OSU FALL CAMP REPORT: Day 2

CORVALLIS -- Day Two of fall camp for the Beavs brought with it the good, the bad and the Cavanaugh. When the loudest and most consistent voice throughout practice is that of offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, it usually doesn't bode well for the offensive line and sure enough, they struggled. And what's this, is the Beaver D going to implement something else in addition to their base defense?

Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Graduate assistant Trent Bray, in charge of the linebackers group, said that the Beavs have been looking at a variety of different defensive alignments/arrangements since the spring in an attempt to add some diversity to the defensive scheme and keep offenses on their toes.

He specifically mentioned that some 3-4 packages were addressed, and that they could very well be implemented in the latter stages of fall camp.

ALSO: Riley said that Poyer, despite seeing a few punt returns during today's practice, will see a decreased role on special teams as fall camp ensues and the regular season grows ever nearer.

Poyer is arguably the most versatile and game-ready player in the OSU secondary, and Riley wants it to remain that way for the whole season. As a result, guys like Malcolm Marable and Brandin Cooks will likely see a lot more playing time in return roles than Poyer -- unless all hell breaks loose for the return unit.

"We are going to use (Poyer) as a returner, but that is a good question because we need to be selective considering the other things that he has done," Riley said. "He is one of the best gunners in college football probably, but we probably (don't) want be doing a lot of that with him. There is a lot of stuff he can do, so we will really have to be selective."

The O-line remained a glaring hole in the OSU offensive strategy on the second day of fall camp. The incessant barking of Cavanaugh (directed mainly toward sophomore center Roman Sapolu and the redshirt freshman lineman Jake Welch) further exemplified the notion that despite Mike Riley's unyielding optimism about his team, there are some serious issues on the line that need attention.

However, the aforementioned positives were still apparent – the secondary looked healthy and prepared for the road ahead, perhaps more so than any other unit in the on the field.

While improvement will always be encouraged by the coaching staff, especially during the first few days of fall, it goes without saying that the safety and defensive backs' under Rod Perry are being counted upon to be a force to be reckoned with once the regular season dawns on Sept. 1.

Position Changes/ Tweaks:
Riley said that, provisionally, there will not be any major switches in player assignments similar to what we saw on Day One, with the shift of tailback Jovan Stevenson into the secondary. Still, circumstances can and do change, plus Riley is known for keeping things close to the vest -- so stay tuned.

Riley and defensive coordinator Mark Banker were again on separate practice fields today, the offense and defense remaining detached during the entirety of practice with the exception of the final huddle.

Malcolm Agnew, a primary candidate to lead the OSU rushing attack during the regular season, said that the change has proven beneficial in the early going by reinforcing the fundamentals and encouraging teaching amongst coaches and players. Still, Agnew is anxious to get into pads and practice against his defensive counterparts, saying it is a lot easier to get a feel for game situations when practicing against a defensive group.

Injury Report Day Two:
The Bad:
Not much. Freshman Chase Eldredge was out for his second consecutive day, adorning a jersey and standing alongside his teammates, (Eldredge was frequently nursing his left knee with heavy ice packs). Riley said both Eldredge and freshman Safety Kendall Hill will remain out of pads for the duration of fall camp. "I announced before we even got started that those two guys will for sure redshirt and spend most of their early time here rehabbing." Riley noted.

The Good:
Both Anthony Watkins and Agnew today demonstrated that their past injuries and health inconsistencies could very well be a thing of the past. Both looked fresh on Tuesday. Watkins blocked three passes in drills and Agnew again saw the most time with the starting offensive line when running blocking assignments, (he shared a fair amount of the touches with Storm Woods, but Agnew got the majority of the carries with the 1's.)

Practice Notes:
Offense:
QuarterbacksSean Mannion and Cody Vaz both had great practices. Days like today show why Riley has so much faith in Vaz as a No.2 – the junior quarterback showed just as much command of the offense as the more experienced Mannion, despite slight inconsistencies in his accuracy here and there.

Tailbacks – Not much to say in terms of improvement in any one area, given that the bulk of their carries right now are intended to get them better acquainted with blocking strategies and how to react when they hit the secondary. All five tailbacks were still fast, strong and quick through their breaks.

Wideouts – To date, the bright spot for Riley's offense and it won't be a surprise if it remains that way this season. They are pretty good now, and sans any potential injuries, they should only get better and better as camp unfolds. Gwacham and Cooks stood out most today.

Cooks is the most explosive receiver in terms of speed and is showing why he was the No. 1 flanker on the fall camp depth chart. Cooks shows a lot of potential in particular of playing the role of flanker on third and short situations – his soft hands and impressive breakaway speed could really benefit the offense on certain routes and in certain areas of the field.

Tight Ends - Caleb Smith really shined today. If it continues, look for him to get a lot more looks on the 1's and 2's this fall camp. Smith displays unparalleled speed for a guy his size – he too has soft hands and good vision to boot. Smith, who stands at 6-6, 264 is the biggest body in the TE squad. As a result, he represents one of the few guys in that group who can develop into a consistent blocker in the running game, (Connor Hamlett is in the same boat.)

O-line - Cavanaugh was not a happy man today. And while his loud voice and friendly jabs are commonplace in the day-to-day routine, he appeared particularly frustrated with a few players today. Not what Beaver fans want to see , even in the early going, for an O-line that is already experiencing a considerable lack of depth and game experience.

The Defense:
D-line: A similar practice to Day 1 – the whole unit looks bigger, stronger and faster, particularly Dylan Wynn. His energy on the field was contagious today, and he looked the sharpest out of all his teammates on the line. Wynn has an advantage that some fans and analysts miss – he is shorter than the average offensive lineman. As a result, Wynn has a lower center of gravity – he gets under his blocks quicker and can break to the outside with an agility that rivals that of many collegiate linebackers. Take into account that Wynn has added a significant amount of poundage and muscle in the offseason, and you have a truly dynamic player at the defensive end position.

Linebackers: Bray comes off as extremely confident in his ‘backers. But he will also be the first to tell you that improvements are necessary before they are truly a top-notch Pac-12 unit. D.J. Welch today looked like he can be a dominant force with a little refinement, especially when it comes to pass coverage.

"His deal when it comes to coverage is consistency and not always being where he is supposed to be," Bray said. "He needs to be there every time, not every once in a while, you know what I mean?"

Feti Unga, Michael Doctor and Welch all managed to overrun what would typically be easy stops during practice drills. It's something this linebacker corps have no shortage of, and that can result in sloppy play in the short game.

"It's not necessarily a lack of or ‘too much' aggressiveness," Bray said. "It's just angles and trusting that guys are going to be where they are supposed to be."

Secondary: Granted, the secondary group is young and relatively inexperienced on paper when compared to other defensive backfields in the Pac-12. But that was not obvious on Day 2, and Perry remains high on his group's ability come the regular season.

Watkins and Ryan Murphy were particularly impressive today, helping out Jordan Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds in zone packages with ease.

Depth Chart - Day 2

OFFENSE:
OT Michael Phillip – OG Josh Andrews – C Isaac Seumalo – OG Grant Enger – OT Colin Kelly

QB - Sean Mannion - Cody Vaz - Richie Harrington

RB - Malcolm Agnew - Storm Woods - Terron Ward

FB - Clayton York

WR - Markus Wheaton - Obum Gwacham/Brandin Cooks - Kevin Cummings

DEFENSE:
DE - Dylan Wynn – DT Castro Masaniai – DT Andrew Seumalo - DE Scott Crichton

OLB - Michael Doctor (Strongside) – D.J. Welch (Weakside)

ILB - Feti Unga

CB - Jordan Poyer – Rashaad Reynolds – Sean Martin/Ryan Handford

S - Anthony Watkins (Free) – Ryan Murphy (Strong)


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