The Beavers are coming off their worst season ever under 12th year coach Mike Riley. If Oregon State's going to improve upone last year's 3-9 record and get back to a bowl for the first time since 2009, they'll need help from these four guys.
Offense: C Isaac Seumalo
Thanks to the underwhelming play of the offensive line last season, the Beavers ranked 118th in the country in rushing. A solid running game is a good way to take pressure off your quarterback, but Oregon State didn't have a solid running game last season, and freshman Sean Mannion felt the effects of that. Seumalo is a highly touted true freshman who coach Mike Riley anointed the starting center as soon as camp started. If Seumalo lives up to the hype, he could be the anchor the Oregon State O-line needs.
Defense: DTs Andrew Seumalo and Castro Masaniai:
The Seumalo family is going to have a slight affect on how Oregon State does this season. While Isaac is on offense, Isaac's older brother Andrew is a senior defensive tackle for the Beavers. Oregon State struggled to stop the run last season – they ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in run defense – and if they're going to improve on that ranking in 2012, they'll need Masaniai's big body (6-3, 354 pounds) to plug holes. If Masaniai can plug holes and Andrew Seumalo can complement him athletically – Seumalo is smaller and quicker off the line – then the Beavers should see an overall improvement in their defense this year.
Special teams: P/KO returner Jordan Poyer
Poyer was a second team All-Pac-12 selection last season as a corner, but where he could really help the team is in the return game. Poyer is a dangerous speedster who's a threat to take it to the house any time he touches the ball. He had one punt return for a touchdown in 2011 while also averaging 22.7 yards per kickoff return last year. Poyer's return play will be pivotal this season as Oregon State's offense – which ranked 10th in the Pac-12 last year – can use all the field position help it can get.