Beavers’ Doc­tor ready to op­er­ate

Ok­la­homa-bred LB says he grew up hat­ing Horns and Soon­ers.

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS - By Lindsay Sch­nell The Ore­go­nian

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.

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