OSU Fall Camp Preview: Offensive Line

GAVIN ANDREWS

WITH NEWS last week star center Isaac Seumalo’s foot won’t be healed in time for the start of fall camp and perhaps not by the season opener either, and a lack of proven depth up front, is it Red Alert time for the offensive line headed into fall camp?

Might be, frankly.

There’s good news in that Josh Mitchell, who along with Isaac Seumalo missed the spring, is ready to go. He’s likely one of the starting guards.

And Mike Cavanaugh teaches his guys to be versatile and to be able to play multiple positions.

But OSU was plagued by a lack of depth this spring, and there’s a lot up for grabs when camp kicks off on Aug. 4.

On paper, your starters are likely LT Sean Harlow, LG Josh Mitchell, C Isaac Seumalo, RG Grant Bays and RT Gavin Andrews. With Seumalo out, Bays seems the most likely to slide over.

Filling Bays’ right guard spot then becomes a matter of if you bring in an o-tackle and slide him inside, or if you try to match apples-to-apples.

And there's no clear answer there. Things get thin really quick.

OSU is hoping Bobby Keenan can start right out of junior college, preferably at tackle. Others at tackle include Nolan Hansen and then two players who last season were tight ends and are trying to make the transition as quickly as they can – Dustin Stanton and Will Hopkins.

If Roman Sapolu were to emerge in fall ball, and he has two career starts, that would go a long ways. Sapolu is a center by trade, but may be needed this season at guard, too.

Mike Riley is high on Fred Lauina, who will be a redshirt freshman this season. The Beavs need him to be ready to play now, too.

Injury-plagued Garrett Weinreich is kind of the forgotten man in all this. Will he step up in 2014?

True freshmen are rare to see on the o-line but one who has a shot is Drew Clarkson, one of the gems of last year’s class. Clarkson has what you want in an o-lineman – great lateral movement and balance, athletic and light on his feet, and with a nasty streak.

If he’s ready to go as a true freshman in the Pac-12, great. But the more likely scenario, given the paucity of depth on the o-line, is that OSU may not have the luxury of redshirting him.

Oregon State needs to stay healthy up front this season. And they desperately need Seumalo back, whether that's to play center, guard or tackle.

OSU could yield a solid starting five this season. A lot has to go right. On paper, if just one starter gets dinged up, things start to get dicey from this chair.

If Oregon State’s line, in concert with the running backs, doesn’t provide a credible running threat then the results figure to be similar to last year – OSU can handle the lesser teams, while the upper half doesn’t have to respect the run and throws the kitchen sink at Mannion.

And for the Beavs that would be a bad, and all-too familiar way, to fly.

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