OSU FALL CAMP REPORT: Day 3

CORVALLIS - A few big hits, even bigger catches and solid work on behalf of both the offensive and defensive lines characterized Day Three of fall camp for Oregon State. Today was the first day in pads, as well as the first day the offense and defense went head to head on the line of scrimmage.

"When you go interaction on that first day, they're ((the team)) all pumped up and don't have pads on and they run all over each other," Mike Riley said. "I figured that (by starting on Day 3), we would take a little better care of them."

Yet on the first play of the scrimmage with the 1's went on the offensive line, senior offensive tackle Colin Kelly went down – hard. "I didn't think that was a good sign," Riley said. "But it appears he is going to be okay."

Injury Report Day 3:
Kelly, who is the No. 1 tight tackle on the depth chart, injured his left leg on the first snap while defending Scott Crichton off the edge. Kelly, who received immediate therapy and a hefty ice-pack from the trainer on the sideline, walked back toward the offensive line corps with a slight limp, but otherwise smiling. He told Riley he will be fine to run tomorrow.

Position Changes/Tweaks:
NOTABLE NOTE: Redshirt linebacker Jaswha James did briefly make a move to DE yesterday afternoon to work with Joe Seumalo. However, it does not appear to be a permanent move, as James returned to the LB corps under Trent Bray today.

If Kelly's injury were to prove more serious, it could mean more trouble for a struggling offensive line that must be getting tired of being referred to as a struggling offensive line. If Kelly doesn't return tomorrow, the Beavs have a decent option at No.2 in the way of sophomore Derek Nielsen.

"Nielsen is a guy that is pretty special," Mike Cavanaugh said. "He's really smart and has worked hard. He knows every position. But obviously (Kelly) is our biggest concern right now."

Nielsen was an adept blocker today, as he filled in for Kelly with the 1's during the remainder of scrimmage, and help set up a smooth looking screen to Storm Woods for a short gain.

However, the bigger issue at hand is certainly this – how much more loss can this offensive line really incur? The absence, even briefly, of a guy with the experience and caliber of play displayed by Kelly can really hurt an offensive strategy going deeper into camp, especially when the starting unit is officially finalized.

To worry? Or not to worry? That is the question: The optimistic Beaver fan will want to believe that Kelly's little slip up today will have no significant bearing on his performance for the remainder of fall practice – he looked fine and smiled at a worried Coach Riley after he received attention for his knee. He appeared to have "walked it off" toward the end of the day – a positive sign.

BUT… the pessimist Beaver fan will worry that small injuries at the onset of fall practice can often lead to further injuries to that same part of the body, especially when that injury occurs on day three and as soon as the team decides to adorn pads. It is something to keep an eye on across the board as fall camp unfolds.

The Bright Spots:
For the first day with shoulder pads, OSU looked pretty solid on both sides of the ball.

Sean Mannion looked good all day, his accuracy at a higher level than the year previous – even showing marked improvement in his delivery of the ball since the spring.

Mannion had good touch on the deep throws during drills, and when the Beavs "scrimmaged", he displayed great awareness in the pocket and even dodged a few potential "sacks" to connect with Brandin Cooks and Jordan Jenkins for gainers.

Rod Perry's emphasis on the fundamentals of positioning and adjustment off the snap for his defensive backs paid dividends today – especially for the likes of Jordan Poyer and Ryan Murphy.

Both had interceptions – Murphy impressed particularly, as he managed to outrun an oncoming Obum Gwacham when a pass from Mannion sailed over his head. Murphy intercepted that pass and returned it for about 15 yards in the other direction.

Poyer, in what has become his typical fashion, also made an impact on the field today with two interceptions. Not only did he have a pick during scrimmage, but another steal courtesy of Mannion when running against Markus Wheaton during one-on-one play earlier in practice. In a game scenario, Poyer's pick would have likely been returned for a touchdown (picked it on the opposition's 20 yard line).

Practice Notes Day Three:
Offense:
Quarterback - Mannion and Cody Vaz put on another good show today. Both had some great passes for positive yards when the offense and defense went against one another. Vaz may not be the tallest, but he sure has some light feet for a quarterback. Vaz showed the ability to move around outside of the pocket with more ease than Mannion – but, to be fair, his throws were not as on target as Mannion's were today.

Tailback - Malcolm Agnew mentioned yesterday that he was pumped for when the team finally got to incorporate pads and defense in the scrimmages. Well he got his wish today, and brought his A-game.

"It felt great to be at full speed," Agnew said. "The line did a pretty good job. The holes were all over today. Isaac (Seumalo) had some god reads too. Our draw play looked nice, we all love it and it's good to see that it's hitting right."

At one point, Agnew broke through a hole in the middle set up by Seumalo and junior Josh Andrews and took the ball 70 yards for a touchdown, and ran it all the way back to wait for when his number was called again. Good news for a tailback who hopes to win the starting job this year despite a string of past hamstring injuries.

While not everything looked perfect (Agnew and freshman Chris Brown both tripped a few times while running the ball today – a combination of unfamiliar turf on the practice field and poor footwork), it goes without saying that practice is meant to make perfect, and that only happens by starting small. Woods and Terron Ward had great looks up field and a few catches.

Tight Ends - Caleb Smith and Colby Prince looked more solid today, despite the fact that Smith's lateral footwork and agility in setting blocks isn't quite there yet. Both represented big targets for Mannion and Vaz in the pass game, and set up decent blocks. But overall, the TE group has demonstrated a lack of awareness in the early going. They look good in the open field catching the ball – but their primary focus per Riley's game plan will be to help block for the run, and just decent won't cut it come the latter stages of fall camp.

Wide Receivers - Brent Brennan put his corps of wideouts through the ringer today. Prior to when the offense and defense went against one another, receivers ran one-on-ones against the defensive backs for a solid 20 minutes. Marcus Wheaton dropped two passes as did Obum Gwacham. But Kevin Cummings and Cooks both looked game-ready today. Cummings seemed determined to catch everything thrown at him, and Cooks (who did drop an easy pass during one-on-ones) showed breakaway speed in the open field. Who lines up with the ones at the three receiver positions changes daily - continuing to remain one of the most interesting aspects of the fall camp.

O-line - With the exception of Kelly's mishap,. basic drills and a lot of direct coaching were the order of the day. Cavanaugh was quieter than usual (so he was still pretty loud), and was focusing predominantly on the angles he wants each player to take when setting a block correctly. His lessons produced positive results when the line went against their defensive counterparts.

Defense:
OSU decided to keep it simple and did not take any looks at the 3-4 defensive sets Bray mentioned yesterday while grinding it out in the scrimmage. Stay tuned to see as that might well change as fall camp unfolds.

Defensive Line - The group managed to get some really good pushes going against the O-line, and forced some early throws from Mannion and Vaz. Their work ethic under assistant Joe Seumalo up to this point has been strong and well directed. Castro Masaniai , the senior defensive tackle who struggled with his weight as well as injuries last season, looked fast and moved with precision alongside fellow DT Andrew Seumalo. Wynn and Crichton looked good as ever, but did not manage to get around the edge as frequently as (Coach) Seumalo hoped for.

Linebackers - Lacked steam at times during the scrimmage. Graduate Assistant and linebackers' coach Trent Bray had them rotating frequently - he also spent a lot of time with Michael Doctor and D.J. Welch discussing how they could improve their route recognition. Senior Rueben Robinson also saw his first work with the 1's today as Feti Unga took a few more breathers than usual.. Robinson blocked a pass from Vaz and kept good containment on his man in the center of the field.. Freshman Joel Skotte also played his man well and stopped a few plays from going big.

Secondary - The group was really on their toes today and gave the speedy likes of Cooks and Wheaton a run for their money. The "Big Four in the Secondary", featuring Poyer and Rashaad Reynolds at the corners with Murphy and Anthony Watkins holding the safety slots, really performed well today. Perry was probably the one guy on the coaching staff who didn't have much need to yell throughout practice today.

Depth Chart- Day 3

Offense:
OL: OT Michael Philipp – OG Josh Andrews – C Isaac Seumalo – OG Grant Enger – OT Colin Kelly (status not clear)/ Derek Nielsen (pending Kelly's status)

QB- Sean Mannion - Cody Vaz - Richie Harrington

RB- Malcolm Agnew - Storm Woods – Jordan Jenkins

FB- Clayton York

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

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

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

ILB- Feti Unga/Rueben Robinson

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

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


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