The DAM Mailbag: PAC-12 Realignment, Beaver Football, and OSU women’s soccer

Wide receiver Silas Bolden (#7) catches a pass during individual position drills  during day one of Oregon State Football’s fall training camp on Aug 3, 2023. Bolden was one of Oregon States top receivers last season.
Wide receiver Silas Bolden (#7) catches a pass during individual position drills during day one of Oregon State Football’s fall training camp on Aug 3, 2023. Bolden was one of Oregon State’s top receivers last season.
Sam Nicklous

It’s that time again! I finally found the key for the Barometer Sports PO box in between some couch cushions, and I’m ready to read your Oregon State sports questions and answer them in: the DAM Mailbag. 

Which of the newcomers on defense do you see having the biggest impact on the defense this year? – @SJOnlinekyle

There’s a lot of newcomers that I can see having impactful seasons for Beaver Football on the defensive side of the ball. The one player that has stood out to me the most this fall camp has been defensive tackle Thomas Collins. Collins has been constantly getting into the backfield and putting pressure on all the quarterbacks in team portions of practice. He has been named by Smith as a potential true freshman who could see some early playing time on the defensive side of the ball. I’d expect to see him out on the field in the season opener with the strong fall camp that he had.

Who should be Oregon State’s next rival? And why is it Rice? – Brian Rathbone

Two words: JT Daniels (if you know, you know). This, of course, depends on the Beavers joining the American Conference. After the whole saga of OSU trying to land Daniels out of the transfer portal, only for him to go to West Virginia, I think Oregon State fans would love to win a game against Daniels, especially if he starts most of the season for Rice. Plus, regionality would be a nice factor in coming up with a new rival since Oregon quit on the conference.

Can you give an update on the transfers/recruits for men’s basketball? I was at Beav bball camp and saw several new faces – @StanHagen1

The only new update is the season-ending knee injury to Nate Meithof, who is one of the new transfer portal players. Meithof was projected to have a big role this year, but will have to wait for next season to roll around before he can start practicing again. Outside of the one injury the roster looks healthy as of right now, but I should know more about players and the roster itself before the team opens the season on Nov 18. 

Have any current OSU athletes in non-revenue sports spoke up about the realignment situation? Has it galvanized them heading into fall sports season? – Andy Lasselle

Athletes in the non-revenue sports have expressed their displeasure with the realignment situation on social media, especially after the news of all the five remaining PAC-12 schools broke. I personally have not been able to talk to them because Oregon State Athletics has clamped down on any realignment talk until a decision has been made by the higher ups. However, I would assume that some of them are using realignment as motivation heading into their respective seasons.

What work, if any, has been done to prepare for this eventuality? What is the fallback plan? – @SlyClydesdale

I asked Scott Barnes about this when I was trying to find answers about conference realignment. Barnes said, “We have been working for months behind the scenes and will continue to exhaust all options in an effort to forge the best path forward for all of our student-athletes.”. Now, whether that is in the PAC-12 or not will remain to be seen, as there is even more realignment news right now swirling throughout the college athletics landscape. Ideally, Barnes and OSU want to stay in the PAC-12 to rebuild it; I don’t personally like that option myself but if they stay, then it’s out of my hands. My best guess if OSU goes elsewhere is either the Mountain West or BIG-12, and the longshot spot is the BIG-10 Conference.

Has Oregon State hired any consultants to look out for our own interests? – @hmbeav8404   

I have not seen any outside consultants other than Oliver Luck. Even then, I’m not sure how much he’s looking out for the interests of Oregon State specifically. seems to be working to secure a future for the remaining four schools of the PAC-12 overall. From what I know I do know, Scott Barnes is looking in our best interests regardless of where Oregon State ends up beyond 2024 and 2025.

How does women’s soccer look this fall? Rebuilding? Or just regrouping? – Nick Liljia

I think Oregon State women’s soccer is regrouping, but this is just an initial impression. They were dealing with a few injuries the prior season and that will lead to more losses than wins on the pitch. Now, with the team healthy and bringing in talent from the transfer portal like Regan Berg and Taylor Hannah, I think they’ve brought in a lot of good depth for this season in the event injuries arise. So, I think they’re in a good position to make some noise this season in the PAC-12 Conference. Especially with Berg and McKenna Martinez together in the starting nine, it’ll make for a fun offensive showcase for Beaver fans this season.

How often are we going to see DJ run? Like are there designed run plays for him? – @sevrlydistractd

There will be some opportunities for DJ to run on a designed run play or two in the playbook. In addition to DJU, both Aidan Chiles and Ben Gulbranson can run the ball on those plays effectively as well. Now, whether they’ll call it in a game for DJ will be up to the discretion of coach Smith and Lindgren, depending on the defense showing a formation where that play would be effective. Regardless of designed run plays, if a play is not there DJ is running that ball or throwing the ball away to keep a drive alive.

ACC or MW more attractive? Regionalism or more like-minded universities – Aaron Gerding 

Call me old-fashioned but I prefer conferences to be more regionalist. I know, that’s not what college football will look a few years from now. However, if I were deciding between the two conferences, I’d go with the Mountain West over the ACC, because you’re not traveling across multiple time zones to away games, like the rest of the defecting schools from the PAC-12 will be in 2024. Sure, you’d get more TV exposure, but you’re severely affecting your student-athletes in an overall negative way, especially with their mental health. Although there are concerns about money and revenue, I know that the OSU Athletics Department will find a way to make sure that the budget isn’t severely affected if a move is made to the Mountain West.

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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