DEPTH CHART: So. Jacquizz Rodgers, Fr.
Jovan Stevenson, So. Ryan McCants
PLAYERS LOST: Jeremy Francis ('08 season: 35 rushes, 173 yards, one touchdown,
15 catches for 120 yards, one touchdown)
INJURIES: Ryan McCants is coming off of
knee surgery, optimistic scenarios have him available mid-fall camp.
OVERVIEW: Depth is a major concern heading into
August, and finding a suitable backup for
Jacquizz Rodgers is one of the team's top priorities.
Sophomore Ryan McCants was the backup before
injuring his knee in the third week of spring practice. Unfortunately, it required surgery and he won't be available
until, at the very least, mid-to-late August.
Not having McCants in the lineup might not be as
big an issue as once thought. He was inconsistent during the '08 season, in both running and blocking, and
didn't change many minds during his abbreviate spring
And that left the
door open for a freshman or a walk-on to
shine, and that's just what former greyshirt Jovan Stevenson
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound tailback displayed soft hands,
good vision and quickness hitting the hole. Ideally the coaches would like to
redshirt him and have him add 15 or so pounds, but the Beavs need a No. 2 behind Quizz and
necessity may force him into action.
Stevenson is slippery, but
he definitely needs to add some muscle before getting too many
carries -- and to throw effective
He showed this spring he could well be a reliable option when Quizz needs a
rest -- Stevenson doesn't have to carry
the running game load, and one of his top priorities could
also be found in protecting the
quarterback and doing enough to spring
One big plus.
he looks to have the attitude to succeed - by all accounts Stevenson is a highly motivated,
hard working individual. It would not be surprising to see him playing as a
true freshman in '09 after coming to OSU in
Other players that the coaches will take a long look at in fall camp include incoming
freshman Ashton Jefferson and several walk-ons.
Jefferson comes from the football rich state of Texas
where he dominated the competition. He has power
and speed, but since Stevenson has a spring practice on his
football resume, expect Stevenson to be
groomed as the back up to Quizz.
Another issue that the coaches will closely monitor is
Quizz' shoulder. He hasn't been hit in well over a half of a year and coming
off surgery, durability is a concern. Can
he take another 259-carry season?
Ironically, the hit that
did the damage in the Arizona game looked far tamer than many of the teeth
rattling shoulder pops Quizz absorbed, and dished out, over the course of the
Mike Riley has been very cautious with his star
player, taking him to about half a dozen doctors to make sure Rodgers'
shoulder is properly healed and can take a Pac-10 pounding again.
While the "no tackling Quizz" rule will likely not be in effect in fall camp, the coaches certainly don't want
any of the defensive players trying to
unload on the Pac-10's reigning offensive player of the year at every opportunity.
And just so you know, only three other players in the history of the Pac-10 have been named
Offensive Player of the Year in back to back years. All were running backs, USC's Reggie Bush,
2004, 2005 | WSU's Rueben Mayes, 1984, 1985 | USC's Charles White,
And I may be getting ahead of myself, and yes, in fact I am, but if Quizz keeps his
current production through four years in Corvallis, he will have carried the ball 1,036 times for
5,012 yards and 44 touchdowns.
Those numbers would give him the third most rushing yards
ever in the Pac-10, and the second most at
OSU behind Ken Simonton. And if he tops the 1,000 yard mark each year, he would become the first player in the
Conference of Champions to accomplish such a feat.
A wrinkle or two to the playbook will be added this year.
Sophomore Will Darkins switched from linebacker to fullback giving the
offense an extra weapon in short yardage and
Darkins has stuffed his nose into the playbooks and could
be a valuable asset come fall.
Another addition to the playbook the coaches have
discussed is the Wildcat formation in which Quizz would take the snap -- similar to what Arkansas did with Darren McFadden - check out this YouTube clip for
AN OPTIMIST WOULD SAY: With three starting
offensive linemen returning, and Quizz a year more experienced, there will not be a sophomore slump, just
another 1,000 yard season and copious amounts of highlights and wins.
A PESSIMIST WOULD SAY: The Beavs have small backs with McCants out and more
importantly, defensive players will be gunning for Quizz' shoulder. With
unproven backups, the offense is just one
hit away from becoming one dimensional.
STAR PLAYER: Jacquizz Rodgers. Patient, a
hard worker, a powerful lower body, a dedication to blocking -- he's got it all.
UNIT STRENGTH: Quizz. One of the nation's
UNIT WEAKNESS: Depth. If Quizz gets injured, it may be time to hold your breath. Inexperience
always means things could get
INCOMING RECRUITS: Ashton Jefferson. An
under recruited touchdown machine out of Alvin, Texas who has homerun ability - will be looked to fill out the depth
NOTABLE NOTE: The offense averaged 158.8 rushing
yards a game - Quizz averaged 113.9 or 72% of that total.
STATS: Rodgers (11 games): 259 carries for
1,253 yards, 11 touchdowns, 29 catches for 247 yards, one touchdown, seven
100-yard games | McCants (11 games): 85 carries for 337 yards, two
touchdowns, six catches 30 yards.