PUNDITS, EXPERTS, GURUS as well as the entertaining but irrationally exuberant portion of the blue…
Laybourn into limelight with Payton departure
Meanwhile, Payton had been listed on the spring depth chart as a co-starter at free safety with fellow senior-to-be Greg Laybourn. Over at strong safety, Cameron Collins (6-2, 215) and Lance Mitchell (6-2, 202) are the co-No. 2's behind Afalava.
Normally requiring a subscription, this article is free content. You can take out a BeaverFootball.com Annual Pass for a FREE 7-day test drive and become a subscriber in one of three ways -- monthly, 6 months or annual. Click on the 7-day free trial button at the top of the page for the various options, with the full-year Total Access Pass the most attractive in terms of price breaks and perks.
For Stanford, based on the spring session, it would now seem probable for Mitchell to get the starting nod with Afalava sitting out and Payton gone.
Mitchell, who had a strong showing last season on the scout team, showed a proclivity this spring for both being around the ball and flatbacking more than a few ballcarriers. Collins could also figure in prominently.
At free safety, Laybourn now takes the starter's battle by default with Payton moving on. The reasons why Payton left the Oregon State program were not disclosed.
The Oregonian in a blog opined the cause may have been either academic issues or because he was a perpetual headache for the OSU coaches. At the same time, the blog said Payton was not dismissed and that it was Payton who elected to leave. Payton was coming off a very solid spring session, one where it seemed like he picked off a pass just about every day.
Laybourn, who at the least was going to figure in prominently this season if not win the job, now assumes the No. 1 role headed into fall camp. Laybourn has made himself into a heck of a player at Oregon State, the former walk-on is a smart and a sure tackler and is coming off a great spring.
Laybourn was the sixth leading tackler on last year's OSU team, with 49 tackles (28 solo), plus two interceptions and four pass breakups. Payton was No. 12 on last season's tackles list for the Beavs with 23. Still, the loss of a player like Payton, who started six games and played in 27 for the Beavers in his career and who also had OSU fans smiling with his performance on the field this spring, is a hit.
Backing Laybourn up at free safety, provided there are no big surprises and the depth chart remains the same, is Suaesi Tuimaunei (6-1, 206), who logged a team high six tackles in the spring game and also picked off a pass.
WHERE PAYTON'S DEPARTURE MIGHT also be strongly felt -- particularly in the opener -- is on special teams.
Mitchell, athletic, fast and a hard hitter, looked poised to become a special teams difference maker this season but becoming the starting FS could diminish his special teams role and/or preparation time against the Cardinal.
For Tuimaunei, the same could hold true though probably to a lesser degree. He would still be expected to see plenty of special teams play but, with Payton's departure, he's now just one play away from the No. 1 unit.
After Afalava's return in Week 2, here's the way the depth chart could look:
9 Al Afalava Sr., 5-11, 215, Laie, Hawai'i
10 Lance Mitchell Fr-RS, 6-2, 202, Pasadena, Calif.
40 Cameron Collins Fr-RS, 6-2, 215, Santa Monica, Calif.
44 Greg Laybourn Sr., 5-10, 205, Portland, Ore.
28 Suaesi Tuimaunei So., 6-1, 206, Laie, Hawai'i
Other players who could factor in here include James Dockery (6-1, 174). He's the No. 2 corner behind Brandon Hughes but he's also a playmaker who has free safety skills. A great athlete, he picked off a pass in spring game while adding three tackles.
Josh LaGrone is a grayshirt who the Beavs planned to redshirt this season.
Austin Hall is a special teams veteran who would appear to face an uphill battle for playing time at safety.
Players report for fall camp on July 31, just over four weeks from today.
BeaverFootball.com Recommended Stories
CIVIL WAR: Beavs could be down to one at RB
JUST A FEW weeks ago, Mike Riley was feeling pretty darned good about his running back depth. Now, headed into a must-win Civil War to extend their season, Oregon State could be down to just one.Read More
Dr. Roto Video: CPatt's Fantasy Funeral
Unfortunately, despite all his promise, we must lay to rest Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson. No games with 100 or more yards receiving. Only one game with at least five receptions. The…Read More
WTS: Are Beavs perplexing, or as expected?
ALL THE GOOD that was done in Oregon State's win the week before, the scribes say, was undone against the Huskies on Saturday night. Here's what they're saying ...Read More
2014 Pac-12 Roundup - Week 13
2014 CFN Final Roundup, recaps, standings and more.Read More
Outdoorsman's Gift Guide: Christmas 2014
Finding just the right present for that special someone can be a challenge, so we’ve compiled a wide variety of hunting, fishing and outdoor gifts that you—or Santa—can deliver this Christmas.Read More