There are plenty of questions concerning the Oregon State Beavers and their offense heading into the 2013 season. Can Storm Woods get better in his sophomore season and carry the running game? Will Brandin Cooks step up as the No. 1 receiver in the passing game? Who will be playing quarterback? One thing that Mike Riley won’t have to worry about next fall, however, is the offensive line, which should be one of the best units in the Pac 12 next season.
That’s a pretty bold statement for a group that was one of the worst in the conference in 2011 and gave up 10 sacks to the Texas Longhorns in their 2012 Alamo Bowl loss. But looking at the improvement they made from 2011 to 2012 (Alamo Bowl excluded) and the returning talent they have along the front, and it gets a lot easier to see why many are excited to see what they can do in 2013.
In all, the Beavers will get four of their five starters back next season, led by true sophomore Isaac Seumalo, who could become the Pac 12’s best center by the end of next year. He’s joined by guard Grant Enger as the two returning honorable-mention All-Pac 12 members of the line.Together they present a strong interior that will push around plenty of defensive tackles next fall.
Beside them will be left tackle Michael Philipp, who has 35 career starts under his belt and is playing “the best ball of his life,” according to Riley. As a unit, the group has 88 career starts of experience, and the one new starter will be at right tackle, where experienced sophomore Gavin Andrews looks ready to step in for Colin Kelly. They will be a unit that is deep on experience and talent and they are ready to carry this offense forward in 2013.
With a solid foundation along the offensive line in place, the entire offense will flourish. The running game will take off and Storm Woods will breeze past the 1,000-yard mark. Whoever ends up at quarterback will have time in the pocket to make their reads and hit Cooks deep down the field for huge chunks of yards. The Beavers have big plans in 2013, but it all starts up front with the guys in the trenches.
And those guys are primed and ready to move some bodies and be a major force next season. Will it be enough to win the Beavers the Pac 12 North?