Oregon State Head Coach Trent Bray Talks Running Backs, Transfer Portal, And Upcoming Spring Game

750 The Game Staff

Oregon State football holds its spring game this upcoming Saturday at Reser Stadium. Head coach Trent Bray stopped by 750 The Game to talk with John Canzano (Afternoons 3-6 p.m.) to preview the big weekend and the state of his roster as OSU prepares for an important 2024 season.

“It’s fundamentally, what do we want to be great at, what do we want to be our identity, and then really focus on implementing those things and teaching those things,” Bray said of his approach to spring practice, his first as OSU head coach. “A lot less scheme, and more about those 4-5 things that we got to do really well, and let’s get really good at those things.”

Oregon State’s running back room looks different than it did even a week ago. The Beavs leading rusher, Damien Martinez, who publicly pledged his commitment numerous times to stay at Oregon State for his collegiate career, went back on his word and decided to enter the transfer portal.

“I don’t get mad at the kid for that,” Bray said when asked about Martinez’s departure and how it affected other players on the program. “They’ve got a lot of people in their ear. People that are selling them on stuff. They’re hearing all different points of view from third parties and stuff like that.

“It’s unfortunate when you lose a guy like that, but it is the world we live in now, and you have to be ready to adapt and make sure you’re developing guys along the way, so when it does happen, it doesn’t destroy your team or destroy that position group, which is why we feel good about the backfield now.”

Bray is excited about the backs ready to step up in Martinez’s place, including a returning Beav in Jam Griffin as well as Colorado transfer Anthony Hankerson.

“I mean, they’re really good,” Bray said of his top two backs. “Talented backs, and they’re complete backs. They’re guys who are dynamic in the run game, especially with the scheme that we’re running, and they’re good out of the backfield as receivers, and they’re good in pass protection. So when you’re talking about not having to sub guys out on third down or passing situations, they can play every down and distance, that’s been great to see.

“Our practices, the last three practices since that happened, have been our best practices of the spring. So I think they really responded well.”

As for the NIL funds previously earmarked for Martinez, can Bray find new areas to help the program?

“When you look at building a roster and the other things that you might need or want to do on the current roster, I think that it opens up some opportunities to get better as a team,” Bray said.

As for whether or not the Beavs will try to get active in this spring window of the transfer portal, Bray said they’re always looking for ways to bolster the roster.

“I like what we have. I think we got a chance to be good. But we’re always going to look – is there a guy in there that’s interested that could come in and make us that much better. I think you’re always going to look, you’re never going to say, ‘Oh, we’re done, we’re never going to try to improve our roster.'”

The Beavers spring game is set for noon on Saturday, free admission at Reser Stadium, televised on Pac-12 Network.

Listen to the full interview with Trent Bray at the podcast below, and catch John Canzano’s Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.