Beaver football, volleyball, soccer prepare for 2018 season

Senior middle blocker Kory Cheshire watches through the net as a teammate sets the ball during practice.

Jarred Bierbrauer, Editor-in-Chief

Football

Coming off of a 1-11 season, the Oregon State University football team is looking to join forces with new Head Coach Jonathan Smith to rebuild in the upcoming year.

Smith said he is anxious to get involved with the team and begin his first season in command, after the surprise departure of former Head Coach Gary Anderson part-way through last season.

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“It’s always an exciting time for any program to get started in August,” Smith said. “I think the spring practices went really well, it leads all of that to looking forward to fall camp.”

In the 2017 season, the Beavers offense averaged just 20.7 points per game while allowing 43.0 points per game on the defensive side. 

“We’ve got some veterans in the offensive line,” Smith said. “I think we’ve got some athleticism and playmakers at outside linebacker on the edges, there’s three or four guys I feel really good about.”

Brian Lindgren, OSU football offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, said each of the quarterbacks have really showed some skill and athleticism throughout the spring. 

“You talk about Jake Luton, he’s got great experience and has played in the Pac-12. He’s a real cerebral guy with a big arm and I like what he did in the spring,” Lindgren said. “Conor Blount has the ability to extend plays, he can do some things in the quarterback-run game. Jack Calletto, he came in the day before spring ball and is learning it really new. I think physically he’s had a really good summer and spring.”

According to Smith, the decision to choose a starting quarterback will not be rushed.

“One of the opportunities is for those goes to learn the scheme in spring then go through summer and improve and grow into a leadership role,” Smith said. “We just kind of see where it goes.”

Smith added that he is impressed with the teams performance in practice thus far and looks forward to fall camp, where the players will prepare for their first game against Ohio State University on Sept. 1.

“I still think we’re building this thing together, the unity of the unit is important in fall camp to really dive into each other. Obviously we’ve got some new players, new freshman so we’re kind of seeing where they’re at,” Smith said.

According to Lindgren, the players buy in to what the coaches are doing. He explained the coaching staff uses film to show players how to improve their game.

“I’m excited and optimistic, we saw some good things in the spring so hopefully we can keep building on that,” Lindgren said. “I’m really excited to keep seeing the development and just to see the guys for the summer.”

Volleyball

Last year, the OSU volleyball team made an appearance in the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in school history. However, with star outside hitter Mary Kate-Marshall and setter Kylee McLaughlin no longer part of the team, the Beavers will need to make adjustments in the lineup.

OSU Head Coach Mark Barnard said they were able to prepare for Marshall’s departure before she finished off her collegiate athletic career.

“She was probably one of the top two or three players I have ever had here at OSU,” Barnard said. “I don’t know if we will fill her shoes as a single entity, but everyone on the team has got to rise up and fill her shoes that way.”

In spite of Marshall’s absence, Barnard said that the team is looking good as a whole leading into the upcoming season.

“We’ve got three new setters and so that takes some getting used to,” Barnard said. “Everyday is a little bit better and I’m happy with where we are at the moment.”

Senior middle blocker Kory Cheshire was named team captain of the volleyball program and said she is very grateful for the position. Additionally, she said the team will be just as good as last year, if not better.

According to Barnard, the team will have to defend well this year, but expects better defensive performance than last season.

“As we were last year, we’re not the biggest team, so we’re going to have to focus ourselves on the things that the smaller team do,” Barnard said. “We work hard, we scramble in the back row and we keep the ball alive.”

Cheshire added that despite the loss of Marshall and McLaughlin, she is still impressed with the teams performance thus far.

“The plan is to keep getting better everyday. To get into the gym, stay in the present and whatever we do today is going to play out tomorrow,” Cheshire said. “We’re just going up from here, hopefully peak by December when we make it in the NCAA tournament.”

 Men’s Soccer

Last season, the OSU men’s soccer team were never able to catch fire, ending on an overall record of 7-11. However, they were able to ultimately upset No. 20 University of Washington in a shootout during their final game of the season. Now, with 15 freshman on the roster and Head Coach Terry Boss new to the position, the Beavers will be tested once more to see if they have the spark.

Senior forward Don Tchiloa said so far there’s a lot of promising talent on the field this year.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys who are trying to mesh with the returners but right now there is no reason not to be excited,” Tchiloa said. “It’s just about bringing us together and seeing what we can produce out on the field.”

Tchiloa said that under a new head coach, it’s about learning new tactics and new formations from what they’re used to. 

“The biggest thing for me as a leader is working on our team chemistry for the old guys and new guys coming in, and being able to learn to the tactics and formations,” Tchiloa said. “I think if we’re able to succeed and do that well, it’s going to be good results for us on the field.”

Senior Midfielder Nathan Braaten added that it’s going to be a different brand of soccer than fans are used to seeing at OSU.

“We’ve got a lot of new guys so it’s kind of working on the chemistry with the team,” Braaten said. “Making sure that we’re all on the same page when we get going because everybody here knows how to play. It’s just a matter of getting everybody dialed in.”

Braaten said the team will play in a more creative, free-flowing style complete with more passing.

“I think everyone is really excited to be here and the team has a good energy about it, so I think we’re going to have a good season,” Braaten said.

According to Tchiloa, fans can expect exciting soccer this year, despite the youth of the team and a new head coach. 

“We’re going to be attacking-minded, the games are going to be very exciting and there’s going to be a lot of goals being scored,” Tchiloa said. “It’s going to be a good environment, we have the field redone, the banners redone, so I think we’re all just excited for a new fase with our new head coach. I think it’s going to be a big season, and I’m excited for the fans to come see what we’ve got cooking up for them.”