Spring Day 8: Contact and amped up coaches

CORVALLIS – With the Beavers now crossing the midway point of the 15-practice spring session, Oregon State focused much of Day 7 on third down conversions, position drills, and one-on-one's with the receivers and defensive backs.

The players were amped up as usual, dressed in full pads, but it was the coaches today that seemed especially vocal, trying to grind specifics into the player's heads.

Receivers coach Brent Brennan, who's been using a giant Q-Tip-like padded stick, was prodding the guys and yelling at them to have "big strong hands," during the drills.

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh also used the padded stick during position drills with the line and seemed to be enjoying it.

The one-on-one work was a big focus today. Defensive backs coach Keith Heyward put big focus on stripping the ball off the receivers. Head coach Mike Riley said it's good for both sides of the ball to have that talent.

Receiving-wise, WR Obum Gwacham and slotback Geno Munoz had big days, both catching passes downfield, until Munoz pulled a hamstring and sat out the rest of practice.

Riley noted that although Gwatcham has been making major improvements, he doesn't want to say too much too soon because he's a redshirt freshman.

He's a nice target because he's hard to bump at the line of scrimmage. The real improvement comes however, with his route running, which Riley said had no finish line.

Despite the good catching, the D-backs stripped several balls and had tight coverage. CB Rashaad Reynolds and CB Brandon Hardin both had good days.

QB Cody Vaz has a growing third down consistency -- Riley said he's about 75 percent on the conversions.

The Beavs practiced several different third down situations during the full-contact scrimmaging portion.

QB Ryan Katz took some shotgun snaps during drills but nothing under-center in the scrimmage. Riley said there is too much slap under-center and doesn't want to risk anything too soon on Katz, coming off a broken bone in his throwing hand.

The running back situation seems to be rearranged every day and today, it was Jovan Stevenson taking reps with the ones and Ryan McCants in the second spot.

Terron Ward could be making moves over Malcolm Marable and several people, including former RB Jacquizz Rodgers are excited about Ward's development.

Aside from the injuries, the team has made good progress in different areas every day, said Riley, and he is impressed by the talent and speed of the team. But he continues to reiterate at the end of practice, "We have a lot of work to do."

The offensive and defensive line depth-wise remained consistent. Burke Ellis and Michael Lamb are still battling it out for the first spot at one of the guard positions. And the linebackers are trying to decide between Tony Wilson, Feti Unga, and Reuben Robinson in the middle.

LB Josh Parish had the solo interception for the day. He caught a sloppy pass from QB Sean Mannion.

The injured list adds a few names today: Munoz pulled a hamstring, Ward took a helmet to the knee but finished practice with a volleyball pad on, and DT Fred Thompson did not suit up, he was in a sling with a reported shoulder issue.

OL reserve Rory Ross has apparently left the team, kinda, and Colin Lyons might too. But OSU SID Steve Fenk said that both are still in discussions. Riley somewhat indicated Ross had quit but there wasn't anything definitive yet.

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