Jonathan Smith, the first-year head coach for the Oregon State Beavers, may be happier than usual to put spring behind his squad — particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
As Chantel Jennings of The Athletic points out, the Beavers’ defense is still reeling from an injury-riddled season.
Oregon State's defense had four (total) players in the secondary this spring, which meant reps for the whole team were limited. So, what will this defense look like this fall? That and more answered in the State of the Program: https://t.co/v0Sn16wHjB
— Chantel Jennings (@ChantelJennings) April 29, 2018
From The Athletic:
New head coaches relish the opportunity to get out in the spring, to see and evaluate the players they inherited. Smith has enjoyed his time in Corvallis so far, but there’s a bit of an asterisk next to the “see” and “evaluate” for him. Because there were so many season-ending injuries in 2017 and players are still recovering from offseason surgeries and dings — especially on defense — depth was thin during spring practice.
Up front, with injuries to two players, Oregon State had just eight players repping on the defensive line. At linebacker, the Beavers’ most experienced player — outside linebacker Bright Ugwoegbu, who has 20 starts under his belt — was suspended indefinitely in early April. The defensive backfield also was limited by injuries.
As Smith begins to enter his first full year of recruiting with the Beavers, he indicated his philosophy in pursuing talent that can be developed.
“We’re going to make our own decisions, our own evaluations on guys,” Smith said. “I think that the recruiting piece less talked about is the development that needs to take place when they’re on campus. I don’t care if the guy is a five-star or a one-star, the guy has to continually develop and improve, and that’s where I feel really good about the staff we have here.”
Oregon State won just one game last year and Smith has a long road ahead of him to revive the Beavers’ program.