The second newcomer to the Pac-12 is Utah, and the Oregon State football team is familiar with the Utes. They've had some good games in recent years. 

Utah is moving more to the spread offense that's so popular these days. There was some dabbling in the scheme in the past, but hiring Dennis Erickson -- the former OSU head coach before Mike Riley -- as the offensive coordinator competed the change.

"We didn't have a wholesale change in offense with him," coach Kyle Whittingham said. "We started with the spread before. We are now more firmly entrenched in it with coach Erickson. He has added some things that enhanced what we are doing." 

Where OSU and Utah butt heads frequently is recruiting Samoan defensive linemen. Whittingham believes the defensive line is going to be the strength of his team again.

"We have big shoes to fill, but we have a tradition of being strong on the defensive line," Whittingham said. "We don't rebuild we reload. We expect this year to be same. The cupboard is not bare by any means. 

The Beavers open up the Pac-12 season at Utah on Sept. 14 in Week 3. OSU should be warmed up after home games against Eastern Washington and Hawaii.

What are your thoughts on the Utes and the rivalry with the Beavers?

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers Oregon State sports for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at cliff.kirkpatrick@lee.net.

(1) comment

Pac12 football

This is a SCARY game. Utah seems to always find a way to beat us in SLC! the 2008 game still makes me want to scream. I think that Riley better be well prepared because with the addition of Dennis E on the offense and a returning healthy QB for the first time since the Utes came in the PAC. I think they will be better then most think and we have to face them first.
This game will determine alot about our season.

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