CORVALLIS – The second day of fall camp for Oregon State was two parts reinforcement on the fundamentals, one part installation. And there was good news on the injury front regarding one of the Beaver defensive tackles. Read on for this report chock full on the details of what went down on Day 2...
The Beavs took to Tommy Prothro Practice Field for another day of shorts and helmets on Tuesday.
And don't forget to check back a little later on tonight for a second report from Corvallis...
Normally requiring a subscription, this article is presented as free content. You can take out a BeaverFootball.com Pass for a FREE 7-day test drive and become a subscriber in one of three ways -- monthly, 6 months or Annual. Click on the 7-day free trial button HERE for the various options, with the Annual Total Access Pass the most attractive in terms of price and perks.
Practice Notes – Day Two
Siale Hautau returned to practice on Tuesday in good enough shape to see a few downs and practice essential sets with his defensive line counterparts. While Hautau sported no brace or visible garnish on his injured right foot, he did spend the last hour of practice resting and not participating in the remainder of unit drills. Both Riley and Joe Seumalo were non-specific as to the severity of the injury, but going as far as to say that the x-rays were negative.
The second day of former defensive end John Braun's stint as a DT went smoothly. Much of Tuesday was allocated to installation and reworking of prior knowledge, so the likes of Braun and Mana Rosa did not see a lot of contact and physical implementation of skills.
Nonetheless, Braun's transition from DE to DT has been clean so far. He is one of many players d-line coach Joe Seumalo counts on to traverse the line when necessary. Brandon Bennett also saw a healthy dose of reps as an interior lineman with the 2's and the scout unit.
Defensive end Scott Crichton, who sat out the sprnig, is slowly easing back into his role as the primary pass rusher on the Beaver D-line.
Something struck me about Crichton on Tuesday – he is very observant and methodical. As much as he relies on pure speed and superior technique to dodge a man and sweep inside, he has learned the value of these skills by simply watching formations in practice. If he takes a water break, he is watching how his fellow teammates move. If he steps to the sideline for a spell, he is contemplating an attack plan. It's really interesting to watch him.
Veteran safety Tyrequek Zimmerman really doesn't seem to have missed a beat after being out all spring after undergoing toe surgery. He was astute in his reads on Day 2, granted the guys standing across form him were other defensive backs and some linebackers, but he looked sharp nonetheless.
Ryan Murphy is, well, Ryan Murphy. Great day for the starting free safety, who consistently plays with enough ferocity (even on Day 2 of fall) that I find myself forgetting that he is merely a junior. However, not everything was strictly sunshine for No.25 – he did blunder an opportunity to catch a high floater during drills today when he mistimed his leap to snatch the pigskin. He came up laughing the kind of laugh that seemed to indicate, ‘That won't happen again.'
Safeties young and old had a sharp day under the calculating eyes of Rod Perry. Cyril Noland who looked strong today as the No.2 strong safety behind Murphy. Meanwhile, walk-on redshirt freshman A.J. Hedgecock and fellow walk-on/sophomore Micah Audiss looked good in pursuit and catching drills today. Both are athletic options in the secondary, and Perry has expressed confidence in both players to do their part defensively if and when they are called upon.
Cornerback Sean Martin has a class that has forced him to miss the latter half of practice these last two days. In his stead, Steven Nelson has been receiving a lot of time running with the 1's in the defensive back group, slotting opposite the split-end when Martin is absent.
Nelson has made some strides since the spring. Riley and Perry have both called him a ‘gym rat' and his physical prowess is certainly starting to show in his ability to stay physical with an assignment while keeping his coverage tight. He is playing with more confidence, which allows him to be more agile and conscious of his body in space. The junior had a heck of a day Tuesday, swatting passes and getting aggressive with his man on every snap.
The vast majority of the work the linebacker squad accomplished today revolved around pass defense and proper drop formations. Starting ‘backers Michael Doctor and D.J. Alexander looked good but continuously needed a mental refresh from Trent Bray on how to best smother a target without interfering with him.
Younger LB's such as Rommel Mageo, Darrell Songy, Jabral Johnson and Michael Greer also had solid showings today. Songy and Greer are being applied irregularly and in short burst, just to get them acclimated. Greer has a tough streak though, I can see why there was a fair amount of hype surrounding his arrival.
Sean Mannion again saw the majority of snaps as signal caller for the 1's Tuesday afternoon. He put on a performance worthy of neither praise nor extensive criticism. Some throws were on point, others were wobbly and a smidge off target. He looked so-so throwing screens, but excelled at times when tossing to short and medium range targets.
Cody Vaz saw his bulk of his reps with the 2's and had an OK day – nothing great but nothing too bad either. An interesting note – Vaz overthrew a deep target (speedy Brandin Cooks, of all people) as he jettisoned downfield. Vaz's arm strength has been suspect in the past, but this little anomaly of overthrowing Cook's leads me to consider if that may change soon.
For the second day in a row, Mike Riley and Danny Langsdorf introduced some intriguing new offensive plays into the usual practice regimen. We won't give away the state secrets here, but OSU is definitely thinking pretty far outside the box to start fall camp.
Junior wideout Obum Gwacham looked poised on Tuesday, and he caught some zingers from both Mannion and Vaz as the primary split end over Richard Mullaney. Most notable was Gwacham's ability to reel in the short tight throws that were generally his biggest weakness last year and this spring.
Riley called out a few guys – namely the freshman receiving duo of Victor Bolden and Stevie Coury – on being too anxious in some of their breaks while route running drills were on the menu for the wide receivers under Brent Brennan.
That anxiety Riley mentioned is a lot easier to see with Bolden at this juncture. He has a whole heck of a lot of speed in those cleats but he overruns his cuts from time to time and his body is not in control when he breaks left or right – it's tough for him to make an adjustment. But he's a freshman, and still in need of time and coaching to help correct some of those little inconsistencies.
Senior Micah Hatfield saw some reps as the backup flanker behind Cooks on Tuesday. Both Riley and Brennan have mentioned in the past that Hatfield is likely to get more involved with the receiving game in 2013. On the whole, he was sharp and ran clean routes.
The tailback squadron has seen a lot of work these last two days, but there's more to being a running back than carrying the pigskin. Day 2 lent itself to a lot of pass plays to TB's out of various offensive packages.
There was an equal measure of run/pass blocking and short reception work for the tight end unit on Tuesday. Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith were both consistent fixtures in some of the more interesting offensive looks that OSU employed, both as blockers and targets.
Dustin Stanton, Kellen Clute and Tyler Perry are at the very least a group of diligent TE's, and occasionally they are downright tenacious. All three of them had a strong Tuesday as far as basic catching and blocking responsibilities are concerned. Riley praised the entire unit on Tuesday.
I've said it before – the quieter Mike Cavanaugh is, the better his o-linemen are doing. The stocky O-line coach went from low-key to barking like mad by the midway point on Tuesday. Tough love to hammer in the fundamentals? Or is Cavanaugh already seeing the holes in his ranks and jumping on guys early in order to achieve timely improvement? While no particular man drew his ire Tuesday, the general sense of it all was that Cavanaugh could have been happier at day's end.
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – Edwin Delva/John Braun
NT – Siale Hautau/Mana Rosa
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL – D.J. Alexander
MIK – Joel Skotte
SAM –Michael Doctor
CB- Rashaad Reynolds
CB- Steven Nelson/Sean Martin
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy