CORVALLIS - Loads of news and bullet points from Day 1 of fall camp. A couple key recruits are no shows - can we expect them by the end of the week? The defense had a relatively low key beginning, but the offense was crackin' early on. We have three OSU coaches talking about all things Beavs. And above all, we have notes, notes and notes, as Oregon State's fall camp is underway!
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The Daily Riley
"It was really good," Riley said of the first day. "The neat thing about having kids back is always that you can do a lot of things that are your foundational stuff, just come up and start doing them. The kids have obviously been working on them during the summer. You could tell there were a lot of good intentions (in the summer), so that's encouraging."
Riley elaborated on why some highly anticipated faces were not at camp on Monday. D-linemen Kyle Peko
and Charles Tuaau
were absent and did not appear on the official roster handed out at Monday's practice. Where are they?
"They are out there in that never-never land, we don't know for sure" Riley said. The OSU head man was more hopeful last week but sounded less optimistic on when there might be clarity on their situation.
"We are hoping for the best but I don't even want to try to give you what I think about that. The problem is out of our control, there are things going through the wire right now – grades, transcripts – so how it all happens, and how fast it can happen (is not known). We hope it happens this afternoon, but I doubt it."
Of course, the question of who starts at QB has yet to be officially answered, and Riley isn't budging on that matter. Only time will tell, a sentiment echoed by Riley and various members of his staff, some of whom feel that a battle for playing time is a great motivator for the likes of Sean Mannion
and Cody Vaz
Moreover, the first day in shorts and helmets, something that will persist through the first three days of camp, consisted of rehashing standard OSU strategies and getting everyone acclimated to the different tempo that fall camp ushers in. Yet there were still some tricks up the sleeves of Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf.
Practice Notes – Day One
There was a tricky play or two out on the field on the first day, which we won't describe nor mention the personnel involved. But it needs work.
Sean Mannion saw the bulk of the time with the 1's on Monday but Cody Vaz got plenty of run too.
One newcomer I will be keeping my eye on is RB Damien Haskins. The freshman is 5-8, 220 pounds and he's really put together. He is big- really big, and speedy to boot. Haskins got a few handoffs today and looked good. I generally don't get too excited about true freshmen, most of whom will redshirt – I may make an exception here.
On Day 1, the tailbacks saw Storm Woods at first string, with Terron Ward on the 2's and Chris Brown with the scout team, with an occasional snap with the second unit.
The question on whether Fred Lauina would line up on the o-line or d-line looks to have been answered. He was getting low with the offensive line on Monday, under the watchful eye of Mike Cavanaugh and GA Tavita Thompson.
Cavanaugh has high expectations for RT Gavin Andrews, who joins four returning starters up front in 2013. "I think he has come along great – he has worked his butt off," Cavanaugh said. "He is stronger (than a year ago), and he has always had good feet for a big guy. I think he is going to have a great year. He is a competitor, and that's what you love about the guy. I love the fact that his wresting mentality combined with football gives him that nasty streak. It's big – I think he loves what he is doing and it's going to be fun to watch him."
But Cavanaugh also made it clear that there were kinks that need to be worked out here, early on in his blocker depth. "Some of those guys looked lost out there," he said. Riley was a little less edgy.
"I think we are not where we want to be depth wise, of guys we know can play in the games. But we are getting better," Riley said. "It's never been easy to keep 10 guys you know are ready for Pac-12 play ‘ready to go'. That's what I've told (the press) many times – linemen are like gold. We want to continue to develop our depth where we have lots of guys who are ready to play in a game."
Brennan's receiving crew put together a solid outing. Richard Mullaney returned to battle for the split end job alongside Obum Gwacham and Malik Gilmore. According to Brennan, both Mullaney and Gwacham are the leading considerations for the starting gig, with Gilmore not too far behind. "(Mullaney's) chances are really good," Brennan said. "We are trying to see how everything settles out with those three guys. Boom and Mullaney are a little bit further along than Malik is right now, but Malik looks great. We will have to see how it all shakes out."
Gwacham was using his hands to catch passes more than he uses his whole body on Day 1 -- a decided improvement to see him reel in some zingers and deep passes with relative ease.
The tight end unit under Kyle Devan looked strong today. Connor Hamlett dropped a few passes during drills, but given his 2012 season and his spring ball output, chalk it up to a little early rust -- something likely to be shaken off soon.
Caleb Smith, on the other hand, looked game-ready on Day 1. The sophomore TE was quick and sure handed - I'm very intrigued in what his production will look like during these next few weeks.
Tight end Tyler Perry is also back at it and appeared injury-free.
The defensive notes are brief because Day One was mostly about getting guys adjusted. The defensive line spent a lot of time in the Truax Center going over fundamentals and some conditioning points.
Linebackers spent a significant portion of the afternoon working on making the right read at the right time, and the secondary unit under Perry did much of the same.
DE Scott Crichton, DT Siale Hautau and S Tyrequek Zimmerman were all back with the defense today after missing some or all of the spring recuperating from injury.
Hautau left the field earlier than the majority of the team, it was unknown at press time as to the severity of his apparent injury.
CB Steven Nelson saw his fair share of looks with the 1's. Riley mentioned this weekend that Nelson is going to be a key cog in the OSU defense one way or the other. Did he put in a strong enough summer to inch him closer to finding himself the starter in the latter stages of camp? That's what fall camp is all about.
Jabral Johnson's role with the LB unit is projected to increase this fall after the dismissal of Josh Williams. If the Beavs start leaning toward playing more 3-4 against some teams due to insecurity at DT, there is a good chance Johnson will be the second man in the middle adjacent to Joel Skotte. I'll be keeping my peepers on No.44 all month long.
Running with the 1s
Day 1 was not as much about who ran with the 1's or the 2's as much as it was geared toward getting guys situated and in the flow of things. Here's a rough list of the starting unit.
Quarterback - Sean Mannion/Cody Vaz
Tailback - Storm Woods
Fullback - Tyler Anderson
H-back/TE - Connor Hamlett/Caleb Smith
LT - Michael Philipp
LG - Josh Andrews
C - Isaac Seumalo
RG - Grant Enger
RT - Gavin Andrews
SE - Obum Gwacham/Richard Mullaney
FL - Brandin Cooks
SB - Kevin Cummings
Note: A very tentative list here, as the Beaver defense did not see many reps as a unit on Day 1.
DE - Dylan Wynn
DT - Siale Hautau/Mana Rosa
DT - Edwin Delva/John Braun
DE - Scott Crichton
WIL - D.J. Alexander
MIK - Joel Skotte
SAM - Michael Doctor
CB - Rashaad Reynolds
CB - Steven Nelson/Sean Martin
S - Tyrequek Zimmerman
S - Ryan Murphy
Preferred walk ons
The Beavs have added eight new walk-ons for the start of fall camp. Offensive linemen Sam Curtius (6-4, 264), Austin Johnson (6-1, 332) and Derrionte Freeney (6-3,320) were added to Cavanaugh's platoon, and Perry saw a new addition by the name of Chris Hayes, a 6-0, 168 pound freshman out of Los Angeles. Will Hopkins (6-6, 247) joins the TE unit and Trent Bray adds a Beaver State ‘backer named Henry David, a 5-11, 226 pound find from Umpqua, OR. In-state product John Carroll (6-2, 190) heralds from Bend and saw his first time in the white practice jerseys under the tutelage of Brennan. Finally, a line-snapper by the name of Andrew Maughan (6-0, 203) was also on the roster.
By my count, with the aforementioned eight players, the walk-on ranks for OSU sits at a healthy 26 members. Here is an interesting figure - roughly 24.7 percent of the OSU football team are walk-ons. Things could change over the course of fall camp but my guess is a mere handful – such as Micah Audis, Steven Christian and maybe Michael Balfour – will have a legit impact on the program in 2013.