SEVERE WX : Wind Advisory View Alerts

SOU Football 2018 Preview: Offense

Now that the Raiders have their answer at quarterback, the focus turns to the depth and talent they return at every other offensive position.

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 11:03 PM
Updated: Aug 25, 2018 8:44 PM

ASHLAND—The task in front of first-year starting quarterback Wyatt Hutchinson is simple: Get the ball into the hands of the many playmakers at his disposal.

SOU returns legitimate firepower at running back, wide receiver and offensive line, which figures to help Hutchinson ease into the swing of things.

Running Backs

While graduation didn’t lead to an extreme amount of turnover on the offensive side of the ball, a transfer robbed the Raiders of a key playmaker.

Running back Michael Roots was shaping up to be a star, but now he’s at Central Washington after transferring in June.

It means a pair of upper classmen in Rey Vega and Austin May will be leading the charge out of the backfield.

“We complement each other well because he has speed, I have power, he can catch,” May said. “When Rey comes out and I go in it's not like we really lose anything."

“I expect at least two of us to get all-conference honors. I'm trying hard to get All-American honors," Vega said.

They’re understandably high hopes for Vega in his senior year.

He’s led SOU in rushing for the past two seasons and should be in line to make it a third straight in 2018.

May will be the biggest benefactor of the Roots departure in terms of carries, and along with Vega, they make up the power-speed, one-two punch in the SOU backfield.

"Guys want to be 30 touches a game but they're not going to do it here and I think they do that very well,” running backs coach Jack Singler said. “If they get tired, they come out, next guy up. You got Rey who's fast, the track guy, Austin who's power, who wants to put his head into everything. Those two mesh very well, they block for each other, they love each other and I think that's what it comes down to is the bond they have."

Wide Receiver

The Raiders have home run threats in the running game, but also in the passing game in the form of their experienced receiving corps.

They had 21 different players catch touchdown passes a season ago.

Although Jordan Suell is banged up, they have him back along with slot man Bronsen Ader and Jason Shelley, each of whom bring versatile skillsets.

“We take pride in ourselves being the catalysts, making all the big plays and getting everybody hyped with the deep balls,” Shelley said.

Wideout has long been a position of strength in Ashland, most recently with Matt Retzlaff, who graduated in 2016.

The reason for that continued pedigree is the shared knowledge from the veterans to the young guys. Receivers coach Nathan Chin said the veteran players who return this year will be vital.

“When you have four seniors in the group, for them to be able to show the young guys and to be leaders on the offense and in the program, it's going to be big for us,” he said.

Tight End

The receivers were involved plenty in the offense last season but the tight ends weren’t.

Largely the result of an injury to starter Ben Bachman, the position group caught just one touchdown pass a season ago.

Expect that to change with transfer Addison Witham, an all-around athlete at the position.

“I'm really excited we have an athletic kid who can do some things,” offensive coordinator Ken Fasnacht said. “Addison Whitham can line up as a 2 receiver and looks more like a slot and the athleticism doesn't drop much. I can put him in the box and kick him out as a fullback, then he can put his hand in the ground and go vertical and down block and reach block.”

“The tight end can almost be a secret in a way,” Witham said. “The defense will see the tight end coming in and they're not sure if it's going to be a run or if it's still going to be a pass. I'm able to block for the running back or I'm able to slip out and catch a ball and get some yards.”

Offensive Line

A lot of the time, the tight end lines up as an extra offensive lineman.

Not that SOU will need that, as it returns four key players on the unit from last year, including left tackle James Hines.

The experience and tight-knit nature of the group helps them interact seamlessly to execute the up-tempo spread offense.

“Communication is always key with the offensive line, just being on the same page, especially when you're operating at tempo,” offensive line coach Kyle Otineru said.

“Inside the offensive line room is a special place,” senior Tyler Cox said. “It's a family atmosphere, very comfortable. Everybody's comfortable from the young guys to the big guys.”

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348766

Reported Deaths: 4161
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah54797689
Washington37988313
Marion36055444
Clackamas29094304
Lane26966298
Jackson22632300
Deschutes19577123
Umatilla14241144
Linn12380120
Douglas11795240
Josephine9233195
Yamhill8517110
Klamath7709110
Polk715380
Malheur551574
Benton529130
Coos489691
Columbia371343
Jefferson361450
Union313146
Lincoln310638
Wasco281540
Crook274745
Clatsop239529
Baker198028
Tillamook193328
Hood River188337
Morrow181623
Curry178122
Harney108424
Grant97612
Lake89011
Wallowa67012
Gilliam1484
Sherman1463
Wheeler991
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4810682

Reported Deaths: 70604
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles147569426398
Riverside3693444990
San Diego3641044163
San Bernardino3563155566
Orange3227415518
Sacramento1576212279
Santa Clara1445181890
Kern1441461605
Fresno1441232051
Alameda1198871374
San Joaquin1018071708
Ventura1005241164
Contra Costa99234982
Stanislaus851571315
Tulare78945951
San Francisco54031645
San Mateo53828622
Monterey50696582
Solano45761334
Santa Barbara44836521
Merced41781577
Sonoma40711402
Placer38902415
Imperial35642764
Kings32369314
San Luis Obispo29653329
Madera23518281
Butte23364260
Shasta23360334
Santa Cruz20861218
Yolo20147247
Marin17581243
El Dorado16960149
Sutter13775169
Napa12808100
Yuba994282
Tehama9298104
Humboldt9102108
Nevada903990
Mendocino752786
Lassen746346
San Benito737372
Tuolumne673993
Lake6506104
Amador537264
Siskiyou442742
Glenn430330
Calaveras381780
Del Norte356141
Colusa301718
Inyo196739
Mono16445
Plumas15756
Mariposa127315
Trinity86011
Modoc6698
Unassigned1860
Sierra1760
Alpine1020
Out of CA00
Medford
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 43°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 44°
Crater Lake
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 43°
Grants Pass
Clear
43° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 43°
Klamath Falls
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 53°
Rain and mountain snow expected Sunday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events