Returning Starters – Offense: 9 Defense: 2
Preview: Oregon State lost their head coach to Nebraska in the offseason, but the Beavers might have actually made a lateral move with their new head coach Gary Andersen who comes over from Wisconsin after having tremendous success with Utah State and then the Badgers. Oregon State didn’t have nearly the season they were hoping for in 2014 as they team finished 5-7 overall after going 1-6 in their last 7 games. Surprisingly enough the one win for the Beavers during this stretch came against then 6th ranked Arizona State.
The bad news for Oregon State is they need to find a replacement for productive starting QB Sean Mannion, but the good news is nearly everyone else returns on the offensive side of the ball. The offense will move to an up-tempo system under OC Dave Baldwin, but the team has to choose their next starting QB from an unproven crop of guys. Whoever wins the starting QB job will work behind a veteran O-line that returns all 5 starters. The RB position is a strength on offense with returning starter Storm Woods back and ready for a breakout season. The WR position is also in good shape with guys like Bolden and Villamin back in the mix.
Oregon State will make the switch to a 3-4 defense and this should help a unit that has most of its promising players at the LB position. Up front the D-line returns just 1 starter and the unit will look to just fill the holes with guys like James, Grimble, and perhaps Peko in the mix. The line backing corps doesn’t return any starters, but the unit was a surprising bright spot in spring ball with young guys like Ugwoegbu and Songy stepping up. The secondary also is short on proven talent with only 1 starter back from a year ago and the unit will build around CB Larry Scott who’s the one holdover.
Prediction: It’s a new day for Oregon State football and the hire of head coach Gary Andersen is a great pickup for this program. Andersen brought in a great staff around him and he could very well turn this program around quickly just like he did at Utah State. It’ll be tough however to get back to bowl eligibility this season given the number of holes that need to be filled on the defensive side of the ball mixed with the fact that the QB position is still up in the air.
Projected Record: 4-8 (2-7)