WR Sammie Stroughter
Coach: Mike Riley
47-38, 5 years
2007 Record: 9-4
at Cincinnati LOST 3-34
at Arizona State LOST 32-44
at California WON 31-28
at USC LOST 3-24
at Washington State WON 52-17
at Oregon WON 38-31 (2OT)
Maryland WON 21-14

2007 Final Rankings
AP-25, Coaches-26, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

You’ve probably noticed how well Oregon State has been doing the past few year – their 19-8 record is the second-best in the conference (USC is 1st) and that has led to dual finishes in the AP top 25 (21st and 25th, respectively). The four game win streak in bowl games is the nation’s third longest. It is fitting that local Mike Riley – the only man in school history to win so many games (19) in a two-year span – has led the Beavers to their greatest era ever. A master of both sides of the ball, Riley has one of his career’s biggest challenges in this upcoming campaign.

After building a defense that led the nation in run stopping and yardage claimed from tackles-for-loss (538 yards beat the previous year’s total of 527), Riley sees his entire starting front seven turn over. Getting back two of the Pac Ten’s best sack artists (Slade Norris and Victor Butler did such as mere reserves) provides a foundation, but Norris and Butler were primarily third-down specialists, so getting the start will test the entire skill package of each. Third down percentage allowed was 27.7% (for second in the nation), a number most expect will go up, but how far up will give a key indicator of how well the team is doing overall. The LBs will be spread thin, and injuries in the secondary would mean the team’s one sound area is also not up to par…a sure formula for State’s season to become a struggle. The corners are a strong bunch; the safeties are the possible liability. It will take a while IF the Beavers are to find superior play in their defense.

Having the offense carry the proceedings can happen, but with a set of marginal, yet-to-be-proven QBs, getting yards in the air won’t be as easy for Oregon State as it is for other Pac Ten offenses. Both Canfield and Moevao are decent game managers, but if the game has to be won through the air, we have yet to see either with the chops to accomplish such a feat. McCants and JUCO product Francis are two bigger backs in the vein of Steven Jackson, but rising to the level of this past Beaver legend may be a struggle if a lacking passing game has the box overpopulated. Sammie Stoughter and the all-senior line (once Tavita Thompson returns in November) look like strengths, but possibly not enough to compensate for marginal QB play. More Riley magic will be needed here.

The tough schedule means State must face eight bowl teams from the 2007 season. Utah, Penn State (both away) and Hawai’i constitute a challenging slate of non-cons. With advances by most of the conference’s squads, the Beaver’s Pac Ten run to end their schedule looks as grueling as ever. Reser Stadium will be an advantage when the better teams – Southern Cal, Arizona State, Cal and nemesis Oregon – are looming. Earning anything they may get will have Riley’s guys better for their difficulties next year, but that won’t quell the naysayers if 2008 is a below-.500 effort.

This season could easily start in the same manner as the past few have, at 2-3. State just doesn’t have the defense to win games by themselves anymore. Bouncing back will be harder, and the Beavers probably won’t ever get out from behind this year’s proverbial eight ball. With four winning seasons in Riley’s current five-year run (also coached here in 1997-98), we are arguably witnessing the school’s greatest era of football ever. A lull year won’t detract from this fact.

Projected 2008 record: 5-7
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 3 LB - 3
WR - 4 DB - 3.5
OL - 3 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Sean Canfield, 165-286-15, 1661 yds., 9 TD

Rushing: James Rodgers, 50 att., 586 yds., 3 TD

Receiving: Darrell Catchings, 33 rec., 386 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: James Rodgers, 4 TD, 24 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Justin Kahut, 1-1 FG, 3-3 PAT, 6 pts.

Tackles: Al Afalava, 64 tot., 56 solo

Sacks: Victor Butler, 10.5 sacks

Interceptions: Keenan Lewis, 3 for 43 yds.

Kickoff Returns: James Rodgers, 5 ret., 24.4 avg., 0 TD

Punt Returns: Taylor Kavanaugh, 27 ret., 6.9 avg., 0 TD


DE Victor Butler
OFFENSE: Yvenson Bernard-RB, Anthony Brown-WR, Brandon Powers-WR, Kyle DeVan-C, Roy Schuening-OG, Alexis Serna-K/P
DEFENSE: Dorian Smith-DE, Gerard Lee-DT, Curtis Coker-DT, Jeff Van Orsow-DE, Derrick Doggett-SLB, Alan Darlin-MLB, Joey LaRocque-WLB, Daniel Drayton-SS

The Beaver backfield is the pivotal area needing clarity. Sure, the line gets new hats at three of its five slots, but quality quarterback play and finding another set of running backs will go the farthest toward defining the offensive effort.

The sequence last year started with Sean Canfield under center for nine games, until he tweaked his throwing shoulder against USC and was sidelined for three games. Lyle Moevao stepped in and went 3-0, though, that reflected more upon the rest of the offense stepping up than it did upon Moevao’s arm/prowess. Game management is good to have, but given about half the attempts of Canfield, Moevao threw only two TDs and six INTs to Canfield’s nine TDs and 15 INTs. Few answers come from such numbers. Canfield took aver for Moevao in the Emerald Bowl after the game’s first series; his return highlighted Canfield as merely a game manager himself. Canfield has nearly half-a-foot on Moevao, but neither stands out as the leader needed to take Oregon State into the top 25 for an extended period. Like Canfield, newcomer Ryan Katz is one of three Beavers to graduate high school early in order to enroll this spring. This extra orientation time could likely mean we see this Santa Monica product quite early when the offense struggles.

Big Ryan McCants is excited to prove his No.10 ranking as an incoming back last year was worthy. This obviously means he lacks any real-game experience, but his spring shows he has that Steven Jackson quality of hitting would-be tacklers with authority. The influx of JUCO running back Jeremy Francis has OSU on the fast path to rebuilding its ground game. Similar in bruising size/style to McCants, Francis has proven himself as a blocker and target in the flat, and this has sixth-year coordinator Danny Langsford unsure of which guy may best handle the majority of the workload. A change-of-pace will come when EA All-American Jacquizz Rodgers gets his shot(s); Rodger’s gained 2900+ in his senior campaign and had a total of 136 prep scores (43 as a senior) to earn his nickname “Mr. Touchdown”. Francis played H-Back at El Camino (CA), so he should be found in multiple-back sets most often of the possible candidates.

The receivers are a mix of experience and emerging talent. The medical hardship Sammie Stroughter was granted has coach Riley ready for the possibilities. “Sammie certainly adds another dimension to our team. He will draw the attention of opposing defenses.” An All-American (as an all-purpose player) in 2006, Stroughter has been tabbed by Sports Illustrated as one of the top 32 “most fun athletes to watch”. Appropriately named Darrell Catchings is the top returning snarler (as just a freshman) and brags possibly the best speed on this side of the ball. James Rodgers (brother of Jacquizz) had more yards on the “fly sweep” than he did as a flanker. We expect this should change since the elder Rodgers now starts…his younger sibling would pull the same play off just as well. Both Rodgers brothers are vertically challenged (listed at 5’7), so this scat-back role is still in good hands. Chris Johnson is like Stroughter – a deep threat – as is ex-ILB and current TE Gabe Miller. Croom is better sized for actual blocking duties, giving each tight end a role.

The real protection on the outside comes from All-Pac Ten platoon tackle Andy Levitre. Next to him is the comeback kid – Jeremy Perry. After missing spring ball in ’07 due to surgery to repair his knee from an injury in the 2006 closer against Hawai’i, Perry then played in the opener against Utah only to break his leg, forcing another return in November. Listed by the Sporting News as the best college player wearing No.62, his Preseason All-American and Outland Trophy Watch List nods mean the left side is tight. The other guard is the guy who took Perry’s starting position and held it down rather nicely, senior Adam Speer. The riskier slots are at center (Henderson is a SuperPrep All-American who has done his time as a reserve) and with freshman right tackle Wilder McAndrews (transfer from Hawai’i, though the ex-hurdler didn’t play football there.) Tavita Thompson would have rounded out an all-senior line, but his suspension won’t mean he hits the gridiron until November, giving McAndrews his chance to shine. The line will make the QBs better…that is, if it is even in either Canfield or Moevao to improve.


OT Andy Levitre


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Sean Canfield-Jr (6-4, 229) Lyle Moevao-Jr (5-11, 226)
RB Ryan McCants-Fr (6-1, 236) Jeremy Francis-Jr (6-1, 220)
WR Sammie Stroughter-Sr (6-0, 189) Taylor Kavanaugh-Jr (5-10, 170)
WR James Rodgers-So (5-7, 182) Shane Morales-Sr (6-1, 203)
WR Darrell Catchings-So (5-11, 168) Chris Johnson-Sr (6-1, 193)
TE Howard Croom-Jr (6-3, 249) Gabe Miller-So (6-3, 235)
OT Andy Levitre-Sr (6-3, 324) Brent McNeil-So (6-3, 325)
OG Jeremy Perry-Sr (6-2, 334) Gregg Peat-Jr (6-3, 299)
C Marcus Henderson-Sr (6-5, 277) Ryan Pohl-So (6-3, 288)
OG Adam Speer-Sr (6-3, 301) Alex Linnenkohl-So (6-2, 289)
OT Wilder McAndrews-Fr (6-4, 259) Mike Remmers-Fr (6-4, 283)
Tavita Thompson-Sr (6-6, 308) (susp.)
K Justin Kahut-So (5-8, 160) Jake Webber-So (6-4, 192)




The work cut out for coordinator Mark Banker is clear – replace the front seven, a group that was the nation’s fourth-best sack unit, the sixth-best in tackles-for-loss and the tops in run stopping. The departed LBs started every game together, and the DL was the same for10 out of the 12 games…it’s a fresh start and expectations should be lowered.

Well, that is if you fail to realize that two of the conferences’ best sack artists were second-teamers who now bump up. Slade Norris was recruited as a WR and DB, but this growing kid was forced to jump to linebacker. But the growing continued and now the athletic Norris thrives up front. But Slade gets no credence for past performance since JUCO star Simi Kuli chose Corvallis over Baton Rouge, Lincoln, Norman and Knoxville. As the top-rated junior college prospect for any position (Rivals), Kuli had 29 QB-hurries last year. He has the nod at this juncture over the proven Norris. This rotation will keep Butler (fantastic spring proved he’s an every-down type) and Slade using their speed since Kuli’s size makes him a better commodity for occupying hats in run stopping. Steve Paea (pronounced paw-A-uh) will do the same distracting as Kuli inside; Paea graduated early from Snow C.C. and is up to speed already within the OSU defensive system. Wrestling stud Perrnell Booth (runner-up in the Montana state prep heavyweight final) proved much last season in his scant sowings, but like the ends, testing out how well Booth does playing every play might mean a step back for the line’s overall quality as he adjusts. The depth in the middle isn’t proven like it is outside. Still, this line can be as effective as its predecessor by mid-season…the time it takes to gel will go a long way toward defining how good the entire defense can be.

The same sentiment pertains to the adjustment period for the new linebackers. Senior Bryant Cornell has waited patiently for his shot at MLB. This kid from The Dalles looks ready for the start in his last year of eligibility. Kristick, like Cornell, isn’t blessed with blazing speed, but Keaton has to show something to hold off Isaiah Cook (recovered two fumbles versus Southern Cal). Ex-RB Keith Pankey will be the starter due to his abilities in coverage. Roberson should become the overachiever he was in high school. It’s a decent set of linebackers, but with a new line in front of them, they may be spread too thin to really become one fluid unit.

The DBs have returning starters, especially at corner. What are the odds of a tandem named Lewis & Clark manning an outpost together in the state where the original pair of explorers ended their trek? Today’s Lewis seems like more of a gambler, and who can argue with his three INTs? But Clark is also a sound guy in most coverage. Neither player seems equipped, though, to keep up consistently in deeper coverage. That’s the job of Brandon Hughes. He’s got 31 starts under his belt; All-Pac Ten status is guaranteed if this ex-deep threat WR stays healthy. Al Afalava is another all-conference guy (Honorable Mention), hitting like a Mack truck. Proven as a backup (two starts last year), Laybourn is the shizz and will make a great starter. Bryan Payton leaves a hole with his somewhat sudden departure, for State now lacks any experienced depth in the deep middle. Tuimaunei is decent, as is Lance Mitchell, but injuries to the Afalava and Laybourn would be huge.

Penn State and Southern Cal are both up in the first four games, and that means tough lessons are sure to come. Finding a new identity on D won’t be easy, but those tough games could pay dividends by the end of the season. Still, only one area of the D has to collapse for such to cause a domino effect and for points to start pouring in.


CB Brandon Hughes


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Victor Butler-Sr (6-2, 235) Kevin Frahm-Fr (6-2, 249)
DT Pernnell Booth-Sr (6-1, 303) Mitchel Hunt-So (6-2, 271)
DT Stephen Paea-So (6-1, 303) Sioeli Nau-Jr (6-2, 312)
DE Simi Kuli-Jr (6-4, 270) Slade Norris-Sr (6-3, 245)
SLB Keaton Kristick-Jr (6-3, 226) Isaiah Cook-Sr (6-2, 211)
MLB Bryant Cornell-Sr (6-1, 235) Will Darkins-Fr (6-2, 233)
WLB Keith Pankey-So (6-0, 208) Dwight Roberson-So (6-0, 235)
CB Brandon Hughes-Sr (5-11, 182) Patrick Henderson-Jr (5-10, 185)
CB Keenan Lewis-Sr (6-1, 197) Tim Clark-Jr (6-0, 175)
SS Al Afalava-Sr (5-11, 215) Suaesi Tuimaunei-So (6-1, 206)
FS Greg Laybourn-Sr (5-10, 205) Bryan Payton-Sr (6-2, 231)
P Kyle Harper-Fr (6-0, 197) Sean Sehnem-Jr (5-11, 195)




Justin Kahut will be a kicking star. Replacing Alexis Serna may be easier than coach Riley thought after witnessing Kahut’s four big field goals in the spring scrimmage – two were from beyond 50 yards out. Walk-on Kyle Harper was suggested to Riley by backup QB Brennan Sim, and the rest will be history if he can provide more than Serna did (Serna was forced into double duty by Kyle Loomis’s sudden departure). Stroughter again fielding punts will give a huge shot in the arm to this dimension; Taylor Kavanaugh is a two-time “Lunch Pail Award” winner, and did great when Sammie went down last year. This might go a long way toward finding a kick returner.