Surprisingly, the Beavers, who were 3-9 last season, don't have a lot of camp battles. However, they do have one at running back that all Oregon State fans should keep their eye on.
After Oregon State's running game ranked 118th in the country last season -- out of 120 teams -- coach Mike Riley decided it would probably be a good idea to open up the competition for starting running back. Riley had so many running backs trying to win the spot when camp started that he moved last year's second leading rusher -- Jovan Stevenson -- to cornerback. Each back has their plusses and minuses: for instance, Agnew was the starting back last year, but he dealt with hamstring problems and ball-control issues. Brown may be the most intriguing choice and not because he shares a name with a celebrity. He's big (5-foot-10, 208 pounds), he's fast and he can find an opening in the smallest of holes, which is a strong attribute because the Beaver O-line is still a work in progress.
Center: Isaac Seumalo vs. no one
This isn't technically a battle; this is more of an indictment of how much Oregon State's offensive line struggled last season. Seumalo, a true freshman, walked into camp and was given the starting center spot. Now that's not exactly bad news for the Beavers, Seumalo was a decorated player coming out of high school and was ranked the third best offensive linemen in the country. Seumalo will anchor a line that consists of three returning starters and left tackle Michael Philipp, who's technically not a returning starter, but he did start as freshman in 2009. Philipp redshirted last year after an injury-marred 2010. If the play of the line improves, Oregon State's atrocious running game should improve with it and Sean Mannion will drop back to pass with more confidence. The O-line has the potential to make or break tbe Beavers 2012 season.
Punting competitions aren't that sexy, but Oregon State fans will probably want to keep an eye on this. In one corner you have the Thunder from Down Under Tim McMullen. McMullen is an Australian who came to the states to play football. His career started at Humboldt State before he switched to Oregon State last summer. McMullen averaged 41.0 yards on 46 punts in 2010. In corner No. 2, you have Keith Kostol. Kostol is a solid athlete -- he ran track and played soccer in high school -- with a lanky build (6-foot-3, 189 pounds). McMullen is probably the slight frontrunner for the job, but he's only been playing football since 2009, so Kostol might be able to take advantage of the Australian's inexperience.