CORVALLIS – Reaction from Second Football Preseason Camp in the State of Oregon and Where Things Are Last Week:
1. Where does Oregon State rank on a quarterback?
Fifteen exercises in camp, it’s on the right track. The only surprise would have been that coach Jonathan Smith announced a starter in the meantime. That always went on until the end of the camp, maybe even into game week. This is the closest quarterback competition in Smith’s four year tenure. Though not official, it’s up to Sam Noyer and Tristan Gebbia. The wildcard comes on Monday. Gebbia did not take part in the scrimmage because of sore muscles. Provided he is back in training on Monday, then it will continue until the end of the camp. If not, the job could be with Noyer. Regardless of a winner, Oregon State’s quarterback position is solid. Chance Nolan has proven that he can play when needed. The real newcomer Sam Vidlak has potential. But this is an experienced team with a chance for a breakthrough season. It’s Noyer or Gebbia when Smith and offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren decide when camp breaks on Thursday (or game week).
2. Red alert in the secondary
One of the lowest positions of the beaver is tested. Cornerback Elijah Jones sustained a foot injury on Friday that will keep him out for at least a few weeks. Cornerback Jaden Robinson went down hard during scrimmage and tried to attack receiver Makiya Tongue. Smith had no information other than the coaches who were watching Robinson’s shoulder. Jones projects as a starter, with Robinson pushing for playtime. OSU is fine at the moment as Rejzohn Wright and Alex Austin are solid in the corner. Jaydon Grant can corner and others show promises. But it’s a little worrisome to go to Purdue passing by.
3. Position with the most decisions to be made this week
Receiver and it is not near. It’s a good problem for the State of Oregon, with about eight to ten receivers vying for a spot on the Beavers’ two depths. While there’s no Isaiah Hodgins on the list – there are plenty of solid playmakers out there. The guess is that Trevon Bradford, Tyjon Lindsey and Zeriah Beason will start with a second unit from Tre’Shaun Harrison, Champ Flemings and Silas Bolden. But it’s just an educated guess. Others who could land in two deep come game week include Makiya Tongue, Anthony Gould, Trevor Pope, and John Dunmore.
4. Running back seems to be heading towards a committee approach
BJ Baylor, Deshaun Fenwick and Trey Lowe have stated their cases are starting to roll back against Purdue. Even Isaiah Newell cannot be discounted. Everyone has shown that they will replace Jermar Jefferson. Someone will start, but the chances are Baylor, Fenwick and Lowe all see significant action against the Boilermakers unless things get hot. Strictly speaking, my opinion, but Baylor deserves to start the opener. For three years he has waited patiently behind Jefferson and Artavis Pierce. Baylor showed value when the opportunity arose. Let’s see what he can do with 20 carries.
5. The most stable situation is the line of scrimmage
Aside from one injury, Oregon State will be performing the same offensive line as it did a year ago in left tackle Joshua Gray, left guard Jake Levengood, center Nathan Eldridge, right guard Nous Keobounnam and right tackle Brandon Kipper. The reserves are also used. Marco Brewer can play tackle or guard. Korbin Sorensen is a security guard and has experience from his time in Portland State. Taliese Fuaga can step in at the tackle and Tanner Miller in the middle. Levengood or Keobounnam can also move to the center if necessary. It’s been years since OSU had so much stability on the offensive.