BF.C COMMENTARY: Ask the Insiders

NIELSEN DEPARTS

THE OFFENSIVE LINE was not a major focus in the 2013 recruiting class - the Beavs signed but two. But that also means there's tons to talk about regarding the o-linemen on the current roster. OSU has taken a hit to their depth with Derek Nielsen leaving for Sac State. And so two of our resident insiders, Chad Luther and Drew Wilson-McGrath, delve into that topic and more....

Luther: All eyes were on true freshman Isaac Seumalo on the offensive line, and he did not disappoint, however the right side of the offensive line lost a lot of nasty when Grant Enger was injured. Colin Kelly struggled at times with physical matchups – who is your pick to start at right tackle this year?

Wilson-McGrath: This will not be the popular opinion, but I am half expecting Enger to slide over to right tackle, allowing younger guys like Gavin Andrews, Grant Bays and Justin Addie to Duke it out for the void left within the interior offensive line.

Enger is aggressive, very versatile and he is a close physical match to Kelley - not to mention alert in the open field. Enger will also be a senior in 2013, and leadership goes a long way on the edge of the line. He should have no trouble maneuvering and adding slightly different techniques to his blocking approach – from this chair, Enger is the best fit to fill the hole left by Kelley.

Luther: I'm with you that Enger is a natural tackle and I love the way he moves in space. And he certainly has the frame to be a tackle. So if I'm going to put you on the spot (and I am), who is your pick to take over at right guard?

I'll place my heavy bets on Gavin Andrews. He's 6-5 and 320-330 pounds – a tank. He has got the nasty in him and his size is a necessary ingredient to a more successful OSU O-line. Less size plus more speed is more than acceptable to have on the ends, but you've got to get beefy in the middle to prevent early pressure from ‘backers looking to pelt through the interior.

I'm of the school of thought that maintains that bigger will always be better on the O-line. Andrews has the capability to be a semi on a line full of Ford F-250's, and the Beavs desperately need it.

Now, my turn - My question to you is this – if you are Riley, do you go with a guy like Andrews, who has got the size but could use some concentrated work on his overall technique? So much to ponder with this O-line, especially now that Derek Nielsen has left for Sacramento State.

Luther: Ah, so the tables have turned. This is a tough call for me because what I want so very badly is for Jeremy Perry to be reincarnated at guard. But putting my own biases aside, Riley has said several times in the past that what they strive to do is put their five best on the field at any one time.

Oregon State is interesting in the way that they coach, in that receivers learn ONE position. Flankers run flanker routes and they don't flex. But on the offensive line, they have a different philosophy...

Oregon State offensive linemen learn all five positions on the line, as Brayden Kearsley was reportedly told during his recruitment. This is an advantage for the guys going to "The League" because a college tackle or college center may be a guard in The Show, as Kyle DeVan and Andy Levitre found out.

That's the long way around to saying that to project the starting five you don't have to figure out who the best left tackle is, who the best center is, who the best right guard is. Figure out who the best five are, and then set your lineup.

Now, what I would say is this: Cav is the guy who picks his lineup. He has shown in the past a track record of eschewing a more physically talented option in favor of one who can complete all his assignments.

So in my opinion Andrews needs to show this spring that he can both execute all his assignments AND make the right reads.

Nielsen was a super sub last year and it's something of a surprise the sophomore departed. Losing him hurts the Beavs' depth and flexibility.

Spring ball just got more interesting, if that's possible.

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