Preview 2017: Oregon State Beavers
Previewing and looking ahead at the Oregon State Beavers season – and what you need to know.
What You Need To Know About The Oregon State Offense
Can Oregon State find more firepower? Offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven needs to find more than 366 yards per game in a division and a conference that cranks up the O.
The running game was fine behind RB Ryan Nall and the running quarterbacks, but the passing attack stunk, keeping the chains moving was a problem, and up until late in the season, there wasn’t any positive consistency.
When Oregon State scored 34 points or more, it was 4-0. It was 0-8 when it was under.
The quarterback situation has to be settled with three decent options, but the offense will move around Nall and a good, deep group of backs. Three very good offensive linemen are gone – just two are back – and top target Victor Bolden is done. Three of the top four wide receivers are back, but they need to be used more.
Biggest Key To The Oregon State Offense
The passing game has to be far, far more efficient. A lot of this depends on who’s under center. The quarterback situation was never quite right, with Darell Garretson hurt, then Marcus McMaryion taking over, and now, Jake Luton stepping in.
The Beavers are going to run the ball with Ryan Nall, but the passing game only averaged 174 yards per game and was 118th in the nation in efficiency. OSU passers combined to hit 54% of their throws with 13 scores and 11 picks, averaging under six yards per throw. That’s not good.
What You Need To Know About The Oregon State Defense
Defensive coordinator Kevin Klune gets back a veteran group up front, but needs help in the back. Overall, the D needs to be stronger after allowing 218 rushing yards per game and 211 through the air.
It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the rock it needed to be to make up for the problems on offense.
The Beavers return the entire front three – or four depending on the alignment – while Manase Hungalu leads a solid-looking linebacking corps that needs to find starters in two spots.
The secondary gets back two good starters in CB Xavier Crawford and S Brandon Arnold, but losing CB Treston Decoud and S Devin Chappell is a big problem.
Biggest Key To The Oregon State Defense
Where’s the run D? Andersen’s defenses were dominant against the run at Utah State and Wisconsin – it’s how he made his name. It’s not working out so hot with the Beavers, with his D getting hit for well over five yards per carry last year, giving up 2,616 yards and 25 scores.
It never stopped anyone cold and got hammered for 317 yards by Cal – who’s not exactly Alabama on the ground – and for 365 by Stanford.
Oregon State Will Be Far Better If …
It can keep the chains moving. The offense couldn’t go on enough long and sustained drives, having massive problems on third downs and having a disastrous time on fourth downs.
The Beavers went 3-1 when they converted half of their third down tries, and was 1-7 when they didn’t, finishing the year converting a mere 37% of the time.
Fourth downs were an even bigger problem, converting just 3-of-15 tries on the season. The 20% average was the second-worst in America.
Best Oregon State Offensive Player
RB Ryan Nall, Jr. – He tried to carry the offense, but he needs more help around him. The former tight end started to get a little work in the backfield, and then he took off with 951 yards and 13 scores, averaging 6.5 yards per carry.
At 6-2 and 234 pounds, he’s built like a fullback, but he can catch like a wideout, making 22 grabs for 214 yards and two scores. Big and fast, he ripped Cal for 221 yards and three scores, and finished up the year with 279 yards and five scores – four of them against Oregon – in the final two games against Arizona and the Ducks.
2. OG Gus Lavaka, Soph.
3. RB Artavis Pierce, Soph.
4. WR Seth Collins, Jr.
5. WR Jordan Villamin, Sr.
Best Oregon State Defensive Player
LB Manase Hungalu, Sr. – The 6-1, 238-pounder took over a starting linebacker job on the inside, and he did a little of everything, finishing second on the team with 83 tackles with two fumble returns and a pick. The Hawaii native is a good-sized playmaker who can play anywhere in the linebacking corps and he could be used more as a pass rusher if needed.
2. CB Xavier Crawford, Soph.
3. LB Bright Ugwoegbu, Jr.
4. S Brandon Arnold, Sr.
5. DT Elu Aydon, Soph.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Jake Luton, Jr. – Or Marcus McMaryion, or Darell Garretson. The 6-7, 230-pound Luton isn’t going to be the exact type of spread-running quarterback that the Andersen offense might like, but he’s a big bomber who can move a little bit.
The former Idaho Vandal and JUCO transfer took a major risk by leaving to see if he could get to a bigger school, and it all worked. He didn’t take over the quarterback gig, but he looked like the next main guy for an offense that needs to settle the offense.
It was Garretson’s job the first half of last year, but the former Utah State Aggie got knocked out for the year after throwing for 617 yards and three scores and four picks, and Marcus McMaryion stepped in and threw for 1,286 yards and ten scores.
The Oregon State Season Will Be A Success If …
The Beavers get to a bowl game. It might require getting out to a hot start, needing to win at Colorado State and beat Portland State and Minnesota, but it’s possible if Oregon State is really going to finally make that big step up under Andersen.
The last four games – all of November – are against teams that didn’t go bowling, but the Arizona teams and Oregon will be better. Get to six wins, and it’ll be a good year for a program that needs to start looking up.
Key Game To The Oregon State Season
Sept. 16 at Washington State. After an awful season, if the non-conference schedule works like the Beavers might like, there’s a good chance they can equal last year’s four-win mark by mid-September with a win over the Cougars. With Washington, at USC, Colorado and Stanford to follow, lose to Wazzu, and it could be an 0-5 Pac-12 start.
2016 Oregon State Fun Stats
– Penalties: Oregon State 96 for 862 yards – Opponents 70 for 652 yards
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 12-of-23 (52%) – Oregon State 3-of-15 (20%)
– 2nd Quarter Scoring: Opponents 110 – Oregon State 65