running back.
There remain a litany of starting tailback candidates, with the favorites being last season’s starter Malcolm Agnew, redshirt freshman Storm Woods and true freshman Chris Brown.
Right now Riley seems happy with his depth and may run by committee in 2012.
That’s not to say he’s sleeping on the job, as he’s made it clear he wants to run the ball better this year—thank goodness for that!
Fundamentals are in
This season practices have slowed down and been more about fundamentals, with less interaction between squads than last season.
Last season the Beavers valued speed, trying to run as many plays as possible throughout the summer. This season the staff is about taking it slow, and focusing on the keys of the game and positions.
The move comes about a year too late, especially for how “green” last year’s squad was. Still, the transition is a smart one on Riley’s part and should help cure the awful fundamentals demonstrated in 2011.
Injuries: Garrett Weinreich (OL)—knee, will miss season
Young Players Making Buzz: Chris Brown, Isaac Seumalo and Sean Mannion
Veterans Making Buzz: Markus Wheaton