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Beavers have plenty to offer a new coach

CORVALLIS — Oregon State director of athletics Bob De Carolis is busy with the search for the next football coach.

Some would say the job is going to be a tough sell for De Carolis.

Recruiting can be difficult. Corvallis is a small city that doesn’t have the entertainment or warm weather of a Los Angeles, Phoenix or the Bay Area.

The new coach and his staff will need to be ready to hit the road hard every year to avoid falling behind the competition.

OSU is, however, a short flight from any major metropolis on the West Coast and an easy drive to Portland and Seattle.

Then there are the questions about the facilities.

Reser Stadium’s renovation has stalled a bit, but OSU has a top-notch sports performance center, indoor facility and practice complex that rivals any in the conference.

On Monday, De Carolis released an open letter to OSU supporters.

It read, in part:

“As we move forward, the foundation for even greater success has been laid, and we will now focus on the opportunity to take the Oregon State football program to new heights. This is an exciting time for Beaver Nation. In hiring a new coach, our goals are to build on our record of football success and reignite fan excitement while winning the Oregon State way.”

One of the bullet points was that OSU will invest in top quality facilities.

The Valley Football Center is due for a major expansion and news regarding the project will be provided at a press conference today.

The transition on the field should be eased by a solid group of returning players, assuming there are no major losses due to transfer.

On offense, the Beavers lose quarterback Sean Mannion and his record passing numbers.

That may be a benefit in a sense, particularly if the new staff makes significant changes to the system.

If the desire is to go with a more mobile, athletic-type at the position, the Beavers have Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion on the roster.

Luke Del Rio also could get a long look as a potential starter.

Terron Ward is gone at running back, but Storm Woods returns after rushing for 766 yards and five touchdowns. He will be backed up by Chris Brown and Damien Haskins.

The offensive line was thrown into disarray by injuries throughout much of the season, but returns intact with starting center Josh Mitchell, guards Gavin Andrews and Fred Lauina and tackles Dustin Stanton and Sean Harlow.

Add Garrett Weinreich, Grant Bays and Isaac Seumalo — who missed the season with a foot injury — and the Beavers should be on solid ground.

After the season, outgoing coach Mike Riley said he liked the future of the offensive line. His opinion should hold true for his replacement.

“All the offensive linemen return, and hopefully by the time we get to spring practice, Isaac Seumalo will be in that group,” Riley said a day after the season-ending Civil War loss to Oregon. “And then we have some backups and some freshmen that I think will give us some depth in the offensive line.”

The receivers were young, but now have a season together.

Victor Bolden led the way with 72 catches for 798 and two touchdowns and Jordan Villamin became a big play threat with 35 receptions with six touchdowns.

Hunter Jarmon also returns and Richard Mullaney will be back after his season was cut short due to an elbow injury.

There are more spots to fill on defense.

Corner Steven Nelson, safeties Tyrequek Zimmerman and Ryan Murphy, linebackers Michael Doctor, Jabral Johnson and D.J. Alexander and defensive linemen Siale Hautau, Bud Delva and Dylan Wynn all played their final college game in the Civil War.

The Beavers should be OK up front with Jalen Grimble, Jaswha James and Lavonte Barnett and Rommell Mageo and Caleb Saulo have a lot of experience at linebacker, as do safeties Justin Strong and Cyril Noland-Lewis. Starting corner Larry Scott also returns.

The overall experience should allow the new staff some leeway in the recruiting process.

Oregon State tailback Storm Woods (24) celebrates with teammates Victor Bolden (6) and Jordan Villamin after scoring a touchdown against Arizona State. All three are expected to return next season. AP PHOTO