Corvallis, Ore. -- Oregon State football began their spring practices on Tuesday morning, signalling the unofficial start of the 2019-2020 season. The Beavers, who finished 2-10 in Jonathan Smith's first year as head coach, return talent at nearly every position, and bolstered by some others with transfer players. At the quarterback position, former Nebraska signal caller Tristan Gebbia will be a frontrunner to start, but will have to contend with last year's starter: Jake Luton. The senior was granted a medical redshirt, allowing him to return and play next season, creating a real QB competition that OSU has not seen in a few years.
"I thought they were crisp going to the right spots with the ball," says Smith of his quarterbacks. "It's great to have a few guys out there now that are eligible now with Tristan and Nick. I feel good about that group."
"Me and Jake were friends and we know what's going on obviously," Gebbia continued. "We are pushing each other and I think it's great. It's great to have competition at every position really. It will make both of us better for sure."
There will be other position battles all over the field heading into the season for OSU. Kee Whetzel will be moving to safety from linebacker, while the other Nebraska transfers, Tyjon Lindsey and Avery Roberts will factor into the wide receiver and linebacker spots. In shoring up the defensive end of the ball, the Beaver coaching staff also brought in Addison Gumbs, a defensive end from perennial powerhouse Oklahoma.
But it's the returning players, more in shape and ready for the grind of a Pac-12 schedule, that Smith and the rest of his coaching staff are excited about. The culture change so often spoken about in Corvallis may finally be taking shape.
"I thought the energy was good," Smith says. "You can tell that these guys are a year along. You can just feel it within the system and operating out there. I thought there was a lot of teaching and getting the fundamentals and techniques down."
"Last year we had a lot of young guys and young talent," Jake Luton continues. "Having them come back in year two, they know the playbook a little bit better and they are able to step into a different role and start to seeing them grow has been fun."
Oregon State will play their Spring Game on April 20th at Reser Stadium.