Welcome to The DAM Mailbag: Beaver basketball, football, and the PAC-12 2023 football schedule


Jason May

Andrew Chatfield Jr. pumps up the crowd at the Las Vegas Bowl at Allegiant Stadium on Dec. 18. Chatfield Jr. recorded a sack and a tackle for a loss against Florida quarterback Jack Miller III.

Ryan Harlan, Sports Columnist

Welcome to The DAM Mailbag, this is my mailbag where I answer any questions that are on your mind about Oregon State sports. Anything that you, the reader, wanted to be answered, I will have here in this column.

What does the future hold for Tinkle and his staff? – @ryansandilands2

Right now, the future doesn’t feel like it’s too bright for Tinkle and the staff after coming off last year’s 3-28 season. I think that Tinkle is on the hot seat, there is a chance that he could be let go but that is likely dependent on how this season finishes. The contract and the guaranteed money will also play a role in if Scott Barnes wants to pay that much money to him. I think if the team can turn things around this season, then don’t move on from Tinkle. If things don’t get better and the team craters to a record below .500, I’d re-evaluate in the offseason and then decide on retaining him and the staff. 

What are the plans for men’s basketball at center for next year? Even if Chol [Marial] is healthy, he doesn’t appear to be someone who can play more than 10-15 mins. – @b7283sosu

My guess based on what the coaching staff has done since Chol Marial’s injury is that they will likely go with freshman KC Ibekwe at the center position for the rest of the season and likely for next year. Now, this depends on how healthy Marial is since he’s still in a boot as of right now and I haven’t heard any progress on his recovery yet. I think if Marial stays and doesn’t transfer somewhere else, he may end up being a depth option and a role player going forward, but don’t think he’ll be given a lot of minutes unless injuries affect the team. 

Thoughts on the overall PAC-12 2023 football schedule? – Peter Kuskie 

My thoughts on the PAC-12 2023 football schedule are that I do like the schedule that Oregon State has. I can easily see this team having eight wins before their matchups against Washington and Oregon. I also like how it gives both USC and UCLA the short end of the stick before they leave the PAC-12 Conference. There’s a likelihood we could see multiple teams with 10 or more wins when the 2023 season is finished. I don’t envy the person having to deal with the tiebreakers though, because that just sounds hectic to deal with. 

What are your current thoughts on the men’s ‘Rival Basketball’ game? Do you think we’ll have another surprise win? -Cole Keady 

Currently, I think it’s one-sided right now with the Ducks winning the past four matchups, but the games have been competitive. I think it’s possible to pull out a surprise win, you can never say never in sports as anything can happen, but it’ll be dependent on if the team can play consistently and together for an entire game. 

What player are you most excited to watch next season for Beaver Football? -Wes Flow  

I could go for the cop-out answer and say quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei and many fans would agree with that answer. However, the player I’m most excited about watching in the 2023 season for Beaver Football is linebacker Easton Mascarenas-Arnold and the role he takes on this upcoming season as a leader on the defensive side of the ball. Mascarenas-Arnold got a lot of work in over training camp, calling defensive fronts and pressures, which I’d expect him to take those responsibilities going into spring practices. I’d expect a big season from him in 2023. 

What is the plan for the DBs next season? Are any coverage shifts discussed given vets are leaving? – Nick Lijia 

I haven’t heard anything yet about changes in coverage responsibilities or which defensive backs will be playing in the secondary next season. However, I guess that Trent Bray will likely roll with defensive backs Skyler Thomas, Alton Julian, Kitan Oladapo, Jaden Robinson and Ryan Cooper Jr. in the secondary next season. I think this would be the starting lineup to expect when spring practices start and when the spring game happens in early April. I wouldn’t expect a significant drop off from last year, their position group has a lot of depth and they can all fill the void left by the departures of the veterans that are leaving.

I know Riley Sharp is switching positions from linebacker to tight end, what’s up with the position change? – Andres De Los Santos. 

I thought that was an interesting change as well since he had a good season last year as a linebacker. I think the change is likely due to linebacker Ryan Franke coming back from a knee injury that was suffered during training camp. I guess that Sharp wouldn’t have gotten a lot of playing time had Franke stayed healthy this past season. I think now with the position change he’ll have an opportunity to see the field more, I just don’t know how the depth chart shakes out with him now being a tight end. 

Any thoughts on putting a video board at the other end above the terrace? – Shawn Jenne

I was in favor of it when I was calling games in the temporary press boxes last season. I do see the appeal if you’re sitting in an area where you can’t see the play sitting on the south side of the stadium. Ultimately, I think it ultimately comes down to logistics and the cost of placing another video board if Scott Barnes and Oregon State Athletics decide to do so.  

With the Beaver Football program undoubtedly on the rise, what will the expectation be for a successful season? Bowl game? Eight wins? Win over the Ducks? – @Dane_Norlin

I don’t think there is just one thing that will dictate the 2023 Beaver football season being successful, but I do think making the PAC-12 Conference Championship game should be a good expectation and goal to have this season. I think that a bowl game and eight wins should be the minimum expectation for the team going forward. As for a win over the Ducks next season, I think it’s possible even with this game being on the road but the last time the Beavers won at Autzen was back in 2007. Maybe this year’s team finally breaks that losing streak? I think it could happen.

How will NIL money affect the long-term success of Oregon State Athletics? – @c_kortge14

I think that the long-term effects of NIL remain to be seen as there are no current regulations in place by the NCAA, so it’s pretty much the wild west out there right now. As a result, Oregon State has realized that it must adapt to how things are with the NIL landscape changing. I do have concerns about how it impacts the long-term success of smaller programs like wrestling, soccer, track and field, and rowing as much of the donations will go to bigger programs like football, basketball and baseball. However, I think NIL will be beneficial to Oregon State in the long run with the Dam Nation NIL Collective, which will help Oregon State athletes look for and obtain NIL opportunities while in school.  

If you could go back and change the outcome of one of the three losses from the football season last year, what game would it be and why? – @Johill_13 

The one game I would pick is the game against USC as that was a winnable game, minus the four turnovers. I covered that game and in the post-game press conference, I could tell how much that loss stung for the entire team. They had a great plan on both sides of the ball, but inevitably it was the turnovers that cost the Beavers a chance to win the game against a top-10 team in the nation.

Whom do you expect to replace Hjerpe this season? -Caleb Powell

It’s hard to replace the production that Hjerpe had on the mound with just one guy, but I think based on what head coach, Mitch Canham, mentioned during his media availability, multiple guys could potentially fill that role. There is no current rotation yet but my best guess is the leading candidates for the job are Jacob Kmatz, Jaren Hunter, Brock Townsend, Ben Ferrer or really anyone on the pitching staff. I would expect to get a better idea before the season starts. 


Hey readers! Want your Oregon State Sports questions answered on The DAM mailbag? Submit them to me on Twitter @Ryan_Harlan7 or by email @[email protected].

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