PSU has holes to fill
Jerry Glanville can hardly believe what he’s not seeing. Portland State is going into spring practice Monday with only eight offensive linemen, including just one (left guard Moses Punzal) who has had much playing time. Also, the Vikings will have only a few experienced receivers and almost no healthy players at fullback and safety. “I’m kind of shocked we’re in this position,” Glanville says on the eve of his second spring with the Vikings. The cupboard is bare at those positions for various reasons. Gone are 18 seniors who played a lot last season, and reinforcements won’t arrive until later (25 to 30 more players are expected to be on hand for August camp). “I couldn’t fix the offensive line with junior college players,” Glanville says. “The high school players were better than the JCs we could get, so I went with them. The good JC offensive linemen are being sucked up by the four-year schools.” Due to the lack of numbers, the May 10 spring game at PGE Park won’t be a true game. “We won’t have two offensive lines, but we do have enough to go offense versus defense,” Glanville says. The cast of 65 spring players includes some who will be held out of contact drills because they are recovering from injuries. Notables still rehabbing are quarterback Tygue Howland (broken foot), fullback Bobby McClintock (torn anterior cruciate ligament), offensive guard Clayton Rios (back surgery) and free safety Jordan Brown (torn ACL). The active list includes numerous walk-ons, Glanville says — five at wide receiver, seven in the defensive line and seven in the secondary. “And we’re asking the student body to come out, if they can play offensive line,” he says, managing a quip. On the bright side, Howland and McClintock, who both went down in the 2007 opener, are expected to be ready for the season. “We thought both were the real deal,” Glanville says, adding that Howland could be viewed as the No. 1 QB, ahead of sophomore Drew Hubel, because “a year ago, Tygue was far ahead of everybody else.” And the Vikings (3-8 last year) look good at linebacker, where Andy Schantz, KJ McCrae and Ryan Pederson are capable returning starters. Notes: Junior Reggie Jones moves from wideout to left corner. “He and Andy could be the cream of the crop, defensively,” Glanville says. … Coaches are excited about JC defensive ends Joseph Ma’aseia and John Shackford. … Another transfer, 5-8 sophomore Raymond Fry from the University of Idaho, could develop into a pass-catching threat at slotback for a team that returns Reggie Joseph and Matt Smith, who were fifth and sixth, respectively, in receptions last year. … Glanville says three “unbelievable fullbacks” will join the squad in August —Austin Curran, Nick Kalpin and Josh Nakamoto. … Among the freshmen due this fall are “the two best backs in the state,” Glanville says —Cory McCaffrey from Sisters and Zach Todd of Class 6A champ Sheldon. They will play slot in the run-and-shoot. … Kicker-punter Danny Urrego is back for his senior season. All newcomers will be welcomed enthusiastically. “The people who show up in August will have to play,” Glanville says, “and we won’t have depth for probably another recruiting year. We’re on the ground floor. We’ve got to get the elevator going up.” PSU opens Aug. 30 at home against Western Oregon. After a bye, the Vikings will be on the road versus UC Davis on Sept. 13, Washington State on Sept. 20 and Sacramento State on Sept. 27 before the first of four 1 p.m. Saturday conference home games. “It’s disappointing not to have any home games in September, when the weather’s good,” Glanville says. … Junior Matt Leunen and redshirt freshman Jasper Croome from Lake Oswego are potential starters at offensive tackle.