PRACTICE REPORT: Mannion sharp

CORVALLIS -- The potential threat of not having an opponent on Saturday due to Hurricane Isaac did not hinder Oregon State from practicing with a full head of steam on Tuesday. QB Sean Mannion was sharp, the defensive secondary continued to show off their top-to-bottom depth, TE Colby Prince eased his way back into the swing of things and more.

Asked if it would be a disappointment if OSU couldn't host Nicholls State on Saturday due to the Colonels' potential travel issues coming out of Louisiana, Mike Riley smiled.

"I think we are playing the game," Riley said. "And that is the only way to approach things.

"I'm very excited about the whole deal, it's time to get started," Riley said. "We need to play a game, win, and go forward from there. There is a different kind of urgency right now."

Game week preparation has clearly been evident the last two days -- the players have been more vocal, the coaches have been strict on implementing the fundamentals and the energy level has certainly increased significantly.

Injury Report:
Colby Prince returned to his work on the 1's today. He ran well, and didn't seem to be favoring his left shoulder too much. However, it was easy to tell that Riley and crew were trying to be careful with the tight end listed atop the depth chart. Riley is intent on having Prince play in the home opener and as a result, Prince saw less blocking packages this afternoon.

Freshman walk on OL Nolan Hansen went down halfway through practice following a collision with DL Mana Rosa but returned later. Rosa slipped during Hansen's block and his helmet caught Hansen's left knee. Hansen sat out for about 15 minutes getting the go ahead from training staff to continue playing as long as he wore a brace on his leg.

Anthony Watkins, Kendall Hill, Chase Eldredge, Blake Harrah and Desmond Collins are on the injury list for the foreseeable future.

"Well as you look at our tight end position, that thing could be very fluid." Riley said. "Colby obviously has the best experience, but all of them are a rising talent. Besides redshirting Dustin Stanton, I think they will all play."

At this stage in camp, where does Riley feel his team has improved the most?

"I think that overall, probably the running (backs)," Riley said. "You know, everybody sees the running - but I look at the pass routes, receiving and pass protection -- and I think that group has really grown."

Riley also said WR Obum Gwacham, who had missed a good chunk of practice time letting an injury heal up, is unlikely to play on Saturday.

Depth Chart: The 1's

Quarterback: Sean Mannion

Tailback: Storm Woods

Fullback: Clayton York/Tyler Anderson

Tight End: Colby Prince/Connor Hamlett

Wide Receiver: Markus Wheaton (X), Brandin Cooks (Z), Kevin Cummings (Slot)

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


Defensive Line: DE – Dylan Wynn, DT – Castro Masaniai, DT – Andrew Seumalo, DE Scott Crichton

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

ILB: Feti Unga (or Taumoepeau)

Cornerbacks: Jordan Poyer, Rashaad Reynolds

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

Depth Chart: The 2's

Quarterback: Cody Vaz

Tailback: Malcolm Agnew/Terron Ward

Fullback: Tyler Anderson/Clayton York

Tight End: Caleb Smith/Tyler Perry

Wide Receiver: Kevin Cummings (X), Obum Gwacham (Z), Richard Mullaney/Micah Hatfield

Offensive Line: OT - Derek Nielsen, OG – Justin Addie /Josh Mitchell, C – Roman Sapolu OG – Gavin Andrews. OT – Nolan Hansen


Defensive Line: DE - Rudolf Fifita, DT - Joe Lopez, DT - Mana Rosa, DE – Devon Kell/ John Braun

Linebackers (OLB): Shaydon Akuna/Rueben Robinson (Weak), Jabral Johnson (Strong)

ILB: Rueben Robinson/Joel Skotte

Cornerbacks: Sean Martin, Brian Watkins/Ryan Handford

Safeties: Peter Ashton (Free) Steven Christian/Chris Miller (Strong)

Practice Notes: Game Week Day 2

Sean Mannion had command of the offense, and we didn't hear any criticism from Riley or Danny Langsdorf when it came to Mannion's performance. Typically, they both are coaching Mannion on how to correct slight defects in his play- everything ranging from release to poise in the pocket. Both coaches seemed pleased with their starter today – Mannion had a strong day all in all, connecting on a good majority of his passes and moving well in the pocket. He showed patience under pressure, and found wide receivers open with ease.

Tailback: Storm Woods and Malcolm Agnew both had good days today. Specific improvement in Woods' game has come in the way of his enhanced blocking ability. He set two nice cut blocks today, one against a blitzing Rueben Robinson and the other a less successful attempt against Dyllon Mafi, which failed to completely remove Mafi as a rushing threat, but held him up enough so Vaz could complete a throw to Micah Hatfield.

Agnew's he blew past Scott Crichton and Andrew Seumalo on a few plays, despite the fact he was teamed with the 3's blocking unit for a good portion of the day.

Tight End: Prince was eased back in slowly today, and looked rusty running his routes and making plays in the pass game. Another issue as of late at the position has been the inconsistent blocking of freshman Caleb Smith. He has had days where he is on point and fairly proficient -- and then the will be days like today when he fails to solidly connect and block a defender..

It's more of a concern with Prince's availability unknown. If Prince can't go, what will Smith and Connor Hamlett bring to the table?

Notable Note: Kellen Clute has been developing slowly, and shows a lot of potential if he can find a happy combination of pass protection skill and receiving ability. As of now, Clute has struggled in some of his blocking assignments. However, Clute is a speedy receiver and made four catches today, all of which came off of nicely run routes.

Wide Receiver: Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton shined, with both dominating their defensive counterparts this afternoon. Granted, they were working against the 3's/scout team, but their productivity has been plain to see since Day One no matter who they've gone up against. Each had four-plus catches apiece on Tuesday, and their deep threat capability really opens up other facets of the offense for Mannion and Vaz.

Micah Hatfield had a solid day today, reeling in five catches while working with the 2's in the slot wideout position. Hatfield had good release of the line of scrimmage, and his quick catch-and-turn gets him another few extra yards . A note on Hatfield – there's room for improvement in his route running. He struggles occasionally with getting immediate separation from a defender.

Offensive Line: The 1's on the offensive line managed to hold their own against aggressive 2's and 3's/scout team D. Derek Nielsen and Gavin Andrews shared time with the 1's as well.

Nielsen in particular looked like a well tuned blocker. He is one of the smaller guys but like Roman Sapolu, Nielsen uses his smaller stature, quick feet and hands to move well with pass rushers -- versatile in his overall skill set and pretty successful at blocking rushes to the outside of his body. He's become a solid option and given the tackle spot some depth.

Jake Welch, Roman Sapolu and Justin Addie all saw a significant amount of playing time with the second unit of the offensive line, and held their blocks well against a diverse attack (at times) from the likes of Joe Lopez and Devon Kell.

Defensive Line: They struggled against the run on Tuesday. While improvement has come (especially from Dylan Wynn and Crichton) since the spring in stuffing and pursuing ballcarriers, it is not the forte of the Beavs' front four. It is here this season where the speed-over-size approach that OSU has adopted will truly be put to the test. Masaniai is the exception, but he also cannot be the only one consistently making plays against the run in the middle if OSU is to be successful this season.

Andrew Seumalo is strong, but he does not get the quick penetration that's always needed to tackle or at least marginally disrupt running plays between the tackles. While he has skill in turning a ballcarrier back into the flow and sometimes making quick tackles in the backfield, both of those attributes are dependent on his ability to have that destructive initial burst off the line, which is in need of more consistency.

Linebackers: Michael Doctor and D.J. Welch had one of their better days in coverage, but struggled slightly with rush defense.

To Welch's credit, he has really come along as a well rounded defender. He has taken the teachings of Trent Bray and turned them into something tangible, workable. Welch doesn't struggle as much with over-running his assignments as he did earlier in camp and he is a good compliment to DE Crichton in certain situations. Welch can destroy a passing attack with his ability to get into the backfield quickly – if he hones that skill.

Mafi had an impressive day, displaying that he has a quick burst and enough recognition of the defense on the fly to be a disruptive player with a little fine tuning.

Secondary: The unit continued to be the most consistent factor on D for the Beavs -- and this is represented by both the 1's and 2's at the safety and cornerback positions.

Jordan Poyer has got an "it" factor and has gotten loads of press but do not let that distract you from not just the other starters – CB Rashaad Reynolds, S Ryan Murphy and S Tyrequek Zimmerman (S Anthony Watkins is injured) but there are other solid performers like Larry Scott, Brian Watkins and Naji Patrick in the fold, too.

Scott and Brian Watkins saw time with the 2's today and worked well against the 3's on offense. Watkins had a tipped pass, and Scott and Patrick managed to shut down the likes of Richard Mullaney and Kevin Cummings.

Sean Martin looked capable on Tuesday of filling in for either Poyer or Reynolds without missing a beat in coverage. Martin has also proven to be a more aggressive tackler (not necessarily defender, but tackler) than Reynolds, and plays the run with a bit more confidence in his movements.

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