Pac-12 Conference Football Preview: Oregon State Beavers (Part 2: Defense)

The Oregon State Beavers will need some improvement on defense in 2012, but will not need as much as the offense. During the 2011 season, the Oregon State defense gave at least 35 points in five of their nine losses which included a 49-21 loss in a Civil War rivalry game against the Oregon Ducks. The storyline of last season for the Beavers seemed to be a defense that looked bad only because the offense could not produce consistently.

Nov 26, 2011; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James (21) breaks away from Oregon State Beavers defensive end Dylan Wynn (45) and defensive end Scott Crichton (95) during the second half at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Z. Rider-US PRESSWIRE

The main positive for the Oregon State defense going into the 2012 season will be the fact that they did not lose their key players from last season. Based on their Spring Prospectus, the Beavers only lost four starters (nine total players) this spring and will have eight starters (29 total players) returning this season on defense. Some of the starters returning include Scott Crichton (led the team in sacks, tackles for loss, and forced fumbles), Anthony Watkins (led the team in total tackles), and Jordan Poyer (led the team in interceptions).

The most important of these returning starters for Oregon State has to be Scott Crichton. Crichton will enter his sophomore year at Oregon State in 2012. In his freshman year as a Beaver, he led the team in sacks (six sacks for 33 yards), tackles for loss (14.5 for 63 yards), and forced fumbles (6). When looking at what Crichton bring to this Oregon State defense, it is hard not to compare him to NFL defensive end, Jared Allen. They both play the same exact game for both of their respective teams. They get after quarterbacks and ball carriers and they do it well.

The Oregon State Beavers have a chance to be very successful of defense in 2012. They have a ton of players returning to their squad and more importantly they have youth returning as well. Expect players like Crichton, Watkins, and Poyer to lead this team defensively and, if the offense can improve from last season, then the Oregon State Beavers could be a top team in the Pac-12 North in 2012.

For more stories on Oregon State, check out Beaver Byte.

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Topics: Anthony Watkins, Civil War Rivalry. Oregon Ducks, Jared Allen, Jordan Poyer, Oregon State, Oregon State Beavers, Oregon State Football, Pac-12, Pac-12 North, Scott Crichton

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