When Grant Enger arrived at Oregon State as a freshman, getting used to major college football was a little overwhelming.
Enger had help.
Lineman Alex Linnenkohl was quick to lend a hand as a mentor.
After Linnenkohl finished his senior season in 2010, Grant Johnson stepped in.
“They were just guys that had been in the program for five years and they knew everything, so they could teach me what they knew,” Enger, a senior starting guard for the Beavers, said.
“A lot of it is just defenses and defensive alignments and how to predict what’s going to happen before it happens so you can make the right calls.”
Every fall camp the coaches do their best to teach all the players.
The freshmen need all the guidance they can get, so the upperclassmen take on the mentor role.
“When you come in, it’s a ton to learn,” Enger said. “Playing high school football, it’s a whole lot different. The speed and our offense, compared to my offense in high school, is just completely different and there’s so many things you have to learn. So you just have to kind of help those guys along and teach them when you can and take them aside a little extra and help them.”
Senior outside linebacker Michael Doctor has been working primarily with freshmen Darrell Songy and Michael Greer.
Doctor said he’s been telling them to focus on details such as their shuffle, alignment and leverage on pass coverage.
“You just have to pay attention to the little things,” Doctor said. “With this defense you have to do the little things right and you have to really pay attention in meetings and everything. What I would tell a young guy is just stay focused and be confident in the game. Because without confidence in this game, especially in college — it’s a whole lot faster than high school — you’ve just got to have confidence out there.”
Junior receiver Brandin Cooks had some good ones to look to for help when he came to Corvallis.
James Rodgers was around for advice and Cooks could always talk to Markus Wheaton.
Now Cooks will pass on what he’s learned.
“It’s really important because as I came in, I looked up to guys like Markus and James and what they taught me,” Cooks said. “So I’ve got to do the same thing for them.”
The job is to get some of the youngsters ready to play as soon as possible.
The Beavers have six true freshmen receivers on the roster and a few redshirt freshmen as well. Cooks wants to make sure they’re learning the plays and running the right routes.
“I’ve got to get the other guys ready to be able to step up to the plate because it can’t be just one receiver that’s successful in this offense,” Cooks said.
“We’ve just got to get them going and being able to make plays and able to learn the offense and learn the schemes.”
Senior cornerback Rashaad Reynolds said he coaches his teammates when they’re getting reps during practice and he’s on the sideline.
He also tries to make sure that the freshmen take care of themselves after practice, eat right in the dining hall and get in some film sessions.
“Any time they have questions, whether it’s in the dorms or in film, make sure you always sit next to a freshman so if they have questions you can help them,” Reynolds said.
Corner is a tough position to play physically, but it’s the mental aspect of the spot that can be demanding.
Even the best get burned.
“The big thing I tell them is don’t get down on yourself,” Reynolds said. “You’re going to lose some battles, you’re going to win some battles. As corners, we’ve just got to forget and move on to the next play.
“Also, I just tell them when you’re on the sideline, you don’t get a lot of reps, so you’ve got to get a mental rep. Which means that you’ve got to be paying attention when you’re on the sideline.”