Eugene, Ore. -- Both Oregon and Oregon State have scrimmages this weekend; some of the last live play before Week 0 of the college football season across the country. The Ducks continue to build chemistry on their offensive line with a group that dealt with a trial by fire in the 2020 season while the Beavers defensive line situation continues to evolve after the injury to Isaac Hodgins earlier in camp.
Oregon's line play under Mario Cristobal has been nationally recognized for a couple years now. Recruiting at the position is some of the finest on a roster with plenty of blue chip talent up and down the board. But seven Ducks are competing for playing time this offensive line. Last year, the first five had just 36 career starts after playing behind Penei Sewell and a group of multi year starting seniors. The 36 combined starts ranks last in the Pac-12 and 119th nationally out of 128 FBS programs. But the cameraderie is already starting to show through in fall camp.
"You know we have a saying, 'five men, one mind,' for the O-line," explained TJ Bass. "Not being able to hang with each and get to know each other super, super well like we should, it's a huge difference. I think it'll pay off this year.
Up in Corvallis, the injury to Isaac Hodgins at an already light defensive tackle position has given Oregon State coaches plenty to think about. And for Thomas Sio, it presented an opportunity. Measuring in at 6'3, 347 pounds -- Sio sizes up well to fit in the middle of the trenches. So he made the transition to defense, playing in the interior defensive line. He got some snaps there during the Beavers first scrimmage and figures to get more this coming weekend. He decided he wanted to make the transition to defense at the conclusion of spring ball. and has shown an affinity for the position. The third year freshman hopes to see more field time but he didn't realize just how much more physical this side of the ball can be.
<"Defensive line, it's like you line up and go but there's different stances. Honestly, it was a big change for me. I think it was something I had to work on the first couple days of camp. But you know going forward, good leadership on the defensive line they're helping me get better with it.">