March 13, 2008

Redshirt Reviews--the running backs

While the Oregon State football team has numerous holes to fill for the upcoming 2008 season, none of them probably compare to the void at the running back position. Known for its prestige and relevancy since ex-OSU legend Ken Simonton and head coach Mike Riley entered Corvallis a decade ago, it will be one of the Beavers' primary concerns heading into spring practices.

First it was Simonton, then NFL All-Pro running back Steven Jackson, and now recently departed Yvenson Bernard. The undersized tailback from Boca Raton, Fla. concluded his illustrious career two months ago with an outstanding 177-yard performance in the Emerald Bowl win over Maryland. In the same game, he also moved up to No. 6 all-time on the Pac-10 career rushing yards list, and despite being hampered by numerous injuries throughout his tenure at OSU, he still rushed for 1,000 yards three straight seasons.

Although the entire backfield is graduating, two redshirt freshmen have all ready shown that the production at the position will not regress this season. Both big and aggressive runners, Ryan McCants and Ahmed Mokhtar entered Oregon State last August and both had impressive fall camps. They were so promising that Riley even considered playing them as true freshmen. With all ready enough depth, however, the right decision to redshirt them was made, and both have had ample time to learn the ropes of collegiate football.

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