Spring Ball Day 11: Wheaton making mark

CORVALLIS -- Day 11 of spring football brought more cold weather, more injuries, and more big passes to what's left of the receiving corps on the Oregon State football team. Meanwhile, Markus Wheaton is looking like he's ready to make big plays on special teams and beyond this upcoming season.

The play of the day today was when QB Cody Vaz threw a beautiful touchdown pass to WR Garett Hall. Hall beat out CB Rashaad Reynolds and ran it down the field.

Unfortunately for Hall, later in practice he suffered what looks to be a knee injury. Hall was seen walking around a bit after practice so it didn't appear too serious.

Adding to the list of bruised and battered were CB Brandon Hardin (flu), TE Tyler Perry (flu), OL Josh Andrews (knee bruise). S Lance Mitchell (groin), and WR Geno Munoz (hamstring) also sat out again.

The day started off with the usual special teams drills. WR Markus Wheaton is looking very comfortable catching the punts and running up the field.

The team moved into a variety of individual drills next and new receivers coach Brent Brennen still loving the giant padded stick to poke the receivers when they catch. However, with so many receivers out at this point, it doesn't seem like they are getting any tougher.

The second half of practice was a rotation between 7-on-7 plays and full scrimmaging. QB Ryan Katz took reps during 7-on-7 stuff but will not take snaps under center until probably fall camp.

This means that QB's Cody Vaz, Sean Mannion, and Jack Lomax will get lots of playing time during the spring game April 30.

Safety Anthony Watkins intercepted a Vaz pass during 7-on-7 that was intended for no one. It was the only interception all of practice, which speaks to the QB improvement since the first day of spring ball when there were around six.

Riley said he loves the improvement he's seen from Vaz thus far in the spring.

Out of all the receivers and running backs, Wheaton has been, hands down, the most consistent player during the last 11 days. Again today he made several catches, long and short, from Katz, Vaz, and Mannion.

Joe Halahuni had a good grab along the sideline from Katz. Halahuni hasn't been in on a lot of big plays during the spring, so it was good to see him get a little more action.

WR Obum Gwacham continues to improve his routes and make catches over the defensive backs.

However today, Gwacham collided with second-string CB Sean Martin and looked like he had the wind knocked out of him. Martin was fine and Gwacham finished practice, but it did look ugly and loud when it happened.

Here's the first team for the offense and defense on the day. Keep in mind, nothing is set in stone yet, there remain a few challenging positions, coaches are substituting freely to get guys work and there are some starters, like Katz, who are out or not participating fully. That said, here's what it looked like on Wednesday.

QB: Cody Vaz
RB: Ryan McCants
WR-X: Obum Gwacham /Darrell Catchings
WR-H: Kevin Cummings
WR-Z: Markus Wheaton
TE: Joe Halahuni, Colby Prince
FB: Clayton York
LT:Mike Remmers
LG: Josh Andrews/ Grant Enger
C: Grant Johnson
RG: Burke Ellis/ Michael Lamb
RT: Michael Phillip/ Colin Kelly

LE: Rusty Fernando
DT: Kevin Frahm
DT: Dominic Glover
RE: Taylor Henry
SLB: Cameron Collins
MLB: rotation between Rueben Robinson, Tony Wilson, and Feti Unga
WLB: Michael Doctor
LCB: Brandon Hardin (flu)/ Rashaad Reynolds
RCB: Jordan Poyer
S: Lance Mitchell (groin) and Anthony Watkins
S: Josh LaGrone

The Beavs will scrimmage for their third Friday scrimmage starting around 4 p.m. April 30 is the official spring game set to play in Reser Stadium.

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