Check out the advanced-stats glossary here. Below, a unique review of last year's team, a unit-by-unit breakdown of this year's roster, the full 2016 schedule with win projections for each game, and more.
1. Extreme Year Zero
The Year Zero concept is easy enough to explain. Sometimes a coach's first year at a given job almost isn't a first year at all. Sometimes he inherits a squad that is so out of sorts, or depleted or simply not filled with the type of players he needs for the system he wants to implement. In these instances, you basically give him a season to figure out where all the pieces should go and bring in a full year's recruiting class, and then you start the timer in the second year.
My go-to examples are pretty obvious -- Lou Holtz going 0-11 at South Carolina in 1999, then going 17-7 in 2000-01; George O'Leary going 0-11 at UCF in 2004, then going 8-5 in 2005 -- but every year we get more examples of the concept.
I'm not sure "Year Zero" goes far enough in describing what Gary Andersen went through at Oregon State in 2015. This might have been Year Minus-One. It's hard to imagine a less favorable situation to walk into, especially considering he walked into it in the Pac-12, a conference that might have the highest floor of any in college football.
Oregon State had regressed pretty considerably in each of its last two seasons under Mike Riley, who somehow managed to escape the slide by landing the Nebraska job. But while OSU pulled a coup of its own in luring Andersen from Wisconsin, the two-deep didn't give him much to work with and may not again.
- His quarterbacks were redshirt freshmen Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion and true freshman Seth Collins.
- His senior running back (Storm Woods) missed four games, and his backup running back was a redshirt freshman H-back/tight end (Ryan Nall).
- His best tight end (Caleb Smith) played only two games, and only one junior or senior caught more than 15 passes.
- His offensive line started four freshmen or sophomores at least once.
- Freshmen and sophomores accounted for three of the top five tacklers on the defensive line, five of the top 10 at linebacker.
- His secondary was reasonably experienced but constantly banged up; only two of the top 10 DBs played in all 12 games.
The cocktail of youth and injury was incredible, and predictably, OSU had no chance whatsoever of succeeding. The defense had a little bit of success against bad teams; the offense had success against almost nobody. OSU scored more than 24 points four times, but two of the four came while allowing more than 50. Meanwhile, the one time the defense allowed fewer than 21 points to an FBS opponent (17 against Colorado), the offense scored 13.
The best news about the 2015 season is that it ended. But not without a cost. At the end of the year, two of the three freshman QBs transferred (one, Collins, returned as a wide receiver), as did the leading tacklers in the linebacking corps and secondary. Plus, maybe the two best players on the team -- all-conference offensive linemen Josh Mitchell and Isaac Seumalo -- graduated, and Andersen lost defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake, now the head coach at BYU. (He also reassigned offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin, instead giving QBs coach Kevin McGiven and tight ends coach T.J. Woods co-coordinator titles.)
Andersen came back to the west coast, in part because he knows how to succeed here. He knows the avenues and pathways. He has connections. When he took the Wisconsin job in 2013, he hadn't coached east of Utah since 1988, when he was a 24-year old offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana. The move made sense in a lot of ways. But wow, is the task ahead of him pretty tall.
|Record: 2-10 | Adj. Record: 2-10 | Final F/+ Rk: 107 | Final S&P+ Rk: 102|
|Date||Opponent||Opp. F/+ Rk||Score||W-L||Percentile
|19-Sep||San Jose State||89||35-21||W||77%||83%||+7.7||+6.5|
|17-Oct||at Washington State||54||31-52||L||8%||0%||-17.6||-13.0|
|Points Per Game||19.0||115||37.0||114|
2. The defense needed an athleticism advantage (and the offense was just bad)
Oregon State got just about the easiest possible schedule for a team in the Pac-12 North, drawing Colorado and slumping Arizona among its Pac-12 South opponents. But even with a couple of non-conference gimmes, the Beavers still only played five teams that ranked worse than 29th in last year's F/+ ratings. That's probably not good when you rank 107th.
As you would expect, OSU fared better against the five lesser teams on the schedule, but only one side of the ball actually saw any change.
- Oregon State vs. F/+ top 30:
Record: 0-7 | Average percentile performance: 19% (~top 105) | Yards per play: Opp 7.1, OSU 5.1 (-2.0)
- Oregon State vs. Everyone Else:
Record: 2-3 | Average percentile performance: 46% (~top 70) | Yards per play: Opp 5.4, OSU 5.2 (-0.2)
When you're cycling through freshman quarterbacks, your offense is almost certainly not going to succeed. But the defense showed some semblance of game management against lesser teams. Weber State and San Jose State combined to average just 3.5 yards per play, and Colorado averaged 4.8.
Granted, Arizona and Washington State each averaged 7 or more, but Andersen, a coach with a strong defensive history on his résumé, at least showed that his team could control opposing offenses if it had some semblance of an athleticism and experience advantage. Now his job is obvious: create that advantage more often.
|FIVE FACTORS -- OFFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||37.7%||107||Succ. Rt. +||87.9||112|
|FIELD POSITION||Def. Avg. FP||31.3||102||Def. FP+||30.5||87|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||3.8||115||Redzone S&P+||91.2||107|
|Q1 Rk||97||1st Down Rk||99|
|Q2 Rk||112||2nd Down Rk||105|
|Q3 Rk||90||3rd Down Rk||55|
Note: players in bold below are 2016 returnees. Players in italics are questionable with injury/suspension.
|6'0, 208||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7833||91||135||1140||8||3||67.4%||9||6.3%||7.6|
|Marcus McMaryion||6'1, 206||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8406||27||67||403||1||3||40.3%||4||5.6%||5.3|
|Mason Moran||6'3, 200||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8558|
3. Is Garretson the guy?
True freshman Seth Collins began the season as OSU's starting quarterback, showed hints of promise against Stanford (20-for-36 for 275 yards and a touchdown) and Washington State (124 rushing yards) and was on his way to a nice game against Colorado (4-for-7 for 77 yards, 50 rushing yards) when he suffered a knee injury that kept him out of most of the rest of the season. His athleticism was obvious --thanks in part to Storm Woods' own injury, Collins finished the season as OSU's leading rusher. He's now a wide receiver after a brief transfer flirtation.
It was next Nick Mitchell's turn. After Collins' solid start against CU, Mitchell came in and went 9-for-24. He was decent against Utah and California, but not really. And he was 0-for-7 against Washington when Marcus McMaryion took over. Mitchell transferred to Dixie State.
McMaryion had been mostly dreadful. He was 8-for-30 passing before the Washington game and, with the offense turned over to him, he was a less bad 19-for-37 for 263 yards, one TD, and two picks against UW and Oregon.
Of the three freshmen who threw passes for the Beavers last year, those responsible for 273 of 340 are either gone or playing a different position. But here comes Darell Garretson to maybe save the day. Garretson was an Andersen recruit at Utah State and spent parts of two seasons in Logan hinting at potential. He took over for oft-injured Chuckie Keeton (now an OSU assistant) in 2013, then got hurt himself in 2014. In 14 career games, he threw for 2,576 yards with a 63 percent completion rate and 137.9 passer rating. He's not much of a runner, but he's immediately the most proven QB on the roster. And he's very nearly the only one, too -- only McMaryion and incoming freshman Mason Moran remain.
|Seth Collins||QB/WR||6'3, 195||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8113||102||613||8||6.0||5.2||50.0%||2||1|
|Ryan Nall||RB||6'2, 235||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8033||73||455||3||6.2||5.0||50.7%||0||0|
|Victor Bolden||IR||5'9, 181||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8351||36||185||0||5.1||3.4||47.2%||1||1|
|Paul Lucas||IR||5'11, 187||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8722||23||172||0||7.5||14.6||30.4%||0||0|
|Marcus McMaryion||QB||6'1, 206||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8406||12||47||1||3.9||1.3||33.3%||0||0|
|Damien Haskins||RB||5'9, 223||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8525||7||62||0||8.9||14.0||42.9%||0||0|
|Tim Cook||RB||6'1, 232||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8494|
|Kyle White||RB||6'0, 192||Jr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8331|
|Artavis Pierce||RB||5'11, 195||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8228|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||Targets||Catches||Yards||Catch Rate||Target
|Jordan Villamin||OR||6'5, 232||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8529||88||43||660||48.9%||27.8%||7.5||59.1%||40.9%||1.71|
|Victor Bolden||IR||5'9, 181||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8351||88||46||461||52.3%||27.8%||5.2||61.4%||36.4%||1.30|
|TE||6'6, 266||Sr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8546||38||20||202||52.6%||8.2%||5.3||63.2%||N/A||N/A|
|Hunter Jarmon||OR||5'11, 193||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8511||30||16||177||53.3%||9.5%||5.9||53.3%||33.3%||1.51|
|Noah Togiai||TE||6'4, 237||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8556||20||10||73||50.0%||6.3%||3.7||65.0%||30.0%||1.18|
|Ryan Nall||RB||6'2, 235||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8033||9||7||109||77.8%||2.8%||12.1||66.7%||55.6%||1.88|
|Xavier Hawkins||IR||5'8, 180||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8275||9||3||24||33.3%||2.8%||2.7||55.6%||33.3%||0.55|
|Paul Lucas||IR||5'11, 187||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8722||6||1||7||16.7%||1.9%||1.2||66.7%||16.7%||0.67|
|Rahmel Dockery||OR||5'10, 184||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8211||3||2||15||66.7%||0.9%||5.0||33.3%||33.3%||1.28|
|Seth Collins||QB/WR||6'3, 195||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8113||3||0||0||0.0%||0.9%||0.0||33.3%||0.0%||0.00|
|Ricky Ortiz||TE||6'0, 235||Sr.||NR||NR|
|Tuli Wily-Matagi||TE||6'4, 255||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8457|
|Andre Bodden||OR||6'0, 178||RSFr.||NR||NR|
|Timmy Hernandez||OR||6'0, 195||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8177|
|Trevon Bradford||OR||6'0, 180||Fr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8447|
4. Variety, at least
Oregon State's running backs depth chart in 2016 will be filled with some combination of Ryan Nall (6'2, 235), Damien Haskins (5'9, 223), JUCO transfer Kyle White (6'0, 192), and freshman Artavis Pierce (5'11, 195). The pecking order in the receiving corps will include big guys (Jordan Villamin, tight ends Caleb Smith and Noa Togiai), little guys (inside receivers Victor Bolden and Hunter Jarmon), and in-betweeners (Collins, JUCO transfer Timmy Hernandez).
At the very least, the Beavers should be able to create a plan of attack that takes advantage of a defense that either doesn't have much size or doesn't have enough speed.
The size lineup is quite a bit more proven. Nall was a revelation at times. The converted tight end battled through injuries that consistently took him off the field, but he had two breakthrough games, gaining 122 yards in 20 carries against Colorado, then putting up 19 carries for 174 yards in the finale against Oregon. He goes by "War Daddy" and delivers as much punishment as he absorbs. If he can stay on the field, he's quite useful.
So is Villamin. If the offense can deliver any sort of efficiency threat with the running game, tight ends, or slot receivers, Villamin could be dangerous downfield. He averaged 15.4 yards per catch and had prolific games against Stanford (seven catches, 138 yards), Utah (three for 94), Cal (seven for 83), and Oregon (four for 72).
|Rivals||247 Comp.||2015 Starts||Career Starts||Honors/Notes|
|Josh Mitchell||C||12||27||2015 1st All-Pac-12|
|Isaac Seumalo||RG||12||35||2015 2nd All-Pac-12|
|Sean Harlow||LT||6'4, 298||Sr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8640||7||28|
|Dustin Stanton||RT||6'6, 304||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8394||12||18|
|Fred Lauina||LG||6'4, 310||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7893||10||15|
|Gavin Andrews||RG||6'6, 332||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8466||0||10|
|Will Hopkins||LT||6'7, 293||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8132||3||3|
|Drew Clarkson||LG||6'3, 294||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8404||3||3|
|OL||6'4, 293||Jr.||4 stars (5.8)||0.8950||0||3|
|Kammy Delp||RG||6'3, 325||So.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8590||1||1|
|Trent Moore||RT||6'4, 292||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8073||0||0|
|Yanni Demogerontas||C||6'3, 299||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.7900||0||0|
|Mason Johnson||C||6'2, 304||So.||NR||NR||0||0|
|Robert Olson||LT||6'5, 292||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7556||0||0|
|Sosaia Tauaho||LG||6'3, 313||Sr.||NR||NR||0||0|
|Bobby Keenan||OL||6'6, 299||Sr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7785||0||0|
|Leo Fuimaono||C||6'2, 300||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8000||0||0|
|Miki Fifita||OL||6'4, 308||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8467|
|Blake Brandel||LT||6'7, 296||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8447|
|Gus Lavaka||RG||6'4, 350||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7858|
5. The line was a relative strength
Despite blocking for a different running back and protecting a different quarterback in seemingly every game, OSU's line stats weren't awful. The Beavers struggled in short-yardage (which, in theory, will become less of an issue if Nall can stay healthy) but created a lot of opportunities for their backs and kept their overwhelmed QBs upright for the most part. And they did this without presumptive starting guard Gavin Andrews, who was lost for the season with injury. (Left tackle Sean Harlow missed half the year as well.)
losing Mitchell and Seumalo obviously hurts, but the overall level of experience here is still solid. Of the seven returnees with starting experience (not including BYU transfer Brayden Kearsley), five are juniors and seniors, and tackles Harlow and Dustin Stanton have combined for 46 starts. Simple continuity and experience could lead to quality line play even without the two stars.
|FIVE FACTORS -- DEFENSE|
|Raw Category||Rk||Opp. Adj. Category||Rk|
|EFFICIENCY||Succ. Rt.||50.4%||127||Succ. Rt. +||93.5||92|
|FIELD POSITION||Off. Avg. FP||26.5||123||Off. FP+||27.5||108|
|FINISHING DRIVES||Pts. Per Scoring Opportunity||5.0||114||Redzone S&P+||87.3||115|
|Q1 Rk||99||1st Down Rk||90|
|Q2 Rk||93||2nd Down Rk||112|
|Q3 Rk||90||3rd Down Rk||93|
6. A Kevin Clune defense
Kevin Clune was a Utah graduate assistant when Gary Andersen was the Utes' defensive tackles coach in 2001-02 and became Andersen's defensive coordinator at Southern Utah in 2003. When Andersen moved to USU in 2009, Clune came along to coach linebackers.
Clune took the Hawaii DC job in 2013 when Andersen went to Wisconsin, and while it didn't work out well (109th in Def. S&P+), it only lasted a year -- last fall, he was back at Utah State, improving an already good defense to 26th in Def. S&P+.
Clune is a subscriber to the flexible 3-4 defense Andersen prefers; this isn't the most aggressive of schemes, but Andersen and Clune defenses tend to stop the run well and render you one-dimensional. There was no dimension last year for Oregon State.
The Beavers will lean heavily on JUCOs to provide the depth and playmaking ability that Oregon State simply didn't have last year under Sitake. They were bad at everything, but they were particularly bad up front: 126th in opportunity rate allowed, 125th in power success rate allowed, 123rd in stuff rate, 112th in passing downs sack rate. They created no disruption up front, and then they lost half their two-deep. Of the four JUCOs they signed up front (three linemen, one linebacker), at least a couple of them will have to contribute immediately. Otherwise OSU might again be every bit the same pushover up front.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Baker Pritchard||DE||6'3, 272||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8640||12||21.0||2.8%||1.5||1.5||0||1||0||0|
|Sumner Houston||DE||6'2, 290||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8102||12||14.5||1.9%||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Kalani Vakameilalo||NT||6'3, 314||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8610||10||8.5||1.1%||3.0||2.0||0||1||0||0|
|Noke Tago||NT||6'4, 299||Sr.||NR||NR|
|LaMone Williams||DE||6'3, 281||So.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8298|
|Elu Aydon||DT||6'3, 324||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8417|
|Chris Mengis||DT||6'0, 283||RSFr.||NR||NR|
|Andrew Iademarco||DE||6'3, 283||RSFr.||NR||NR|
|Phillip Napoleon||DE||6'4, 285||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8522|
|David Fangupo||DT||6'2, 325||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8463|
|Paisa Savea||DT||6'4, 290||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8059|
|Isaac Garcia||DE||6'4, 225||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8787|
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Jonathan Willis||OLB||6'1, 228||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8019||12||53.5||7.1%||3.5||2.0||0||0||1||0|
|Caleb Saulo||ILB||6'1, 236||Sr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8152||11||50.0||6.7%||0.5||0.0||1||0||1||0|
|Manase Hungalu||ILB||6'1, 237||Jr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.7556||11||33.0||4.4%||2.5||0.0||1||0||0||0|
|Titus Failauga||OLB||6'3, 248||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8017||12||22.0||2.9%||3.0||1.0||0||0||1||0|
|Kyle Haley||ILB||6'0, 226||Sr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8100||11||17.0||2.3%||1.0||0.0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Soesman||OLB||6'1, 215||So.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8475||12||17.0||2.3%||2.0||0.0||0||1||1||0|
|Bright Ugwoegbu||OLB||6'2, 226||So.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8104||9||14.0||1.9%||2.0||1.0||0||0||0||0|
|Ricky Liuchan||ILB||6'1, 232||RSFr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8266|
|Wesley Payne||ILB||5'11, 210||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8074|
|Hamilcar Rashed||OLB||6'4, 225||Fr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8543|
|Doug Taumoelau||OLB||6'2, 215||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8423|
|Andrzej Hughes-Murray||ILB||6'3, 230||Fr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8391|
|Shemar Smith||OLB||6'1, 200||Fr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8074|
7. Desperately seeking havoc
Clune's USU defense featured four players in the front seven with at least 11.5 tackles for loss and six with at least three sacks. In 2015, Oregon State had zero of either. That's astounding. And the only two players with more than 3.5 TFLs are both gone.
Sitake loves to attack but just didn't have the horses; unless the aforementioned JUCOs are all great, that probably isn't going to change considerably this fall. But to the extent that there is hope, it comes from the sophomore class. In limited action, tackle Kalani Vakameilalo had three tackles for loss and two sacks (among just 8.5 tackles), OLB Jonathan Willis had 3.5, and fellow OLBs Adam Soesman and Bright Ugwoegbu had two each. If they all undergo solid first-to-second-year development, and a couple of JUCOs make some noise, maybe you've got something.
The good news is that it almost literally can't get worse for OSU from a havoc perspective -- while Clune's USU defense had a decent havoc rate of 16.3 percent (52nd in FBS), Oregon State was dead last at 10.3 percent. Without play-makers, you can only succeed if you never miss a tackle and your opponent gives you some mistakes. There aren't a ton of offensive mistakes in the Pac-12.
|Rivals||247 Comp.||GP||Tackles||% of Team||TFL||Sacks||Int||PBU||FF||FR|
|Treston Decoud||CB||6'3, 210||Sr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.8152||10||40.5||5.4%||3.5||1||0||5||0||0|
|Cyril Noland-Lewis||NB||6'1, 204||Sr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8453||12||34.5||4.6%||1||0.5||1||1||0||0|
|Kendall Hill||CB||6'2, 204||Sr.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7973||11||33.0||4.4%||2||0||0||1||0||0|
|Devin Chappell||SS||6'2, 204||Sr.||NR||NR||11||32.0||4.3%||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brandon Arnold||SS||5'11, 202||Jr.||3 stars (5.7)||0.8528||11||30.5||4.1%||0.5||0||1||0||0||0|
|Gabe Ovgard||FS||5'11, 200||So.||NR||NR||12||17.0||2.3%||1.5||0||1||0||0||0|
|Dwayne Williams||CB||5'9, 180||So.||2 stars (5.3)||0.7752||11||16.0||2.1%||2.5||0||0||2||0||0|
|Charles Okonkwo||CB||6'1, 188||Jr.||3 stars (5.6)||0.8560||9||8.0||1.1%||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Shawn Wilson||CB||5'9, 187||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8498|
|Jay Irvine||NB||6'1, 200||RSFr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8389|
|Xavier Crawford||CB||6'1, 190||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8295|
|Omar Hicks-Onu||S||6'1, 196||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||0.8010|
|Jalen Moore||S||6'0, 212||RSFr.||2 stars (5.4)||NR|
|Landry Payne||S||6'1, 205||Jr.||3 stars (5.5)||0.8133|
|Christian Wallace||CB||6'3, 205||Fr.||4 stars (5.9)||0.9036|
8. Good cornerbacks, at least
Corner Treston Decoud made more havoc plays (TFLs, passes defensed, forced fumbles) than anyone on the Oregon State defense, with a decent but far from amazing 8.5. And in limited action, sophomore Dwayne Williams had 4.5. Williams finished the spring atop the depth chart opposite Decoud. If either gets hurt, OSU might not have a replacement in order, but they could be an excellent duo.
So there's one potential strength, at least. Safety play is still an issue. But there will be a pretty interesting competition between seasoned seniors (Cyril Noland-Lewis, Devin Chappell, Brandon Arnold, converted corner Kendall Hill) and interesting youngsters (redshirt freshmen Jay Irvine, Jalen Moore, and Omar Hicks-Onu).
On third-and-10 or more, opponents managed to complete 18 of 27 passes for 286 yards and only one interception last year. That is horrific, and having a bad pass rush only accounts for part of the problem. Aggressive corners occasionally got burned, and the safeties just couldn't get to where they needed to be.
|Nick Porebski||5'10, 198||Jr.||72||41.1||1||34||26||83.3%|
|Garrett Owens||5'9, 181||Jr.||46||56.0||7||1||15.2%|
|Garrett Owens||5'9, 181||Jr.||23-23||6-7||85.7%||5-8||62.5%|
|Victor Bolden||KR||5'9, 181||Sr.||23||25.2||1|
|Rahmel Dockery||KR||5'10, 184||Sr.||13||19.0||0|
|Rahmel Dockery||PR||5'10, 184||Sr.||10||6.8||0|
|Special Teams S&P+||66|
|Field Goal Efficiency||46|
|Punt Return Success Rate||124|
|Kick Return Success Rate||101|
|Punt Success Rate||27|
|Kickoff Success Rate||125|
9. Having a good punter was a very good thing (unfortunately)
Nick Porebski had no choice but to punt balls as high as possible. If a guy got a return off, it was probably going a long way. The Beavers allowed 10.4 yards per punt return (93rd in FBS), and while they allowed just 21.5 yards per kick return (68th), it was accompanied by almost no touchbacks. Opponents were out past the 25 on nearly every (rare) kickoff.
Combine that with getting almost nothing out of the return game, and you've got the makings of an awful special teams unit. But while returns and coverage might not improve, the Beavers at least have Porebski for another two years. His 41.1-yard average wasn't amazing, but nearly half of his punts were fair caught, and only 16 of his 72 punts were returned. That is an underrated strength a... and in OSU's case, a necessary one.
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Probability|
|Projected wins: 4.0|
|Five-Year F/+ Rk||-1.3% (65)|
|2- and 5-Year Recruiting Rk||52 / 54|
|2015 TO Margin / Adj. TO Margin*||-4 / -4.2|
|2015 TO Luck/Game||+0.1|
|Returning Production (Off. / Def.)||75% (72%, 78%)|
|2015 Second-order wins (difference)||2.2 (-0.2)|
10. Now the building begins
Oregon State's end-of-spring depth chart featured still featured all sorts of youth -- 13 positions were listed, and 12 of 26 first- or second-stringers were freshmen or sophomores. On defense, it was 15 of 26. That's the type of youth you expect to inherit in your first year of a rebuild; Andersen is in his second.
Andersen needed two full years to get rolling at USU. In 2009-10, his Aggies went 4-8 twice before taking two steps forward in year three and two more in year four. He's probably going to need at least one more year to get his chessboard arranged in Corvallis.
Depending on how his team maneuvers in close games, however, improvement in the win total is still possible. S&P+ projections only give OSU one sure win (Idaho State) but gives the Beavers between a 33 and 45 percent chance in six other games. Win two of those six, as odds suggest, and you've improved on 2-10. It's a peripheral improvement at best, but it's something, and then the actual improvement can begin in 2017.