OSU football: Beavers announce depth chart for opener

Oregon State has unveiled its first official depth chart for the 2023 football season, answering some of the questions fans have about the makeup of this year’s squad.
The headline news that DJ Uiagalelei would be the starting quarterback was confirmed last week. During his press conference Tuesday, head coach Jonathan Smith said Uiagalelei won the competition with Ben Gulbranson and Aidan Chiles based on his total body of work.
“We had two big scrimmages and he played the best in those two,” Smith said.
Oregon St Fresno St Football
Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith has high expectations for linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold (55) this season.
Gary Kazanjian, Associated Press (file)
The team has not yet determined who will be the backup QB for Sunday’s opener at San Jose State. Smith said it is a close decision and the performance in practice this week will be considered.
The Beavers came into fall camp with one open position on the offensive line. Tanner Miller, a redshirt junior, won that competition and will start at right guard. Team captains Jake Levengood (center), Joshua Gray (left tackle) and Taliese Fuaga (right tackle) return at their respective positions. Heneli Bloomfield, who moved into a starting role last year, locked down the job at left guard.
“I think Tanner Miller has elevated his game in a big way. Flexibility, guard and center,” Smith said.
Sophomore Jack Velling will start at tight end, with Jake Overman and Jermaine Terry II still vying for the second tight end spot.
There are no surprises at wide receiver with Anthony Gould, Silas Bolden and Jesiah Irish filling those three spots. But there is a lot of depth behind that trio in Jeremiah Noga, Rweha Munygai Jr., Trent Walker, Zachary Card and Jimmy Valsin III.
Each of those players contributed in training camp and Smith said how they will be used will depend on specific game plans.
“I can see all those guys playing,” Smith said.
Damien Martinez is the unquestioned starter at running back. Deshaun Fenwick and Isaiah Newell give the team additional trusted options at the position.
There were more unanswered questions on the defensive side entering camp. In the backfield, redshirt senior Jaden Robinson claimed one cornerback spot, as expected, while junior college transfer Tyrice Ivy Jr. will start on the other side. Veterans Kitan Oladapo, one of five team captains, and Akili Arnold will start at safety.
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Oregon State is relying on the leadership of redshirt senior Kitan Oladapo as the team rebuilds its defensive secondary.
Amanda Loman, Associated Press (File)
Calvin Hart Jr., a transfer from Illinois, will start at inside linebacker alongside Easton Mascarenas-Arnold.
Smith said the competition for the spot next to Mascarenas-Arnold was very competitive. Hart got the nod based on “his physicality, his continued grasp of the defense.”
Smith is expecting great things from Mascarenas-Arnold, a junior who has worked alongside some all-time great OSU linebackers in Omar Speights and Avery Roberts.
“I think Easton is primed and ready to have a big year for us,” Smith said.
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The team listed just one outside linebacker spot on the depth chart, with John McCartan and Corey Stover listed as the starting options.
The team also listed just one defensive end and that decision is also unsettled with Andrew Chatfield Jr. and Sione Lolohea continuing to make their case.
Smith said the outside linebackers and defensive ends play a very similar role in the defense and how to list them was somewhat arbitrary.
On the defensive line, James Rawls will start at one defensive tackle spot with Joe Golden and Isaac Hodgins, also a team captain, listed as options.
Smith acknowledged the defense had holes to fill but he is confident that the team has the leaders it needs.
“Kitan back there has played a lot of football. Akili has played a lot of football on the back end," Smith said. "We definitely lost some production and leadership on the defense — and on the offense — but the defense in particular. So now time will tell as the season goes, but with Kitan and Akili kind of heading it up on the back end."
On special teams, Josh Green will be the punter and Atticus Sappington will be the kicker. Sappington came out on top of a tight competition with Everett Hayes. Sappington won that battle in part because Hayes was limited with a minor injury late in camp, but Smith said that was not the only factor.
“Atticus had a great camp. Scrimmages was really accurate with it. Kickoffs accurate and deep,” Smith said.
One position which was not filled this offseason was the jack-of-all-trades spot occupied by Jack Colletto over the past couple of seasons. Colletto contributed on offense, defense and specials, and was especially dangerous in short-yardage situations.
Smith said it is not possible to force someone into that role if they don’t have Colletto’s unique combination of size and skills.
“He’s just tough to recreate with his skillset and all of that. So you’ve got to do things a little bit differently, a little bit more traditional,” Smith said. “You can’t replace him one-for-one.”

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