Latest in a series on Pac-12 spring camps. Today, Oregon State, which authored a big turnaround in 2012:
Starters returning – 15 (8 offense, 7 defense), plus PK Trevor Romaine.
Refresher on 2012 – Picked last in the Pac-12 North by media, the Beavers stormed out of the gate with an upset of Wisconsin on the way to a six-game winning streak, then lost on alternate weeks the rest of the way — culminating with a disheartening defeat in the Alamo Bowl to Texas, after the Beavers held a double-digit lead — to finish 9-4 and 20th in the AP poll. QB Cody Vaz gave OSU a lift when Sean Mannion hurt a knee, and the Beavers finished No. 2 in the league in pass offense (307.1) and No. 2 in scoring defense (20.6). The six-win improvement over a 3-9 season in 2011 was biggest in school history.
Coaching changes – Former Beaver and assistant head coach Jay Locey moved to become chief of staff, and Trent Bray, former OSU linebacker, was promoted from a GA to full-time at that position.
Major spring concerns — Scrutinizing the competitive QB competition between Mannion and Vaz . . . trying to find starters at defensive tackle and one cornerback.
Developments – QBs Vaz and Mannion continued a duel that took shape last fall and probably won’t be decided until sometime in fall camp. “We’ve got two kids who can win,” said OSU coach Mike Riley. “I think they both got a little bit better.” . . . a poll in the OSU student newspaper, the Barometer, on which QB should start favored Mannion, 200-49 . . . asked to single out players who made a push for playing time, Riley mentioned DLs Akeem Gonzales and Lavonte Barnett, CBs Larry Scott and Sean Martin, S Cyril Noland-Lewis, WR Obum Gwacham, TE Caleb Smith and OLs Josh Mitchell and Gavin Andrews . . . OL looks to have better depth and veteran Michael Philipp “is playing the best ball of his life,” Riley told the Oregonian . . . S Kendall Hill tore up his right knee after missing all of 2012 with a torn left ACL . . . DT Siale Hautau broke his hand before the midway point in drills. He was a JC import, along with Edwin Delva, to shore up a depleted position . . . Malcolm Agnew, first true freshman in modern OSU history to start the opener at tailback – he rushed for 223 yards against Sacramento State – has transferred to FCS Southern Illinois . . . CBs Sean Martin and Steven Nelson battled for the spot vacated by NFL draftee Jordan Poyer, Riley saying “my goal is to come out of it with both of them bona fide starters.” . . . last year’s primo freshman center, Isaac Seumalo, sat out with an elbow problem . . . S Ryan Murphy will be an honors candidate; defensive coordinator Mark Banker told the Oregonian, “The sky’s the limit for him,” and RB Storm Woods, who broke an 80-yard scrimmage run, at one point said Murphy “is having a hall-of-fame spring.” . . . RB Terron Ward said brashly that the goal is for both him and Woods to rush for 1,000 yards . . . OL Sean Harlow came in as an early freshman entrant, saying his ex-HS teammate at San Clemente, Calif., Utah QB Travis Wilson, recommended it after he did it in 2012 . . . Beavers will feature new Nike uniforms, with striped helmets, and a redone logo.
Spring game – It was a low-key affair in front of 8,263, starters playing minimally. Third-team QB Brent VanderVeen was 15 of 27 for 153 yards.
2013 schedule – On a schedule that looks fiercely back-loaded, the early hurdle is at Utah Sept. 14. Starting Oct. 26, Beavers face a gauntlet of Stanford, USC, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon. The “misses” are Arizona and UCLA.