Defense needs to improve in 2012
Put down those Kentucky Derby betting odds for a minute and switch your mindstate over to the college-football scene, where Oregon State is looking for a return to respectability after eight wins in their last two seasons.
Mannion was all over the place in 2011, but he showed glimpses of having a ton of potential as a freshman.
The Beavers were also 81st in sacks allowed, but the offensive line has looked solid in spring practices so far. That should calm Mannion down in the pocket and he can cut down on the 18 picks he threw last season.
They’re only losing one of their top receivers, so a passing attack that was ranked 19th in the country could be even better this season.
However, even though the Beavers can air it out with the best of them, Oregon State has to be more balanced as they were 118th in the nation in that category.
There is some talent in the backfield, but the Beavers have to utilize it in order to raise their profile among sharps that are familiar with price per head bookie services.
But fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs will tell you how important defense is to a team’s chances, and the Beavers were awful last season, ranking 84th in total defense, 101st in rushing defense and 104th in pass efficiency defense.
The Beavers have at least eight starting seniors to replace and a host of others, and this is going to be the most important part of the spring and summer for Riley, because even though the Pac-12 is never going to be confused with the SEC or even the ACC in terms of defense, you have to be able to stop teams and the Beavers haven’t been able to do that lately.
The Beavers got off to an 0-4 start last season and it was all downhill from there as they finished 3-9, although all three wins came in the Pac-12.
Oregon State would love to get back to the bowls and it isn’t far off to think they’ll sneak in this year, but the defense has to be better, and we’re not talking a little better…they have to be much better than they were in 2011.
Mannion should be able to limit his turnovers this year with a season of experience under his belt and a number of receivers that he knows, and the Beavers should try and take pressure off him with the running game.
However, the Beavers are at least a year away from being a legitimate sports bet in the Pac-12.