Summer was winding down and the 2012 football season was a week away.
That’s when Gavin Andrews got the call.
It was Oregon State offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. He had some news for Andrews, an incoming freshman tackle.
“He calls me and says, ‘You’re not redshirting,’ ” Andrews said.
Little did Andrews know that the call was the first split in a road that would lead to his current destination at the top of the depth chart at right tackle.
Andrews was geared for a redshirt season, to work and watch and learn.
Instead, he was backing up starter Colin Kelly and getting playing time.
“They got me into a lot more special teams, they got me starting on the punt team and then the field goal,” Andrews said.
Cavanaugh had liked what he had seen of Andrews from his time at Granite Bay (Calif.) High.
With Kelly in his final season, Cavanaugh wanted to get Andrews ready to compete for the open spot.
“We loved him coming out of high school,” Cavanaugh said. “He was a wrestler, a good high school football player, a big, tough guy.”
Andrews made it through the season without any major setbacks, but he didn’t make improvements in leaps and bounds.
Looking back, he admitted to not being as serious about his role as he should have been at the time.
Part of the problem was his weight.
Andrews had discovered training table. He put on 20 pounds in the first two weeks and eventually ballooned to between 340 and 350 pounds.
“It was bad,” Andrews said. “It was mostly just drinking chocolate milk. We get meal cards and all the food you can eat, pretty much, and then unlimited chocolate milk was just two of the worst combinations, I would say.”
His skill set suffered. Andrews was a strong pass protector in high school, but the extra pounds were slowing him down.
“I couldn’t move as well and one of the things Cav recruited me for was my good feet and I was losing that with my weight,” he said. “So it was a pretty serious deal.”
Andrews knew he had to make a change.
If getting in shape wasn’t enough incentive, a big opportunity popped up between seasons.
“During the offseason when we still had Derek Nielsen, he was probably the top spot for right tackle,” Andrews said. “I knew I would have to battle him.
“But then when I heard the news that he was going to (Sacramento) State, I just told myself, ‘Here’s your shot. You’d better keep it.’ ”
Andrews started drinking water or Gatorade, eating more vegetables and avoiding fat in his food.
He’s slimmed down to 325 on his 6-foot-5 frame.
“That definitely helped me with this weight program and the running and everything,” he said.
Spring ball went well and Andrews has continued to work on his pass protection skills.
He said his run blocking is pretty strong and he’s keeping his pad level low and moving his feet.
His footwork is solid on pass plays, but he needs to hone his technique.
“He’s doing a good job,” Cavanaugh said. “He’s just got to improve with his hands and then (show) a little better recognition of alignments.
“He’s a real good athlete. He’s powerful, he’s a conscientious guy and he wants to be good, so he’s working hard at it.”