CORVALLIS As the Beavers head deep into the spring stretch run, three days remain for Oregon State and its spring practices in 2022. Here are some thoughts from offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren.
Junior Chance Nolan, who is off his first full year as OSU's starting quarterback, was asked to make specific adjustments to his game. At the forefront, play with improved throwing accuracy, especially in play-action situations.
The process has long been long-term, modifying Nolan's footwork to improve accuracy.
Lindgren said: "We've seen some positive observations." "We've seen some progress. Hopefully we'll continue to see it as he prepares for it this summer. We'll see it pay off for us next fall."
Nolan is easily the most responsive quarterback Oregon State has had during the coach Jonathan Smith/Lindgren era of five years. Before Nolan, the Smith/Lindgren quarterbacks had a long line of pro-style pocket passers who mostly ran to avoid the rush. Nolan gives Lindgren the opportunity to expand the playbook.
Last year, offensive coaches battled with the inconsistent passing because Nolan made plays with his legs.
"It's always fun to have a guy like that who can create some plays with his feet," Lindgren said.
Tristan Gebbia, a sixth-year senior, is competing in Nolan's competition this spring, according to sophomores. They're largely in the mix for the starting job, but they're trying to show Lindgren and Smith that their injuries have gone wrong in their 2021 seasons.
Gebbia, who is bouncing back from a hamstring, can cut loose for the first time since suffering the injury in November of 2020. Lindgren said Gebbia "has always been a little bit limited outside of the pocket," but prefers what he has observed.
"He's been around for a long time, and knows the system. When he's capable of raising his feet, he's made some big-time throws," Lindgren said.
Gulbranson, who has left shoulder surgery, impressed Lindgren during last Saturday's scrimmage. Lindgren noted the offense scored on all four drives in which Gulbranson participated.
"It's been a pleasure to have him back there. I feel like he's learned a lot about what we're doing. I think he'll be in the mix." Lindgren said
A question that often arises during post-practice interviews asks for young players who caught the coaches' attention. Damien Martinez, the most common name by a landslide is the freshman running back.
The 6-foot, 228-pound Texan retired early to pursue spring training. It's proven to be a rewarding move. Martinez has demonstrated power and burst. He's very impressed with Martinez's ability to quickly pick up plans and concepts as he is with physical gifts.
"You can really see the progress he's made from day one to what we are right now,," Lindgren said. "Physically, I feel he'll be ready to roll this fall and compete for some valuable playing time.
The Oregon State offense defeated several key starters of a year ago, including two who landed on the all-Pac-12 first team (running back B.J. Baylor, center Nathan Eldridge), and a tight end (Teagan Quitoriano) who is scheduled to start for the NFL Draft.
There is still reason to believe the OSU offense will be as productive and dynamic as under Lindgren and Smith. The offensive line has enormous expertise, the receiving corps is deep, and quarterback Luke Musgrave is on the verge of a breakout season, and the quarterback position is fantastic.
Lindgren is cautious but optimistic as the Beavers have five months to figure it out before the season opener. He wants to see more offensive line depth, quarterbacks playing at a higher level, and the receivers turn their abilities into explosive plays.
I believe we have the potential to do it, Lindgren said.
--Nick Daschel | |