SPRING BALL DAY 5: Beavs get amped up

CORVALLIS -- It was a loud, fast and energy-filled afternoon in the Truax Indoor center for the Oregon State football team, who got right to work on position drills. And the high energy could be felt all around and throughout day five of spring football drills for the Beavers.

You could hear new receivers coach Brent Brenner yelling to the entire offense, "Get physical!"

Ryan Katz isn't 100 percent enough to start taking reps yet, Jordan Jenkins' spring ended prematurely with surgery needed on his shoulder and Micah Hatfield is out with a broken hand, yet Mike Riley was positive and pleased with the fifth day of spring practice.

"I love the enthusiasm and effort out there today," Riley said.

Practice started out with routine warm-ups, some position drills, and then moved right into one-on-one drills with the lines and safety/receiver corps.

CB Brandon Hardin had good coverage on the day and is trying to drop some weight to be a better CB. He took the reps with the 1s throughout practice along with CB Jordan Poyer.

CB Rashaad Reynolds is the likely backup for the duo at this point.

Riley also said that he's not only excited about Reynolds improvement, but for corners Sean Martin and Keynan Parker's as well. The three have improved during the offseason and started spring ball looking like they've got all the lights turned on.

With Hatfield out, it was WRs Markus Wheaton, Geno Munoz, and Darrell Catchings getting the better portion of the reps with the 1s.

Among the highlights, Wheaton caught a long touchdown pass thrown by QB Sean Mannion during 11-on-11.

Riley noted that maybe they were throwing too much in offensively at the Beavs, and said it was a huge loss to have Hatfield out for spring.

However, Riley did feel good about getting in some red zone experience and said now is the time for some of the younger receivers to get a lot more reps.

The defensive line looks stronger every day, as they've continued to push the offensive line and have been stopping the running game efficiently.

Neither RBs Ryan McCants nor Jovan Stevenson made it far past the line of scrimmage on several occasions today.

The D-line switched up a little bit on Wednesday, with DE Taylor Henry taking the reps with the ones over Blake Harrah.

Nothing is set in stone yet with any of the positions but with Henry's experience, it looked like a better fit. For now the starting d-line looks to be Henry, DT Kevin Frahm, DT Dominic Glover and DE Rusty Fernando.

Safeties Lance Mitchell and Anthony Watkins ran with the 1s as well today, with Josh LaGrone and Zeke Sanders going mostly with the 2s.

Riley is glad to have LaGrone back -- he suffered a knee injury during fall camp that forced him to miss the entire 2010 season.

Not much on the linebacker front besides the new addition of frosh Josh Williams, and that in itself is a statement.

"We need him," Riley said. "We need more linebackers in this program."

Williams didn't do much on Wednesday, the NCAA deems a player's first practices have to be less than full pads, but Riley sounded relieved just to have him enrolled and out there.

Until Williams shows he's ready to earn early playing time, the linebackers will likely continue to look for a comfortable fit with Michael Doctor, Tony Wilson, Rueben Robinson, Cameron Collins and perhaps Shaydon Akuna.

Doctor, Robinson and Collins took the reps with the 1s on Friday. Wilson teamed up with Donell Welch and Te'o Shiloah.

At the end of practice, the day of hard work on the turf was brought full-circle when both former Beavers CB Sabby Piscitelli and RB Steven Jackson both gave inspirational speeches to the team. Piscitelli, who's recently been released from Tampa Bay, told the guys to enjoy their time while they're here.

Jackson, who plays for the Rams, had a little more to say about how you have to be hungry and feed off those around you if you really want to become an elite athlete. He told an anecdote about how he used to follow Ken Simonton around and did everything he did — even buying a suit to wear on Saturdays instead of the team warm-ups. Jackson also told the team to ‘forget what they're doing in Eugene,' and to just focus on making the OSU tradition better.

Also in attendance Wednesday were former OSU corners Tim Clark and Brandon Hughes. Kicker Alexis Serna was also hanging around, as was DE Jeff Van Orsow.

Friday's practice will be a full-contact session – with the focus on blocking, tackling and finishing the plays. And it will feature a scrimmage with around 60 snaps.

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