Riley on signed JUCO; Practice report & more

CORVALLIS – Oregon State officially added a junior college cornerback today on the first day of the midyear signing period. Mike Riley talked about that after a practice that saw Brandin Cooks and Storm Woods take it easy. The o-line and d-line got in some extra work, though, and the defense had a good day.

"(We feel) really good - excited. It is a good start to our recruiting process," said Mike Riley. "When we recruit junior college guys, we anticipate them being competitors to start right now, and he is a good fit for what we need and what we do defensively."

Riley was talking about Steven Nelson, a junior college cornerback hailing from Georgia who played his JC ball in California and who officially signed with the Beavers Wednesday.

Nelson's recruitment was influenced by Rod Perry, Oregon State's secondary coordinator, said Riley. The news he had signed could not have come at a better time, as the imminent departure of consensus All-America corner Jordan Poyer looms.

BUT WEDNESDAY WAS not all rest, relaxation and recruiting - there were players working their tails off, and this was particularly evident when taking a look at the offensive and defensive lines.

Even after practice officially ended, Dylan Wynn, Andrew Seumalo, Castro Masaniai, Rusty Fernando and Joe Lopez were all running drills under the instruction of Joe Seumalo.

True to his word, Riley's focus today was geared toward red zone scenarios on both sides of the ball.

The guys on the O-line (both the 1's and 2's) ran strong all day. Shades of a depleted offensive line during the 2012 regular season continue to haunt the Beavs, even in the postseason. Thus, drills demand that everyone on the line work hard during every practice - without question.

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh tends to make sure of that.

One thing is for sure, the less you hear Cavanaugh barking from across the field, the better his linemen are doing – and Cavanaugh was pretty quiet today.

On the flipside, only moderate success characterized the OSU redzone offense. Riley continues to keep up a fresh rotation of Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, never sticking with the same QB for more than three plays.

Both Vaz and Mannion struggled with accuracy, and I saw a lot of out-of-reach tosses when it came to the duo working inside the 20-yard line. Had it not been for some fantastic catches on behalf of Markus Wheaton, Richard Mullaney and Kevin Cummings, both QB's may have been on a timeout courtesy of Riley.

IN THE ABSENCE of Woods, Terron Ward and Malcolm Agnew saw the bulk of the handoffs and did not disappoint. Both handled the ball well, looked good in screen packages and set some strong blocks when the situation called for it.

Ward looked like a tank on two legs and one thing I like about Agnew – he plays like a man fighting for a job. A slight fall from grace resulting from Woods being named starter and Ward's mid-season boom has not deterred the sophomore from giving it all that he has got. For that, Agnew receives props.

THE DEFENSIVE FRONT seven saw a lot of work combating specific formations down inside the 15-yard line on Wednesday, and performed very well when practicing their goal line stands down inside the five.

The 1's on defense ran mostly against the scout team and the 2's on offense - Wynn and Crichton stuffed runs without much issue and defensive tackles Lopez, Seumalo and Masaniai had some pep in their step today.

Linebackers D.J. Alexander and Feti Taumoepeau had a stand out day with some nice pass defense, and the secondary (led by Poyer and Tyrequek Zimmerman) held down their assignments, managing to keep about three-quarters of the opposition end zone stabs at bay.

Thursday will see a significant change of pace compared to the Beavers normal practice regimen.

"Tomorrow (the) practice deal is that the young guys are going to practice, and the old guys are going to lift." Riley said.

Young and old is not relative to age in this case. First string (and probably some second-stringers too) = old guys. The players further down the depth chart and scout teamers = young guys.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Redshirt freshman OL Justin Addie had a hiccup during yesterday's practice, limping off the field toward the end of the session and though the injury appeared minor, OSU was favoring the side of caution as Addie did not participate in practice on Wednesday.

  • More on Nelson -- he's a 6-foot, 185-pound transfer from the College of the Sequoias in Northern California who originally signed with Georgia out of high school. For his two-year junior college career for the Giants, he recorded 71 tackles, 19 pass breakups and six interceptions. Nelson will be on campus next month for the start of winter term. He has two years of playing eligibility remaining with a redshirt year available.


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