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July 30, 2012
It is no secret that the offensive line struggled last season. The run game was almost non-existent forcing freshman quarterback Sean Mannion to try to make plays downfield.
Adding to the problem, no clear cut leader emerged from the running back battle and the Beavers became a completely one-dimensional team.
Coach Cavanaugh hit the recruiting trail hard and the 2012 class may be one of his finest to date. Touted recruit Isaac Seumalo has studied Cav's scheme for years now and comes in ready to play any position on the Beavers front in 2012. Analysts were amazed last year by Seumalo's technical soundness in all three positions on the line, where he played guard and tackle. However, his knowledge and skill may force a move to center as Cav looks to build the line around the young freshman.
Another touted recruit from the 2009 class, Michael Philipp will also look to make a triumphant return to the starting line-up. After an All-American freshman year, Philipp had been hampered by injuries before redshirting in 2011. All indications are that he is fully healed and ready for a big return. All eyes will be on the big fella as he looks to re-gain his starting spot.
The other story line is how the veterans handle being pressed by the young freshmen. Josh Andrews, Grant Enger, and Colin Kelly have all seen plenty of playing time and are technically sound. Roman Sapolu has also added much needed weight and showed excellent footwork during spring.
Justin Addie, Jake Welch and Michael Beaton are others looking to make a push. Welch is listed in the media guide as an offensive lineman, however we've heard rumor that he has made the switch to defensive tackle.
The major task for Coach Cav is to identify his starters and get them 'gelled' in time for the season.
QUESTION HEADING INTO CAMP
The other question that we will be watching closely is how Philipp looks early on. Will he be ready to contribute?
Former UCLA Bruin/JUCO transfer Stan Hasiak is still reportedly working on academic issues. Will he arrive in Corvallis and if so will it be early enough to make an impact?
As noted earlier, this may be the best assembled offensive line class in Coach Cav's tenure and possibly Oregon State history. Seumalo seems destined to start and other true freshmen may in fact push for a spot within the two-deep depth chart.
Andrews already has the size to be a PAC 12 player, but does he have the technique down yet, that is the question. Josh Mitchell drew great praise from those who saw him play live, although many feel he may end up at defensive tackle because of depth concerns.
Garrett Weinreich is another player who may be somewhat overlooked by fans. He has good size for an incoming freshman and is a smart player. Like Andrews, the biggest question is how he will adapt to the college game and will he pick up the playbook quick enough to make a contribution early.
Chase Eldredge looks destined to redshirt as he is recovering from knee surgery and needs to add bulk. Another big strong player, Eldredge carries much of his weight in his legs and is a project to keep an eye on in the years to come.
Grant Bays is a bit of a wild card. He is listed at 290 and comes from a traditional powerhouse program at Oceanside. Definitely one that we will be watching early on during camp to see if he makes a push or looks to redshirt.
With so much youth, the Beavers are going to look for Grant Enger, Colin Kelly and Josh Andrews leadership. The three were part of last year's starting rotation which struggled to establish a run game. Will they take a giant leap together and solidify the unit?
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