The Beavers address their biggest need, their defense

Brenden Slaughter, Senior Reporter

After dismal performance in 2015, OSU signs much needed help

As the 2015 nine-game losing streak began to mount, the defense surrendered points and yards in mammoth proportions. It became clear what the emphasis of recruiting was going to be.

Head coach Gary Andersen and his staff knew that the Beavers were young and didn’t have much depth due to injury and inexperience.

On signing day, Andersen addressed those needs in every aspect, as 16 of the 24 signees were defensive players, including multiple that could contribute right away for OSU.

To understand why OSU had to address the defense, let’s pull out some statistics that Andersen and Co. probably want to leave in the rearview mirror:

• 482 yards per game given up (11th in the PAC-12)

• 37.5 points allowed per game (11th)

• No. of 40+ point games allowed (7) 

• 226 rushing yards per game (12th)

• Eight interceptions (11th)

• 17 sacks (12th)

I could continue, but you get the point.

Bottom line, OSU desperately needs help on the defensive side of the ball in 2015, but they took a giant step in fixing those problems with this recruiting class.

It all starts on the defensive line where the Beavers signed three junior college defensive linemen that will all vie for immediate playing time next fall. 

Phillip Napoleon, David Fangupo and Paisa Savea should all get significant snaps at either defensive tackle or defensive end based on their JC experience. All three give OSU something that they haven’t had on the line since Scott Crichton—raw power and speed.

Andersen who is coaching the 2016 defensive line, said that this group is going to be key for next year’s depth.

“All three of those kids are expected to play right away,” Andersen said.

To say that those guys are going to play right away is a huge statement from coach Andersen, whose experience is on the defensive side of the ball. 

“We needed to get longer and we needed to run better,” Andersen said. “That was glaring on tape. The good defenses in this league have long kids that are smart, and can execute the defense in the right way.” 

It wasn’t just the JC ranks where OSU got game changers, as the Beavers also got two blue chip defensive backs in Christian Wallace and Shurod Thompson—these guys are gamers. 

Wallace and Thompson are expected to be on defense, with Thompson checking in at safety and Wallace at cornerback. However, Andersen noted that he wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Wallace got some looks at running back as well.

Thompson and Wallace are the gems of the class, but don’t discount the other 11 players either. Every defensive player that was recruited in this cycle has the ability to change the culture of the defense that OSU had in 2015.

The Beavers knew it after the Civil War when they couldn’t keep up with the Ducks. They knew it when they lost to UCLA 41-0. They knew it when they gave up a Cal school record 760 total yards of offense to the Golden Bears.

But on signing day, the Beavers took the necessary step to not get stepped on in the deepest conference in the country.

They went on the defensive.

On Twitter @b_slaught

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