Special note from Tim: Week in and week out I plan to bring you stories about football at Oregon State, stories from my days in the program as well as my observations about this year's Beavers and their opponents. I look forward to interacting with you, answering your questions on this blog, on Talkin’ Beavers, and on #BeaversFB on Comcast Sports Northwest. Also, find me on twitter @EuhusBeaver
Starting Thursday on campuses across the country, fans will gather to cheer on their respective college football teams. Every team starts the season with zero wins and a clean whiteboard. After a poor start, a rough middle, and a bowl win over Boise State to end the 2013 campaign, Beaver Nation has several things to look forward to as it gathers at Reser Stadium Saturday to kick off the 2014 season.
Sean Mannion returns for his senior year
This is not breaking news. However, its importance cannot be understated. Sean entered fall camp as the named starter for the first time in his career at Oregon State. Over the summer, he leveraged his Team Captain status and demanded accountability from his teammates while completing grueling offseason workouts. While other college students spent their summers floating the river or camping at the coast, Sean brought the offense together for more sessions throwing the football than any quarterback in Oregon State history. These extra sessions allowed Sean to work on his reads and to develop timing with his receivers, tight ends, and running backs. These sessions not only benefited Sean, but, they allowed the receivers to work on the details of each route. The extra time spent over the summer on the passing game will pay dividends both early against Portland State and later on as the season progresses.
Michael Doctor returns for a fifth season
Again, this is not breaking news. Much like Sean, Michael has become an ‘old man’ in the program. While Sean leads by playing quarterback, Doctor leads by being a football player. He can run, tackle, and understands how he fits into both the run and pass defenses. He was the missing piece on defense in 2013. The Beavers have experienced safeties and linebackers with eight defensive starters return. These eight have trained together, watched film together, and trust each other. Over the course of fall camp those eight have led a charge to communicate more effectively. For the Beavers to improve on last year’s record, the defense must improve. With a healthy Michael Doctor, it will.
As a tenth grader at Churchill High School, I was taught by Coach Mike Nicksic that teams increase their probability of winning by displaying better chemistry and competing with higher character. Both Sean and Michael have proven that they can overcome adversity and are ‘character guys’. The Beavers players and coaches have done their best to mix the right chemicals in the lab to produce a winner. The game plan is set for the home opener and I am excited to see the 2014 product on the field for the first time Saturday.