Beaver Football 2019 preview: Offensive Line

The Oregon State Offensive Line had its moments in 2018. The success of Freshman running back Jermar Jefferson is probably the most prominent indicator that the OL created opportunity for Jefferson and Artavis Pierce. But there was also another factor that wasn't great, There were too many third and long situations for an offense that was ok in year number one of the Jonathan Smith era.

Jim Wilson with the "Beaver Sports Network"knows all about the offensive line. He played offensive line at Oregon State and is a Hall of Famer. Regarding the potential of the offensive line Wilson says, "The development of the offensive line is critical to the improvement of the Oregon State football team. There is real potential for improvement that could make a huge difference in 2019".

Another thing Jim and I talked about is the fact it is year two of the Jonathan Smith era. Year two, how great is that!! Offensive line coach Jim Michalczik knows his personnel and recruited the incoming Freshman.

And now lets talk about who will most likely start in that season opener against Oklahoma State. Remember this is before the start of Training Camp at the end of the month. Let's size up the Beavers potential starters:

BLAKE BRANDEL

The redshirt Senior from Portland's Central Catholic H.S. should anchor the offensive line from that Left Tackle spot

Here are some of his 2018 accomplishments:

• Played in and started all 12 games

• Started every game at left tackle

• Part of an offensive line that helped Jermar Jefferson become the first OSU running back to 1,000 yards in a decade. Jefferson had seven games of 100 or more yards, including two of 200 or more. 

• Brandel and the offensive line paved the way for eight 100-yard games in 2018 as Artavis Pierce eclipsed that plateau in the season opener at Ohio State

• Pac-12 All-Academic Honorable Mention

Last season after Jefferson ran for 254 yards at Arizona State I had a chance to talk to Blake:

 

GUS LAVAKA

Next up is the Senior from Kearns, Utah Gus Lavaka, He has had success at Left Guard and at 6'4" 358 pounds he can take up a lot of space and create big problems for defensive linemen. His career at Oregon State includes opening holes for a variety of running backs including Ryan Nall:

CAREER

• Has appeared in 34 games entering the 2019 season, with 31 starts. Has started 25 consecutive games

• Named a Freshman All-American by Campus Insiders and Pro Football Focus in 2016

• Recognized as a member of the Pac-12 and national All-Freshman teams by Athlon in 2016

2018 (JUNIOR)

• Played in and started all 12 games at left guard

• Part of an offensive line that helped Jermar Jefferson become the first OSU running back to 1,000 yards in a decade. Jefferson had seven games of 100 or more yards, including two of 200 or more. 

• Lavaka and the offensive line paved the way for eight 100-yard games in 2018 as Artavis Pierce eclipsed that plateau in the season opener at Ohio State

NATHAN ELDRIDGE

Nathan Eldridge is the projected as the starting Center. He is a graduate transfer and played at the University of Arizona.

The 6-3, 292-pound, Anthem, Ariz., native is immediately eligible after earning a bachelor's degree in literacy, learning and leadership from Arizona. He started 25 games, including being the first freshman starting center at Arizona in 10 years during the 2016 season, for then Wildcat offensive line coach and current Beaver run game coordinator/offensive line coach/associate head coach Jim Michalczik.

CLAY CORDASCO

Another redshirt senior, Cordasco was a JC Transfer and redshirted during the 2017 season. Last year he played in nine games on the offensive line and also saw limited time on defense. He is 6'5" 316 pounds and has a chance to make an impact but that Right Guard position will be interesting to watch in camp.

BRANDON KIPPER

Brandon Kipper is one of the Beavers to keep an eye on. He is the youngster on this projected starting Offensive line. He is a transfer from Hawaii after the 2017 season. 6'6" 281 pounds from Caldwell, Idaho he played in three games last season but was able to redshirt thanks to the NCAA's new rules.

He is quick and strong and keep an eye on his development and improvement during camp. He has a chance to be really good!

Others to watch in camp include Nous Keobounnam another redshirt senior who could battle for a starting spot. Onesimus Clarke a who didn't play last season and Joshua Gray a highly touted freshman from Rancho Cucamonga, California. He could be a wildcard for Coach Michalczik.

,Two of the incoming freshman offensive linemen are Tanner Miller and Thomas Sio. Coach Michalczik breaks em down for us!! Tye are most likely down the road players for the Beavs.

 
 

The biggest change this summer from last summer for the Offensive Line is continuity. They have the same coaches back and they can only get better. I know the Offensive Line doesn't get the props compared to those who score the touchdowns but watch this group in 2019. They could be a key to the resurgence of the Oregon State Beavers!!

Next up Wide Receivers!!

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