Pac 12

2010 NCAA Football Preview: Oregon State Beavers

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2009 Record: 8-5 (6-3 in Pac-10)
2009 Bowl: Las Vegas Bowl (lost to BYU 44-20)
Final 2009 AP Ranking: Not Ranked
Head Coach: Mike Riley (64-47, 37-23 in Pac-10)
Non-Conference Schedule: TCU (9/4), Louisville (9/18), at Boise State (9/25)

2009 Offensive Statistics
Scoring: 31.5 points per game (3rd in Pac-10)
Rushing Yards/Game: 139 (6th in Pac-10)
Passing Yards/Game: 270 (1st in Pac-10)
Total Yards/Game: 410 (3rd in Pac-10)

2009 Defensive Statistics
Scoring: 25.0 points per game (6th in Pac-10)
Rushing Yards/Game: 114 (3rd in Pac-10)
Passing Yards/Game: 235 (6th in Pac-10)
Total Yards/Game: 349 (6th in Pac-10)

2009 Misc Stats
Turnover Margin: +0.38 per game (2nd in Pac-10)
Penalties: 59 yards per game (7th in Pac-10)

Returning Starters
Offense: 8
Defense: 7
Kicker/Punter: 2

Top Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: QB Ryan Katz, Sr (14 of 27 for 232 yds, 1 TD)
Rushing: RB Jacquizz Rodgers, Jr (273 carries for 1440 yds, 21 TD, 5.2 ypc, 110 ypg)
Receiving: WR James Rodgers, Sr (91 rec, 1034 yds, 9 TD, 7.0 rec/game, 79 ypg)
Tackles: FS Lance Mitchell, Jr (72); SS Cameron Collins, Jr (67)
Sacks: DE Gabe Miller, Sr (3); DL Stephen Paea, Sr (3)
Interceptions: FS Lance Mitchell, Jr (3)

2010 Pre-Season Rankings
Athlon Sports: #27
Mark Schlabach: #22
Phil Steele: #38
Rivals: #20
Sporting News: #15
Sports Illustrated: #17

2010 Pre-Season Pac-10 Prediction:
Athlon Sports: #3
Phil Steele: #5 (tie with Stanford and Washington)

Bowl Predictions:
Athlon Sports: Holiday Bowl (vs. Texas Tech)
Phil Steele: Las Vegas Bowl (vs. Utah)

Over the last 4 years Oregon State and coach Mike Riley have amassed a 35-17 record and have gone 25-11 in the Pac-10 with their lowest finish being 3rd in the conference. This year Oregon State has a really tough out-of-conference schedule (they also played a really tough schedule two years ago falling to Penn State and Utah out of conference and had a bit of an easier road in 2009 but did schedule and fall to Cincinnati)  facing TCU in week one and playing at Boise State in week three (as well as a game against Louisville under new coach Charlie Strong). Oregon State is capable of winning the Pac-10 this year (as are many teams in the Pac-10). We spoke with Jim Phillips of's to find out more about the 2010 Oregon State Beavers.

What are the major strengths and biggest weaknesses of the Beavers?

Oregon State fields a Heisman Trophy candidate in running back Jacquizz Rodgers, who has carried the mail to the tune 2,693 rushing yards in his first two seasons. They also have a dominant defensive lineman and All-America candidate in DT Stephen Paea. Although they were stout defensively in most areas, the defense had a paltry 17 sacks last season, by far the fewest by OSU in the decade. They’ll need to improve that stat significantly if they are to once again contend for the Pac-10 title.

Looking at the schedule who will be the first major test?

OSU has arguably the toughest non-conference slate in the nation this year. They play on the road in Texas to open the season against TCU – who is ranked a consensus No. 5 by most preseason pollsters.

What team on the schedule do you fear the most?

What’s most concerning is a combination of teams, really. The Beavs open with TCU, Louisville and Boise State. TCU and Boise State both figure not just to be ranked but to show up in the nation's Top 5 and both games are on the road – that makes for a flat out brutal non-conference schedule. The other non-con opponent sandwiched in between, Louisville, is no slouch. In fact, each one of the Beavers' three non-conference games will be against a team that's been in one of the BCS bowl games during the past four years. Add in that OSU has started slow the last few years in a row and it gets even tougher.

Who is the best player on your team that nobody talks about?

That’s a tough one, there are a lot of unsung players worthy of mention. We’ll go with one who we think is ready to take another big step forward – TE Joe Halahuni. A small-school product from Orting, Wash., Halahuni as a burst onto the scene midseason last year, finishing with 35 receptions for 486 yards and three touchdowns. In the last seven games, he snagged 27 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns. His nine catch performance at USC and his two 100 yard plus receiving games are school records for a tight end. And he's only going to be a junior this season.

Who is the best offensive player on the team?

It’s hard not to look at Quizz – he needs only 1,169 rushing yards to move into second place all-time at Oregon State and he too is only going to be a junior this season. But we would be remiss if we didn’t also mention his brother, James Rodgers. The senior wide receiver is on the verge of setting a number of all-time program marks but what’s most impressive is how he’s gone about it. He transformed the OSU offense his freshman year with his running the fly-sweep. Then, he went out and became one of the nation's top-flight pass catcher the past two years.

Who is the most impactful defensive player on the team?

By the time the season ends, Stephen Paea may well be considered the best defensive tackle in all of college football. His strength is ridiculous – he’s already a virtual shoo-in to set the all-time NFL combine mark in the bench press next spring. He can beat double teams, chase down quarterbacks and often tosses aside solid o-lineman like they were chew toys. What OSU needs is for someone to also command respect next to him, and midway through the ’09 season they found it in Brennan Olander. If Olander plays the way we think he will in ‘10, the combination of Paea and Olander on the interior of the d-line could be a sight to see.

What player(s) needs to step up this year in order for the team to reach it's full capability?

You could choose multiple players here but two who will be key are wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop. Both are young and have a world of potential but it’s also time to turn that potential into production – doing so will not allow opponents to overplay star James Rodgers.

Who is the top offensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

Oregon State took a small signing class and the bulk of players were for defense. The ones who are on the offensive side of the ball are likely to redshirt with upperclassmen ahead of them.

Who is the top defensive newcomer that can make an impact this year?

Dominic Glover will be counted upon to shore up the defensive ends, Scott Crichton has potential star power out on the edge as well. Watch for Ryan Murphy – safeties usually take a few years to develop but he might make an early impact on special teams.

Who is your pick for the Pac-10 this year? Is there anybody flying under the radar that you think will surprise people this year in the Pac-10?

It’s shaping up to where a repeat of last year might be in the cards – Oregon State and Oregon slugging it out in the Civil War for the Pac-10 title. Stanford might not be quite as good as most seem to think they will be – Toby Gerhart was such a big part of their success in ’09 – but they should still have a decent year. With everything hanging over their heads, USC might be in for, by their recent standards, an off year.

Thoughts on Colorado and Utah joining the Pac-10?

A good deal on all fronts. Now let’s get the Pac-10 TV network up and running.

Gut feeling on the teams final record at the end of the regular season and what makes this a successful season in your eyes?

Despite having a new QB and a brutal schedule, we'll go bold and say the Beavs will finish 9-3 or better. A bowl game makes the season a success. Competing for the Pac-10 title would make it that much sweeter.

Previous Pac-10 Previews:
Arizona State Sun Devils 
California Golden Bears
Oregon Ducks 
Stanford Cardinal 
USC Trojans
Washington Huskies
Washington State Cougars

Next Up: UCLA Bruins

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