Spring Ball nearly here...

SEAN MANNION

SPRING BALL OFFICIALLY gets underway on Tuesday at Oregon State, with 15 practices tightly scheduled over the month of April. Here are some quick news and notes as the Beavs prepare to take the field...

  • BF.C will be bringing you comprehensive coverage of the Beavs' 15 spring practices, from reporter Andrew Kilstrom's first hand, wall-to-wall insights and reports -- to close up action shots from the BF.C lens by photojournalist Chad Stelling.

  • Spring practice dates: April 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 12, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28

  • Hope for good weather this spring -- the Beavs will utilize only Reser Stadium and the Merritt Truax Indoor Center for spring practices. The outdoor natural grass fields at the Tommy Prothro Football Complex will be covered with FieldTurf during spring and won't be ready for practice use until August. Meanwhile, the Reser Stadium FieldTurf will be replaced, starting in late June. The current FieldTurf had been on the stadium floor since 2005.

  • New faces: Rod Perry has joined OSU's staff this season and will coach the secondary. Perry comes to OSU after 22 seasons in the NFL. He was an assistant under Mike Riley in San Diego with the Chargers. Trent Bray joins the staff as a graduate assistant who will work with the linebackers. Bray coached the linebackers at ASU the past two seasons under Dennis Erickson. Former Beaver center and NFL veteran Kyle DeVan has also joined the program as a graduate assistant as has former Alabama receiver Hardie Buck. A new NCAA rule will allow for four GAs instead of two this year. Mitch Meeuwsen, who works with the secondary, is the other GA.

  • Tight end Caleb Smith has graduated high school early and will participate in spring ball with the Beavs.

  • Middle linebacker Tony Wilson has retired from football due to injuries. The Salem, Ore., native would have been a senior this season. OT Darryl Jackson, a promising redshirt freshman, is also hanging up his cleats.

  • Oregon State comes in with many of the same questions at running back, with the starting job up in the air. OSU relied heavily on the pass last season, ranking 19th in the nation in passing offense at 286.8 yards per game -- the most since 2005 when the Beavers ranked 10th in the country at 296.5. Quarterback Sean Mannion compiled 3,328 yards passing, a record for an OSU freshman and the third-highest total for a single season in OSU history. Derek Anderson holds the school record with 4,058 in 2003 and 3,615 in 2004.

  • The defensive end position is the Beavs' strength on that side of the ball heading into spring ball. Dylan Wynn and Scott Crichton will only be sophomores this season, (true and redshirt, respectively) but they are already among the expected conference's best for 2012. Wynn set an OSU single season record with five fumble recoveries and co-led the NCAA in that category in '11. Crichton, meanwhile, forced a school record six fumbles, tied for fourth in the NCAA. He finished the season with 74 tackles including 14.5 tackles-for-loss – tops in the nation among freshmen – and a team-leading six sacks. Wynn started seven games, finishing with 44 tackles including 5.5 TFLs.

  • Oregon State's 2012 Fan Fest will be held on Saturday, April 28 at Reser Stadium. With the injury situation and lack of offensive linemen this spring, it is not expected to be a true spring game but more of a controlled scrimmage, similar to last year.

    Oregon State plans on having only eight offensive linemen at full strength for spring, with nearly half of them walk-ons.

  • Oregon State was one of the youngest teams in the nation in 2011 as freshmen and sophomores accounted for 74 starts. There are 27 returning players who have started at least one game during their collegiate careers.

  • Riley enters his 10th straight season at the helm and 12th year overall. Riley is the second-winningest coach in OSU history with 72 victories, two short of Lon Stiner (1933-48). He also has the second-most victories by any active Pac-12 Conference coach (at one school), trailing only Cal's Jeff Tedford (79 wins).

  • This spring marks the first time since 2007 the Beavs will not have James or Jacquizz Rodgers on the team.

  • Senior-to-be Markus Wheaton has 1,750 career receiving yards, 49 short of Vern Burke (1962-63) for 10th in the record book. He is ninth for career receptions with 136.
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