DAY 5: Injuries beginning to bite?

CORVALLIS -- Mike Riley remained calm and collected, even with a few additional injured players sidelined following Day Five of fall camp. The Friday session did end on an energetic and overall positive note. But seven Beaver players missed all or most of practice today, though they appeared to be minor injuries. Meanwhile, an eighth may be out longer with an injury that could be far from minor.

The wide receiver corps stood out for two reasons today. For one, they looked fast and well prepared against a strong OSU secondary and the some of the depth position battles heated up. However, there was a possibly serious injury to redshirt freshman Richard Mullaney during practice drills.

"Richard might have broken his hand after taking a helmet on the hand," said receivers coach Brent Brennan. "So we're not sure if he is okay - but we'll find out."

Injury Report Day Five:

WR- If in fact Mullaney does have a broken hand, it is likely that he could be out of commission for the foreseeable future.

TE- Within the first 20 minutes of practice, tight end Tyler Perry was on the ground wincing over a strained quadriceps in his left leg. Perry, who remained on field but out of pads for the remainder of practice, stayed with the tight end unit and looked to be favoring his leg less and less as the day went on. Whether or not Perry will participate in the team's first two-a-day tomorrow is - for now - uncertain.

OT – Colin Kelly returned after missing most of the past two days and looked as if he was not having any further issue with his knee. Kelly played well in drills and even managed to establish some really clean blocks allowing the tailbacks to get into the secondary. Freshman offensive lineman Chase Eldredge remains out for the entirety of fall camp.

Defense- Senior defensive end Rusty Fernando and the redshirt freshman corner Naji Patrick both sat out today. They both strained muscles in their groin and/or upper leg region and are taking precaution not to further aggravate the strains.

AND

Safety Anthony Watkins took a breather day as well. Watkins has had ongoing issues with a hip flexor and the coaches are especially adamant about keeping him healthy because the senior will be starting at strong safety if he can remain in one piece. In all likelihood, Watkins will return for the Beavs first two-a-day on Saturday. Freshman safety Kendall Hill also remains out for the duration of the fall.

Ever the optimist in the face of the growing injury list, Riley remained keen on the future of his group and said bumps, bruises, and even broken hands are all part of being a football player.

"The guys that are going to play in the games look great," Riley said. "(Injuries) are a result of the summer – muscle pulls, guys getting hurt early. It's not always the case but many times it's because of what they didn't do during the summer time."

Position Changes/ Tweaks:

Kelly returned to the 1's on the O-line and replaced Derek Nielsen, the sophomore guard who filled the void left by Kelly for the better part of the last two practices.

With Watkins out, Tyrequek Zimmerman got valuable playing time at safety alongside Ryan Murphy.

The other injuries (Fernando, Patrick, Mullaney, Hill, Eldredge, Perry) shouldn't affect the two deeps drastically. With the exception of Mullaney's hand, most of the injuries occurred to players that aren't at this stage in make-up of the 1's and 2's on either side of the ball. Other than Mullaney, none appear potentially long-term and the players took the day off simply to avoid further aggravation of strains/pulls.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled/ Wide Out Practice Notes:

On tap looks to be increasingly intense position battles at wideout heading into Saturday (the first two-a-day practice) and next week. Some final decisions for the depth chart could be in the offing.

"Coming out of spring we had it established that Cooks was our starting Z," said Brennan. "But it's early – in the slot there is a fight going between Obum Gwacham and Kevin Cummings. Obum backs up Markus at X, so we are figuring he is going to play a bunch anyway – and Kevin has really come along. Those four we figure are at the front of the line."

Gwacham, despite his considerable assets on paper, has proven to be inconsistent over the last two practices in terms of his ability to catch the ball and run routes accordingly - something that Brennan got after him today, and at high volume.

"We just need to get him with a lot of ball drills and getting him all types of different passes," Brennan said. "He is so long and has so much range that he can play a ball so far outside the parameters of his body – but he needs to get adjusted to playing all those balls because he is so long."

As a result of the small traces of inexperience laced throughout Gwacham's recent performances, Kevin Cummings has seen some time to shine. He possesses some of the most reliable hands on the team, and is running crisp routes.

Cummings is a big target and Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz found him on day five.

Brandin Cooks is just explosive, and downright fast. His speed matches that of Wheaton and he has an aggressive nature equal to Wheaton.

Cooks, who struggled during the first few days of camp with his route running, showed improvement today in that department. Cooks, who looked rusty at the end of spring when it came to being a consistent ball handler, has also demonstrated significant improvement in that area in the early going of fall camp.

Practice Notes:

Offense:
Quarterback – Mannion and Vaz looked well tuned today – they look to have shaken off any rust they might have accumulated over the summer. Both remained on target with their throws and were showing proficiency in three step drop passes and avoiding oncoming defenders in the pocket.

Tailback – A solid day for the group. Malcolm Agnew, Storm Woods and Terron Ward saw the bulk of carries and Agnew broke out to pick up a solid 20 yard gain against the 2's on defense.

Tight Ends - Senior Colby Prince was a standout during 11-on-11 drills today as he caught a zinger from Mannion and proceeded to avoid defenders and take the ball all the way down the field into the opposition's end zone. Connor Hamlet and Caleb Smith both stood out with a few big blocks for the tailbacks.

O-Line: The group showed some improvement in pass blocking but really had a difficult time against the run blitz on Friday. Black jerseys were in the backfield often, and it resulted in some big runs stops and a near fumble by Woods. However, Kelly and junior Josh Andrews both opened up considerable holes through the middle on a couple plays.

Defense:
D-Line: Solid day all and all. The defensive line had one of their better days today stopping the run – something that the coaching staff has been striving to improve upon since the beginning of spring.

Dylan Wynn and Andrew Seumalo both held down the line and both accumulated a pair of tackles against the run.

Linebackers: The story of the day for the ‘backers was the battle for the MIK spot between Feti Unga and Rueben Robinson.

Both shared time on the 1's today and Unga looked to fatigue more easily, allowing Robinson more time on the 1's as well as looks on the 2's.

Robinson is a complete player who knows his assignments and sticks to them.

Secondary: Zimmerman was swift and had some really big hits today. He is a talented and football smart player solid option at No.2 at either one of the safety spots. Look for him to put up some major competition against Murphy and Watkins heading into the remainder of fall camp.

Depth Chart Day Five:

Offense:
OL: OT Michael Philip – 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 - Brandin Cooks - Kevin Cummings/Obum Gwacham

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

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

ILB- Feti Unga/Rueben Robinson

CB- Jordan PoyerRashaad ReynoldsSean Martin/Ryan Handford/ Naji Patrick

S- Tyrequek Zimmerman (Free) – Ryan Murphy (Strong)


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