After a two-year hiatus, Arizona State will once face the Beavers, a contest that will be ASU’s last road game in 2017. What can the maroon and gold expect from this Gary Andersen-led team? BeaversEdge.com staff writers provides their takeaways from Oregon State’s spring practice.
Coming out of spring practice what were your impressions of the team’s offense?
- The offensive line made big strides in 2016, and the group seems to be trending upward in 2017. The offensive line is still the most important position group for the Beavers' success, as that is the case with most teams. The running backs are very talented as Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce are strong, downhill runners. The wide receiver corps should be improved from a disappointing 2016 with the emergence of Hunter Jarmon and the arrival of 2017 Rivals250 wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins.
Last but certainly not least to mention is the quarterback position, which faces the biggest uncertainty. Marcus McMaryion, who led the Beavers to wins over Arizona and Oregon to finish the 2016 season, and Jake Luton, a junior college transfer quarterback, are battling for the starting spot. McMaryion was more consistent than Luton during the spring game, but during the entirety of spring practice, Luton has been the more impressive quarterback. As a 6-foot-6 quarterback that has a very strong arm and is decently mobile, Luton has a very high upside. We expect him to take the team's first snaps on August 26 when OSU opens the season at Colorado State.
Coming out of spring practice what were your impressions of the team’s defense?
- The defense has very high expectations. The secondary is young and has a lot of talent. 2016 four-star cornerback Christian Wallace is a big, physical player that has a very high upside. The linebacking corps has excellent depth, but the biggest question for the defense is will they get enough pressure on the quarterback? They were pretty bad at this in 2016, although their front seven was pretty banged up, especially at outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. The addition of four-star junior college transfer Craig Evans will certainly help Oregon State on their defensive line.
Who are the players on each side of the ball that were the biggest surprises of spring practice?
- Offensively, I have to go with the aforementioned Hunter Jarmon, who got lost in the rotation last season. As a senior, Jarmon is poised to have a breakout season, and he had a great connection with Luton during spring ball.
Defensively, we really like what Kee Whetzel brings as a redshirt freshman from Florida. He's a tall, lanky project that saw a lot of reps during spring practices. He should see the field a decent bit this fall.
What are the top items on the team’s to-do list going into fall camp?
- Other than the obvious working out and what not, the Beavs' staff needs to figure out which guys they want to redshirt. They've recently moved some guys around to different positions, so it will be interesting to see if they do any more of that.
Did this year's spring practice ultimately change expectations for the 2017 season?
- In my opinion, yes. The quarterback spot is obviously the most important position on the field, and the fact that OSU should be much more improved in the "throw game" as head coach Gary Andersen calls it, expectations are high. Luton and McMaryion are pushing each other and it's making them better and better. This is a "bowl game or bust" season for Oregon State.