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July 30, 2012

Fall Preview: Offensive Line


Offensive lineman | Michael Philipp

MORE: Fall Camp HQ | Quarterback preview

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.

POSITION VITALS
The Beavs look to rebuild a line that struggled all season to create a run game in 2011. Oregon State only tallied 1043 net yards rushing all season, a stat that Coach Cavanaugh and his squad will be looking to improve.
THE BASICS
Returning Starters: Josh Andrews (6), Grant Enger (10), Colin Kelly (12), Michael Philipp (22)

Others Returning: Roman Sapolu, Derek Nielsen, Michael Beaton, Justin Addie, Jake Welch

Newcomers: Gavin Andrews, Grant Bays, Chase Eldredge, Josh Mitchell, Isaac Seumalo, Garrett Weinreich

Departures: Mike Remmers, Michael Lamb, Grant Johnson, Geoff Garner, Burke Ellis
2011 NUMBERS TO KNOW

In 2011, Mannion was sacked 27 times for a loss of 213 yards.

1043 rushing yards was the worst rushing total in the PAC 12 in 2011

The 2011 Beavers also finished last in the conference in rushing first downs with 55. 21 fewer than Washington State who was 11th with 76 rushing first downs.

BATTLE TO WATCH
The entire offensive front will be a battle to watch as the young guns look to come in and make an impact. Never have so many freshmen had a shot of coming in and fighting for a starting role. Expect Seumalo to start at center, while Bays, Andrews, Weinreich and Mitchell could see playing time as well.

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

What will the starting five look like on September 2? Will more than one true freshman break into the two-deep or will the veterans hold them off?

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?

NEWCOMERS

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.

PRESSURE IS ON

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?

PRE-CAMP DEPTH CHART
Heading into Fall Camp here is the current depth chart the way BeaverBlitz.com sees things.
LEFT TACKLE
1. Michael Philipp JR-2L Will the All-American Philipp return?
2. Derek Nielsen SO-1L A walk-on who may be passed up by Andrews.
3. Garrett Weinreich FR-HS If he can pick up the offense, he could be on the 2-deep at tackle.
LEFT GUARD
1. Josh Andrews JR-2L An early injury hindered him last season, but he is poised for a breakout year.
2. Justin Addie FR-RS Addie is a big body who was drinking out of a fire hose last season picking up the offense and rehabing an injury at the same time.
3. Josh Mitchell FR-HS Mitchell is a talent who may make a push.
CENTER
1. Isaac Seumalo FR-HS Seumalo is that good. He is versatile enough to play any position on the line, it says a lot when a true freshman can come in and play the leader of the offensive line.
2. Roman Sapolu SO-1L Sapolu has added weight and if he can show that he is ready to be the starter, it would free Isaac up to play elsewhere.
RIGHT GUARD
1. Grant Enger JR-2L Enger has the athleticism, will it translate into a big year for him?
2. Michael Beaton SO-1L So many people were high on Beaton when he was recruited. Will the project pay dividends?
3. Grant Bays FR-HS Yes, we're listing a lot of the true freshmen, but I just don't think you can count them out.
RIGHT TACKLE
1. Colin Kelly SR-3L This is the senior's year to step up and lead the line.
2. Derek Nielsen SO-1L Right now Nielsen is listed at #2 at right and left tackle. Will it stick or will a freshman take over.
3. Gavin Andrews FR-HS Andrews joined Seumalo and Mitchell in Corvallis throughout Spring Camp as they look to want to see early playing time.





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