OSU FALL CAMP DAY 13: O-line shines

CORVALLIS -- The offensive line shined on Monday, as their counterparts on the other side of the ball got a heated pep talk from d-line coach Joe Seumalo. Have the tables started to turn in terms of a heretofore weak point headed into Week 3 of fall camp? Mike Riley returned, as did a key safety, a player "changes" their last name and more in the BF.C's Day 13 report.

After Mike Riley broke the final huddle on the session, Coach Seumalo pulled his defensive line group aside and tore into them about not getting low enough into maneuvers and failing to demonstrate a clear understanding of the fundamentals.

The line is altogether pretty young, and while mistakes and bad days happen in all collegiate football programs, it may be seen as a concern with roles beginning to be finalized and less than two weeks before the season opener. Bottom line, some d-line players are still not showing adequate discipline in the eyes of their position coach.

"We probably have two or three more days of what we will say is ‘camp football'," said Riley, who returned after missing Saturday's session to attend his dad's funeral. "Then we will start getting into more of what will be game week type of stuff. That run defense part of it – kind of back to basics, so we have a lot of work to do in that regard."

Feti Unga's jersey this season will feature the last name of Taumoepeau, (whether the switch will appear on the official roster/depth chart in the future is unclear). Unga is making the change as a tribute to his mother and using her maiden name.

Injury Report Day 13

Most of a long list of players out on Saturday returned to the field Monday, their day off merely a formality by the training staff in an attempt to ensure that the players stay as healthy as possible.

Anthony Watkins finally made a return to the padded ranks today, but saw very little action outside of running basic drills with the safety group. Riley and crew kept Watkins on the sideline for the majority of 1-on-1's and team offense/defense drills. He is back, but is he 100 percent? It would appear that at this point, he isn't quite ready to make a full return.

Jordan Poyer was back on the field Monday – as well as Mana Rosa, Clayton York, Sean Martin and Chris Miller. All four of these players sat out on Saturday's practice as a precautionary measure, and all four looked to be in good health today.

Poyer, despite returning to run some drills, did not participate for the entire practice, taking off his pads halfway through the practice and becoming an observer again. Riley said that Poyer has enough football ahead of him in the future - they don't want to overwork him and other key players (i.e. Markus Wheaton) prior to game scenarios.

Redshirt freshman defensive lineman Desmond Collins remained out for the third day in a row with a brace on his right leg. It is unknown when he will make a full return to the ranks.

Redshirt freshman Peter Ashton did not play today – he looked to be in good health and is expected back either tomorrow or Wednesday.

Freshman receiver Malik Gilmore and junior receiver Micah Hatfield did not join the team for drills on Monday. Gilmore was present and accounted for, unlike Hatfield whom Riley said was experiencing concussion symptoms.

Position Changes/ Tweaks:

The frequent fall camp player rotations that characterized last week were not as apparent this afternoon – they were toned down to say the least. Today's set of rotations occurred mostly within the tailback/fullback groups. Tyler Anderson and Clayton York seemed to switch places just about every down, and Terron Ward and Jordan Jenkins saw the majority of the carries for the afternoon.

With Poyer not participating in active team defense/pursuit drills this afternoon, Sean Martin and Brian Watkins saw the bulk of the looks on the 1's in his stead. Watkins shows god recognition of opposing receiver's assignments and anticipates their routes fairly well – he interrupted a few passes from Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion today during 1-on-1's.

Martin looks really crisp in red zone defense. He is one of the bigger and more physical defensive backs slotted at the cornerback position, and it suits him well in the red zone. He shows skill at getting a hand in to disrupt passes and makes a receiver work for the catch.

Zimmerman stayed in on the 1's for Watkins – Zimmerman is looking stronger every day and has demonstrated that he is a confident, physical and reliable option at free safety should Riley and crew ever need to throw him in on the starting line-up.

With Ashton out for the safety corps (at least for today), fellow freshman Cyril Noland-Lewis saw work alongside senior (cornerback) Steven Christian on the 2's, holding down the strong safety slot.

Caleb Smith is back for his second day in a row after missing nearly a week's worth of valuable playing time with the tight end unit. Untimely absence aside, Smith saw some extensive work on the 1's and 2's this afternoon – catching two passes and setting some strong blocks.

Rudolf Fifita and Rusty Fernando both saw some work on the 1's, filling a void left by Scott Crichton for a good portion of practice. Crichton did not see much work during team drills this afternoon – we assume that it is in an effort to allow the projected starter at defensive end a chance to catch a breath here and there.

Practice Notes Day 13:

Offense:

Quarterback – Chalk up another good day for Mannion and Vaz (Richie Harrington also had some solid looks during 1-on-1's). Mannion and Wheaton hooked up a lot in the passing game, as did Vaz and Brandin Cooks. Both QB's look ready to take command of the offense and lead them down the field at any given time.

Tailback –Ward may have sat out for three days nursing a tight hamstring, but no hint of that tension manifested itself in Ward's running game on Monday. The sophomore looked quick on his feet and hit his gaps swiftly on nearly every play. With the exception of Jenkins, Ward has consistently shown that he is the most versatile all-purpose ‘back on the team. Storm Woods saw most of his time alongside Malcolm Agnew on the 2's this afternoon. Both (Agnew & Woods) had average practices.

Fullback – Anderson is adept at blocking for the run and using his size to his advantage. The thing(s) that have set him apart form York time and again are his overall speed/agility and ability to make tough receptions in the short passing game – typically translating those catches into big yards in the open field. That was again the case today.

Tight End – To date, Caleb Smith looks like the most game-ready blocker, and best overall option, in the tight end corps. This is not a good sign, seeing as how Smith is a freshman who sat out almost all of last week and is not necessarily expected to start at this phase in his development with the Beaver football program. Still, given the current state of the tight end group's cumulative blocking skill, it is certainly not out of the question he will start. Has he missed too much practice time to make an actual impact?

"You know, I hope not," Riley said. "The good thing about Caleb is this – he was here in the spring. So even though he is a true freshman, he feels like a little bit of a veteran. He shouldn't be too far behind in the learning part of (being a good overall tight end.")

Wide Receiver –Wheaton, Cooks, Mullaney, Gwacham and Cummings were again getting open consistently (as they have over the last two weeks) and there was no shortage of open looks for Mannion and Vaz today.

Offensive Line – A very strong performance today from the Beavs O-line.

Isaac Seumalo and Michael Philipp did particularly well. Seumalo has a blocking technique all his own - it forces nearly every defender he has faced in camp to "stand up" and play his game.

Seumalo rarely lets a defender get low enough to sneak by him – he plays every defender at the shoulder and midsection, forcing them to readjust mid-attack, thusly throwing off valuable momentum in the blitz.

Seumalo and Philipp were looking physically ready to block some of the Pac-12's tougher defenders today -- Seumalo looked especially tough against Rosa and Philipp managed to hold off Dylan Wynn with ease on multiple occasions this afternoon.

Defense:

Defensive Line – One bad day does not mean a bad week, bad month or a bad season. And the Beaver defensive line has been stellar for the bulk of the fall training sessions. The front four are dynamic. They may not have the best depth to back them up, but as a unit they play hard and fast and are quick to get a touch on the ball carrier in the run game. And Castro Masaniai is looking more and more like the veteran nose tackle needed to hold down this defensive attack. He pushed right by Josh Andrews on two separate drills on Monday, and even squeezed in between Andrews and Seumalo during 11-on-11's to disrupt a run by Ward, forcing Ward to cut to the outside and ultimately loose two yards.

The area that this defense (specifically the D-line) seemed to struggle with the most on Monday and in camp is getting containment on outside runs – and it was part of the reason why Joe Seumalo was livid after practice.

Linebackers – An average performance from the ‘backers today. The 1's and 2's rotated nearly every other play, and the two MIK's (Unga and Rueben Robinson) looked sharp against the inside runs.

We have seen some nice leaps form D.J. Welch the last week. Graduate assistant and linebackers coach Trent Bray said that Welch looks like a corner, but plays and hits like a linebacker. This is true - Welch is not very big at all for someone rushing the strong side. But he fits like a glove into the "speed over size" modus operandi that is slowly overtaking Mark Bankers defensive strategy, and shows a clean finish on his tackles.

Welch and his cohort on the weak side, Michael Doctor, both bring something to the starting ‘backer corps that was essentially missing from the last two seasons – enough speed at their respective positions to stop (or marginally disrupt) the oppositions short passing game. Both have proven to be effective pass defenders at this stage. Will it continue as fall camp chugs along?

Secondary – Continued to look great under the tutelage of Rod Perry. Perry's focus on the basics of pass protection throughout the first half of camp has started to pay dividends. Compared to last week, nearly every single corner/safety (even Jovan Stevenson, despite the fact his alignment still bears a striking resemblance to that of a wide out) has been sticking closer to their assignment, and getting a hand on the ball to knock it down with more frequency. Zimmerman has been carrying his weight and then some and Poyer, Rashaad Reynolds, and Ryan Murphy command respect when you throw a ball into their zone.

Both Poyer and Reynolds look to need a little bit of work covering the deep ball – but then again, Reynolds and Poyer are both constantly going up against two of the fastest and most agile players on the Beavs in Wheaton and Cooks.

Depth Chart Day 13:

OFFENSE
Quarterback: Sean Mannion, Cody Vaz

Tailback: Terron Ward, Jordan Jenkins, Malcolm Agnew (once)

Fullback: Clayton York, Tyler Anderson

Tight End: Colby Prince/Caleb Smith, Connor Hamlett

Offensive Line: OT- Michael Philipp OG - Josh Andrews C - Isaac Seumalo OG- Grant Enger OT – Colin Kelly

DEFENSE
Defensive Line: DE – Dylan Wynn, DT – Castro Masaniai, DT – Andrew Seumalo, DE Scott Crichton/ Rudolf Fifita/Rusty Fernando

Linebackers (OLB): Michael Doctor (Weak), D.J. Welch (Strong)

ILB: Feti Unga (or Taumoepeau)

Secondary: Tyrequek Zimmerman (Free), Ryan Murphy (Strong)


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