It’s go time in the Pac-12 conference which means year three of head coach Jonathan Smith’s system in Corvallis, Oregon is underway as well.
The Oregon State Beavers are coming off a second place finish in the Pac-12 North division and fell one win short of a postseason bowl appearance.
The team returns arguably the best linebacker core in the conference, led by 2019 All-Pac-12 First Team (Associated Press, Phil Steele) and Second Team (Pac-12 Coaches) outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr., Avery Roberts and first-team freshman All American (The Athletic) Omar Speights.
The momentum coming off of last season is at an all-time high in Corvallis and Smith knows it.
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast with host Joe Fann and special guest David Helman].
Now that the Pac-12 approved plan is in place, what comes next? Two weeks of strength and conditioning with walk-throughs and team meetings before starting training camp in the second week of October.
Since the Pac-12 postponed fall sports for 2020 back on August 11, there was a lot of speculation and inquiry about if the season were to play out in 2020, how much time would the players need to get back into “football” shape and taking football hits.
We saw that last week in the NFL with so many players going down because of injury. There are current studies going on to see if that had anything to do with a lack of preseason.
But coach Smith is confident that his players will be at the level they need to be at:
“I feel pretty good on that end, especially knowing we’ve got another two weeks to continue to train,” said Smith. “We’ve had a couple interruptions with the fires and the smoke but we’ve had a majority of the crew around… I feel like these guys will be in pretty good shape headed into training camp.”
One of those guys in particular will have extra attention this season.
Hamilcar Rashed Jr.
The 6-foot-4, 238-pound redshirt senior has talent that you will see on Sundays. He enters 2020 with 120 career tackles, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and six pass deflections.
The Beavers leader in sacks would have been selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, but he instead elected to return to Oregon State for one last ride.
However, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and forced the college football world into a hiatus, the decision to opt out was made available for players. No one from Oregon State decided to do such, at least not yet. Including Rashed Jr. Coach Smith recently spoke with him on the upcoming season.
“Yeah he’s been at everything, working out, and we actually talked a couple days ago and he’s feeling confident in attacking this season. So that’s my understanding,” said Smith on Rashed Jr.’s status this season.
It’s important to note that at the time of this conversation a few days ago, the Pac-12 hadn’t approved a plan yet for 2020.
In this regard, no news is good news for the Beavs.
As of the time of this article, Oregon State will take the field come November 6 or 7 with Rashed Jr. in the middle of the defense.