Beavers tight ends get their own Coach Andersen
KEEGAN ANDERSEN WORKS WITH DAD AND ON OREGON STATE'S PASS GAME
CORVALLIS There is another Andersen on the Oregon State coaching staff this season. And yes, he is a relative.
Graduate assistant Keegan Andersen is the oldest of head coach Gary Andersen's three boys. Twins Chasen and Hagen are students at Utah State, and Chasen is a redshirt freshman linebacker for the Aggies.
Keegan played football at Utah State, too. He was a tight end from 2010-13, the first three seasons when his father was the Aggies' head coach. Keegan started as a senior under Andersen's successor, Matt Wells, after Andersen had departed for Wisconsin. Keegan's quarterback that season? Darell Garretson, now sitting out this year at Oregon State after a transfer.
"Keegan was a good player," the senior Andersen says. "He got in there and banged around for three years. He played everywhere. Once he honed into that 'H' position, he became a starter and did his role."
After graduation, Keegan followed his father to Wisconsin, where he served as a defensive grad assistant in 2014. Now he is working the offensive side of the ball for the Beavers.
"I love it," says Andersen, 25. "I'm learning a lot every day, taking in all I can."
Andersen is helping another GA, ex-Wisconsin tight end Brian Wozniak, with the tight ends.
"Brian does more of the (tight end) and I'm more H-back, off the ball," says the 6-2 Andersen, who has dropped to 215 pounds from his playing weight between 230 and 240. "He is more familiar with technique in the run game. I'm more pass game."
Offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin -- who was Andersen's position coach at Utah State in 2011 -- is officially in charge of the tight ends. With starter Caleb Smith redshirting this season, there are three coaches for three tight ends -- Noah Togiah, Kellen Clute and Brent VanderVeen.
"My dad always gives us crap and says the tight ends are spoiled," Andersen says with a grin. "One coach to a player.
"Coach Baldwin wanted me on the offensive side, and that's where I feel more comfortable. It's the same offense we ran at Utah State. It was an easy transition. I knew everything already."
The transition to Corvallis has also been smooth for Andersen and his bride of just more than a year, Jen. They bought a house, with a loan for a down payment from Keegan's father.
"Corvallis is awesome," Keegan says. "It's just like Logan (Utah). The city is involved with everything. Everybody is nice. It has a homey feel for me. I love it here."
Andersen decided while at Utah State that he'd like to coach for a career.
"When you're little, everyone has a dream of playing in the NFL," he says. "When I got to college and had a reality check, I knew that wasn't going to happen. My goal then was to be a great college football player, to have fun with that and go from there."
Andersen is working on his master's degree in education, with an eye toward teaching and coaching in high school.
"I love what I'm doing right now, but (coaching in college) is really time-consuming," Andersen says. "I've seen that with Dad growing up. I think I'm leaning toward coaching high school. Coming up, (high school athletes) don't know anything. I want to be able to change the kids and make the progression easier for them at the college level."
The senior Andersen says he never talked about coaching with Keegan until his sophomore year at Utah State.
"One day he came up and mentioned he'd like to coach high school," his father says. "He'll be very good at it. He's excited about that part of his world. Now he has a good feel for college coaching, which would help him go into the high school ranks."
Gary Andersen has enjoyed having his oldest son on staff.
"We were together when he was a player, and now as a coach," he says. "To have that time with him at Wisconsin and then watch him develop relationships he has grown up. It's been fun as a dad to watch him do that."