FOR MANY BEAV FANS, the key to the 2011 campaign is located on the offensive line. How do things…
FULL UPDATE: Riley's state of the union
Three players have left the team -- Michael Bibbee, middle linebacker (grades forced him to go the JC route, but Riley's hoping he'll return to OSU in the winter after he becomes academically eligible again)
Dax Dilbeck, safety (didn't want to play anymore, didn't feel he was the same player he was before knee surgery)
Colin Lyons-Pena, OL (tumbled off a railing in a bar, suffered head trauma and never got clearance from doctors to play football again)
DEPTH CHART, with notes from Riley
Split end (X)
- Riley on receiving corps in general: "When healthy – with Bishop, Wheaton, James and Halahuni – our receiving corps is as good as there is in the conference."
- Riley on Munoz/Micah Hatfield (third at Z): "This is a big camp for them, great opportunity to step up and prove they can play here long-term."
- There is a stable of true freshmen that could play their way onto the field at some point, especially if injuries haunt the group again. Brandin Cooks, Richard Mullaney, Tyrequek Zimmerman, Tyler Trosin and Kramer Ferrell are the five true freshmen receivers. With so many in one class, Riley said position changes are possible: all but Cooks played defense in high school.
- Spring back-up Roman Sapolu has a foot injury so the Beavers will try Garner at center to start fall camp. Garner can also play tackle, and – if absolutely necessary – tight end.
Colin Kelly (or)
- This is the only position that Riley said is a 1A and 1B situation. Riley said Kelly was a bit more impressive in the spring, and therefore is listed as the No. 1, but that it will be a position up for grabs in the fall.
- Philipp, who started as a true freshman two seasons ago, finds himself in battling for a starting spot. Riley said it's not so much Philipp as it is Kelly playing up to his potential, but did add that the Beavers "will need Philipp to step up."
- Riley on O-line in general: "I'm optimistic. Everyone has improved since last year. We have better depth."
- Riley listed tight end/H-Back as his biggest concern entering fall camp.
- Riley said he's been impressed with Katz work ethic this summer. As Riley talked to the media, Katz could be seen on the field at Reser throwing with a handful of Beaver receivers. "That's the kind of stuff he's been doing all summer," Riley said.
- Riley said McCants can be considered the No. 1 guy – for now. Said he has done a good job improving in areas he once wasn't great: specifically, pass-catching and fumbling. "He's positioned himself well," said Riley.
- Riley said Ward, who greyshirted last year, is "a guy (he's) excited about."
- As has been said all along, true freshmen running backs Storm Woods and Malcolm Agnew will be given an opportunity to earn playing time right off the bat.
- With seven running backs on the roster – plus walk-on Naji Patrick – Riley said they'll have to start trimming the depth chart down rather quick, saying things will start to take form 10 or so days into camp.
- All five current running backs have the ability to play special teams, and therefore may make the travel squad even if they aren't in the running back rotation. Riley said Marable has the potential to be a "very good kick returner" and listed Ward as a possible punt returner.
- Masaniai, dealing with some legal problems after being arrested in May, isn't in the clear just yet. Riley hasn't made a decision whether or not to allow Masaniai onto the practice field Monday.
- Dominic Glover, who moved from end to tackle this year and is listed third on the depth chart, has some unresolved academic issues, but Riley expects it'll work out and he'll be good to go for fall camp.
- Crichton is a bit of a surprise to be listed as the starter, as it looked as though JC transfer Rusty Fernando – now listed third on the depth chart – appeared the leading candidate to start after spring ball. Riley said Fernando could serve as a third-down specialist.
- Robinson moved from MLB to OLB due to the fact that the middle ‘backer position was a logjam and thought to be a three-way battle for one spot. Riley said it was basically inevitable that one would have to move outside – where the Beavers are much less experienced – and the obvious choice was Robinson, "the most versatile of the bunch."
- ‘Unga "earned" the job in the spring, said Riley. Wilson and Robinson split starting duties last year.
Riley said Poyer won't play as significant of a special teams role as he has had in the past now that he's a starting member of the secondary, hinting that the junior's days as a gunner and kickoff coverage man (where he excelled) may be numbered. "He's one of those guys that make so many great niches for himself that when he becomes a starter you start to miss him." Poyer returned kicks and punts in the absence of Rodgers last year, and it's unclear whether or not he will again though he appears the lead candidate.
James Rodgers – Doctor's appointment at Stanford Wednesday. "We're just going to let James play according to what the doctor says." Riley said they'll be cautious, and that Rodgers likely won't be allowed to be the first and last guy off the field like he has been in seasons past.
Jordan Bishop – cleared
Jordan Jenkins – Doctor's appointment Thursday; it's expected he'll be cleared
Ryan Katz – cleared
Joe Halahuni – Riley thinks it's a possibility he won't return until after the bye week, against UCLA on Sep. 24
Cameron Collins – Will be limited in fall camp, but is expected to be ready for season opener
Lance Mitchell – Groin issue, could have had surgery like Collins but opted not to, and is "full speed ahead."
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