Beavers’ Doctor ready to operate
Oklahoma-bred LB says he grew up hating Horns and Sooners.
CORVALLIS, ORE. — For the first couple of years, Michael Doctor drove Mark Banker crazy.
Oregon State’s junior linebacker had a variety of bad habits as an underclassman, chief among them “popping up like popcorn when the ball was snapped,” recalled Banker, the Beavers’ defensive coordinator.
But in Doctor’s defense, he was new to the linebacker position. The 6-foot, 223pounder spent most of his high school career in Tulsa, Okla., bulldozing over linebackers, earning a reputation as a powerful running back. In 2008, as a senior, he piled up 1,299 yards and scored a statebest 28 touchdowns.
But Oregon State coaches liked his size and athleticism, and they thought he would fit in at linebacker — and Doctor, who also totaled 430 tackles while playing safety in high school — decided he liked the
idea of hitting people in college.
Four years later, it looks as if Beavers coaches were spot on in their assessment. Doctor has become one of the most consistent players on Oregon State’s resurgent defense, leading the team with 72 tackles.
“We saw him only as a defensive player, just because of his athletic ability and how he can run,” Banker said. “That’s what we were looking for — we needed a good athlete who could play in space.”
While much has been made of next week’s Alamo Bowl being a homecoming for running back Storm Woods — who is from Pflugerville — it also will be a return to the region for Doctor. He says he expects “50, maybe 60” family members and friends to form a cheering section at the Alamodome on Dec. 29.
In the past few years, the Beavers have made more and more connections to high school talent in the Texas/Oklahoma region. It started with James and Jacquizz Rodgers. Their success in Corvallis has translated into a handful of other recruiting coups.
Besides Doctor and Woods, the Beavers have wooed players like defensive end Rudolf Fifita (Euless) and safety Tyrequek Zimmerman (Lawton, Okla.) away from Big 12 schools.
Right now, Doctor might be the best of the bunch.
“Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech — I was talking to all of them, but they wanted me to commit early, and I was not ready to my junior year,” Doctor said. “I came here, and it felt like home. I wanted to get away from what I was used to. I was used to the South and Midwest. I needed to get out of there.”
Doctor was instrumental in Oregon State’s 27-20 upset win at UCLA, “spying” Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley and mostly holding him in check. (Hundley passed for 372 yards but finished with just 32 rushing yards. Doctor recorded a teamhigh nine tackles in the win.)
That victory was pivotal in the Beavers’ turnaround this season; mul- tiple players have said the win in Los Angeles gave them confidence that they could be a postseason team.
Though he wasn’t pursued by Big 12 schools as hard as he was by Oregon State, Doctor said there is no bad blood.
In fact, though Doctor grew up in the heart of the Big 12, he didn’t ever dream of playing in it.
“I always hated the Sooners and always hated the Longhorns,” he said. “I always wanted to go for the underdog.”
So it’s fitting, he says, that he wound up at Oregon State. 1. Geno Smith*, West Virginia, QB 2. Alex Okafor, Texas, DE 3. Collin Klein, Kansas State, QB 4. Landry Jones*, Oklahoma, QB 5. Stansly Maponga*, TCU, DE 6. Tavon Austin, West Virginia, WR 7. Jackson Jeffcoat*, Texas, DE 8. Quinn Sharp, Oklahoma St., K/P 9. Arthur Brown, Kansas State, LB 10. Joseph Randle, Oklahoma St., RB 11. Broderick Brown*, Oklahoma St., LB 12. Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma, S
Oregon State’s Michael Doctor (right) helps bring down California’s Darius Powe during the first half of their Nov. 17 meeting. The junior linebacker will enter the Alamo Bowl against Texas with a team-high 72 tackles.