OSU Still Searching for DT Talent
The Beavers’ starting middle linebacker will be Joel Skotte, a true sophomore who played very few snaps on defense in 2012. Isaac Seumalo, the only natural center on the roster, has missed a concerning amount of practice with a banged up knee. Gavin Andrews, offensive tackle, has a case of mono.
Linebacker DJ Alexander won’t play until week 3 at the earliest. In terms of uncertainty, none of those come even close to the mystery that is the defensive tackle position at Oregon State.
The Beavs didn’t have this problem last year. Oregon State had two huge, experienced senior starters in Andrew Seumalo and Castro Masanaia. They played as well as expected, plugging holes, disrupting the run game, and stayed fairly healthy.
Naturally, both of them graduated, leaving little to nothing behind them for this season. Head coach Mike Riley hoped to solve the problem with JUCO transfers, which has worked to a moderate degree.
Only 2 of the 5 D-Line recruits he’d lined up are eligible to play in the NCAA, but both of those who did meet the eligibility requirements (Edwin Delva and Siale Hautau) line up at the tackle position, and are competing for the starting job there.
But, as always with JUCO transfers, OSU doesn’t really know what to expect out of Delva and Hautau. Behind them, there’s senior Mana Rosa, who played in all but 1 game last year, missing the Alamo Bowl due to suspension, and made 7 appearances in his sophomore season.
Beyond 1 tackle at Stanford, however, Rosa hasn’t made much of an impact on the field, garbage time against Cal and Nicholls State not included. Beyond Rosa, OSU’s tackles have a total of 5 games of experience.
In addition to the pre-season transfers, the Beavers have continued to add players. Less than 3 weeks away from the season opener at EWU, OSU got two more transfers on the D-Line. Devan Filipe, another JUCO player, was added to the roster along with Jason Grimble, a transfer from Miami who won’t be eligible to play this year, but should be in the mix for the starting job in 2014.
Transfers aren’t the only trick up Mike Riley’s sleeve.
He’s also fully utilizing new positions to help fill up the DT position. The Beavers are pretty strong at defensive end. Arguably their best player, Scott Crichton, plays there, and 2nd stringer Devon Kell showed he can be a serviceable end. Mike Riley knows this, and is trying to take advantage of it by sliding John Bruan and Dylan Wynn from end to tackle.
Braun is a senior who has been a backup (albeit one who sees a lot of snaps) for the duration of his time at Oregon State. A potential position change of Wynn, however, is more jarring for Beaver fans.
The hardworking junior burst onto the scene his freshman year with 44 tackles and 5 fumble recoveries, and tallied 49 tackles in his sophomore campaign. Wynn is a bit undersized for tackle, at just 6’2″ 260 lbs., but he can easily make up for that with his quickness.
While transfers and some position shuffling can help the Beavs mask the problem of a lack of talent at tackle, not much can mask the lack of depth.
OSU can get by, but they’re a couple injuries away from looking a lot like paper; thin and weak.