Like the title says, we will be watching these 8 things closely at the Oregon State Spring Game that kicks off at 1:00 pm at Reser, Saturday April 28th. And unlike the throw away newspaper written by *Morons* up north, we will actually be watching more things that have to do with football and not attendance. Seriously???
Back to sensible talk… These are in no way in order of importance.
- Key plays/wrinkles/style of Jonathan Smith’s offense. This will be huge to see what the pace, style, blocking schemes, pass/run ratio, small wrinkles are going forward with the new “up-tempo pro-style” attack that Smith plans on running. Obviously a spring game isn’t going to show all of their stuff but we think Smith genuinely will be testing out players that he thinks can make an impact early as well as packages. He has noted this multiple times during press conferences and post practice interviews as really trying to find the identity of the team and who the play-makers are and how to adapt his offense around the personnel he has.
- Special Teams. Something the previous coach of OSU was supposed to be known for and emphasize was special teams. This proved to be as blatant of a lie as the Victory Through Valley Fall 2016 banner still flying in 2018. Does anyone remember us going offsides on multiple kicks and one or two onside kicks that we RECOVERED? Only to be called offsides and negated???? FUN! We are looking for details. Details in blocking, gunners going full speed down the field looking to kill a return man, explosiveness from the returners, and overall who might be a few studs to make an impact on special teams early in their careers or just this year. Think Gerard Lawson. His CB downs he played for OSU were atrocious. Yet he literally made a living in the NFL for multiple years because he played every special teams coverage and return and went head hunting.
- Wide Receivers. All in all the WR position has been filled with “potential” and never lived up to any hype or consistency for OSU in the past years since Brandin Cooks. This unit needs to impact the game. Great WR can help out an inexperienced or mediocre QB. There are good players in this group and young players. Who will step up?
- Linebackers. In the past 15 years, OSU has produced some incredible linebackers that run sideline to sideline and can hit to drive ball carriers back. However, it has been a long time since we have seen an LB at OSU chase down a guy on the edge, hit a guy and have him actually go backwards not pull him for 3 more positive yards. Also, this is the new DC’s former position he coached and arguably our most proven coach, Trent Bray’s group. What type of player will we see? Hair on fire or cement shoes?
- QB Reps/Strengths and Weaknesses. This is an obvious one and the position is between three players. JC transfer Jack Colletto, Conor Blount and Jake Luton. We will be watching the skills of each as the coaches have said they are all different. We especially will be watching for one thing, team leadership and command of group. Our head coach was a quiet leader on the field but when he talked people listened and he had excellent command of the offense.
- Christian Wallace, Jeremy Roichner, DeShon Wilson, Calvin Tyler, Trajon Cotton, Doug T., Isiah Smalls and Alex Blanch. All players in important positions or rolls that have something to prove. Either we have noticed them, they have been talked about, JC transfer, you name it. These players are a little under the radar to some but we will be watching their every move.
- Defensive Line. Will OSU get a sack in their first 5 games in 2018? Who knows. This is self explanatory. The D-Line must step up this year and certain players and the depth isn’t there to just shuffle in new bodies.
- Which freshmen will make early impact? Both true and redshirts. Thinking about the Kolby Taylor’s, Isiah Smalls, DeShon Wilson’s of the world. We will be watching which ones are going hard but also trying to get on the field ANY possible way. It has been stated that every position is up for grabs, prove it!
RIP Victory Through Valley 2016 Banner.