SPRING BALL DAY 2: Katz is back

CORVALLIS -- Although it didn't rain this afternoon, day 2 of spring football was once again held in Truax where Ryan Katz dressed down after getting cleared to start throwing, Markus Wheaton continued to show his stuff and defense fired up.

Big news for starting QB Ryan Katz today, who got all positive feedback from the CAT scan and is cleared to start throwing again.

Mike Riley and Katz both anticipate Katz will get a solid three weeks of spring ball in. Katz did suit up today but only threw lightly from the sidelines. He'll also spend an extra day in shorts next week, when the rest of the team is in pads.

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AS FOR THE other three QB's, Sean Mannion was getting reps with the 2's over Jack Lomax, and Cody Vaz was still in the top spot.

A handful of Vaz's passes were thrown to Markus Wheaton, although Vaz threw two interceptions (OLB Cameron Collins snagged one and S Josh LaGrone caught the other). Of the interceptions, Riley said the main thing you don't want to do is make a bad play worse.

Wheaton had another solid day on the field, making several grabs and has entered spring ball the way he ended the 2010 season -- but Obum Gwacham also caught a couple big passes and eyes on the sidelines with people wondering:

"Could Gwacham be the surprise player of 2011?"

Riley said he's much more comfortable with the offense and running routes than he was a year ago.

IT'S CLOSE CONTENTION for the top running back spot -- Ryan McCants started out getting the reps with the 1's, but Jordan Jenkins was moved up during Wednesday's practice.

Riley said between the three (McCants, Jenkins, and Jovan Stevenson), there is a lot of talent and they all have "stuff" they can do, they just need to find their niche. Riley also noted that it's a whole different ballgame being a running back in shorts -- the Beavs will be in pads starting Monday.

THERE WASN'T A lot to report on the offensive line but they looked good today and Riley said he's excited about the unit.

However, it was the defense that was really fired up (judging by the five interceptions) and working well as a unit.

Besides the picks by Collins and LaGrone, CB Brandon Hardin, S Lance Mitchell and MLB Rueben Robinson all had interceptions as well. There was a lot of positive encouragement from the guys in black jerseys today and they were excited about their execution.

THE LINEBACKER chain of command is still up in the air as to who is going to play where exactly, but today it was Robinson in the middle, with Collins and Michael Doctor at the two outside spots for the 1's.

The defensive line ran the same as yesterday with Blake Harrah, Kevin Frahm, Dominic Glover, and Rusty Fernando the No. 1 unit.

Glover seems to be making the switch from DE to DT comfortably and has also gained about 30 pounds for the position.

Frahm seems quieter on the field than last year. He mentioned that former DT Brennan Olander was like a brother and that it could be a long time before Beaver Nation sees another like former DT Stephen Paea.

RILEY NOTED specifically after practice that there are a number of guys who look better, play better, and have really come along.

And then he didn't say whom specifically! But in a general sense, Riley said he thought a lot of the Beavers have really started to develop.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • WR Darrell Catchings was out today because of the flu, and S Dax Dilbeck is still coming back from his knee injury. OG Colin Lyons was cleared to start lifting again today after suffering a fall in the offseason, injuring his head and neck.

  • Word is that some of the Beaver players will be testing out new Nike gear on Friday.

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