April 15, 2009

Cavanaugh is key to lines success

Head coach Mike Riley likes to call Oregon State "Linebacker U" because of how many Beavers at the position have moved on to the NFL ranks. While the nickname is fitting, another group is slowly becoming competition for the heralded label.

Okay, so "Offensive Linemen U" doesn't have the same ring to it, but if you look at the work that offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh has done since joining the OSU staff in 2005, you'll see he has the accolades.

If you want to talk about grooming players into not only top quality college players but also professional athletes, Cavanaugh has been one of the most underrated coaches in the conference. He took over a group that finished dead last in Division-IA in the running game and helped make the Beavers a balanced offense again. While tailback Yvenson Bernard began racking up one 1,000-yard seasons after another, the offensive line was also enjoying preseason and postseason recognition.

With the 2009 NFL Draft around the corner, the Beavers have a very good chance to have an offensive lineman chosen for the third straight season. Adam Koets, who played a big part in the Beavers 10-4 campaign in 2006, was selected in the sixth round in 2007 by the New York Giants, followed by guard Roy Schuening in the fifth round by the St. Louis Rams last year.

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