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Spring wrap: Oregon State

OREGON STATE

2010 overall record: 5-7

2010 conference record: 4-5

Returning starters

Offense: 7, Defense: 5, punter/kicker: punter

Top returners

QB Ryan Katz, WR James Rodgers, WR Markus Wheaton, TE Joe Halahuni, S Lance Mitchell

Key losses

RB Jacquizz Rodgers, C Alex Linnenkohl, DT Stephen Paea, DE Gabe Miller, CB James Dockery

2010 statistical leaders (*returning starter)

Rushing: Jacquizz Rodgers (1,184)

Passing: Ryan Katz (2,401)

Receiving: Markus Wheaton* (675)

Tackles: Dwight Roberson (88)

Sacks: Stephen Paea (6)

Interceptions: James Dockery (4)

Spring answers

1. Primary in the secondary: Safety Lance Mitchell leads a solid group in the defensive backfield. Brandon Hardin is back at one corner -- he struggled at times in 2010 but had a solid spring -- with talented Jordan Poyer on the other side and Rashaad Reynolds as an emerging option. Anthony Watkins is the other safety with Josh LaGrone supplying the depth.

2. Outside linebackers are fast: While things are still uncertain at middle linebacker, Michael Doctor and Cameron Collins are fast and aggressive on the outside. Doctor, a sophomore, looks poised for a star turn. Collins is a converted safety who is building a reputation as a big hitter.

3. Backup plan: While starting quarterback Ryan Katz sat out with a wrist injury, sophomore Cody Vaz asserted himself in the competition for the backup role with talented redshirt freshman Sean Mannion. Katz is expected to be full speed this summer, but Vaz eased concerns about potential "what if" plans.

Fall questions

1. Hurting playmakers: Four of the Beavers top five offensive playmakers missed all or some of spring -- Katz, receiver James Rodgers, receiver Jordan Bishop and tight end/H-back Joe Halahuni -- and Katz is the only one who is expected to be good to go for fall camp. Rodgers, of course, is the most worrisome. At 100 percent, he's one of the most dangerous players -- catching the ball or in the return game -- in the nation. But he suffered a severe knee injury in October, and his prognosis is uncertain.

2. Lines of fire? The offensive line welcomes back four starters, but it underperformed last season and wasn't terribly impressive this spring. Coaches are still looking for the right combination of players. The defensive line didn't play terribly well in 2010 either, and it lost its two best players -- tackle Stephen Paea and end Gabe Miller -- who were both NFL draft picks. Who's going to be the edge rusher? Who's going to anchor inside? Line play -- on both sides of the ball -- will tell the tale of the Beavers' season.

3. Taking a Quizz: You don't replace a running back like Jacquizz Rodgers easily, but Beavers fans probably recall hand-wringing in the past over how to replace previous 1,000-yard rushers. Seems like the program just finds a solution. This spring a committee of backs did fairly well. Still, among the group -- Ryan McCants, Jovan Stevenson, Terron Ward, Malcolm Marabel, Jordan Jenkins and the incoming freshmen -- the ultimate pecking order hasn't yet been worked out.