OSU FALL CAMP DAY 3: Shoulder pads go on

CORVALLIS – The Beavs donned shoulder pads for the first time this fall camp on Wednesday, and the skelly and 11-on-11's were the highlight of Day 3. Meanwhile, is Mike Riley thinking about burning the redshirt of freshman RB Damien Haskins? BF.C asked the head man that very question. And could the QB picture be starting to come into focus?

"That's a good question about Damien Haskins," Mike Riley said. "But (right now) it's all evaluation time about that. I won't even know what I like there yet, until I see more of it."

That evaluation period could last through at least Week 2. Regardless, Haskins has not been simply standing idly by while Storm Woods, Terron Ward and Chris Brown take all the handoffs – he has been getting his share early and often.

It's also important to note he's mostly been running against the scout team defense.

Practice Notes – Day 3

Quarterback Sean Mannion saw significant looks with the ones and had a decent day. On the whole, Mannion exceeded expectations Wednesday when making certain throws, especially when it came to lacing balls into double coverage to the likes of Caleb Smith and Richard Mullaney. Yet he continues to struggle when throwing to some specific areas of the field.

Mannion did move around a lot in the pocket today. Mobility in the backfield has been an issue for him since 2011, but he is showing shades of becoming much more aware of himself in the pocket.

Cody Vaz had a so-so Day 3 but that shouldn't be dismissed. Vaz has still been consistent day in and day out with seemingly improved arm strength and accuracy. Riley said he will select the most consistent player as the No.1 passer, and thus far, Vaz arguably fits the narrative Riley painted.

The current bane of Vaz's talents as a QB – and perhaps the main reason why he is possibly resting behind Mannion in the depth chart – is the fact that he hasn't really sold the play-fake. And he didn't again today.

Brent Vanderveen had a rough Day 3 – the redshirt freshman QB turned the ball over twice– once to senior ‘backer Dyllon Mafi during short yardage drills, followed shortly thereafter by a Joel Skotte pick, the result of an excellent read during a skelly formation.

The fullback unit that consists of Tyler Anderson, Michael Balfour and Ricky Ortiz spent a few minutes during the former half of practice working on short yardage receiving drills. Anderson took a few pit-stops throughout Wednesday's practice, at one point jogging over to one of the trainers and asking if he could "get some ice" (possibly for his knee). Anderson was well acquainted with the sideline after that.

Storm Woods has packed on some noticeable muscle and he is demonstrating it in his ability to shrug off some of the bigger guys in the middle of the defensive front seven. The additional beef was helping him on Wednesday deal body blows and bounce off defenders.

Woods' gains haven't limited his agility. He was running with the 1's during a skelly drill on Wednesday and made a great cut – he faked outside, slid back toward the middle and then dipped to the right to pick up a solid three yards on what should have been a loss.

Redshirt freshman running back Chris Brown is playing well at this point in the fall. Not only has he reached a point in his tenure at OSU where a youngster like Haskins seeks his advice on the sideline, but he is increasingly sharper in all facets of his game – fewer mishandled snaps that lead to fumbles, improved receiving hands and he appears more comfortable in his knowledge of OL formations, making his moves more pronounced.

With the exception of Brandin Cooks, Micah Hatfield stood out the most today in the receiving ranks. The senior – who is making an effort to secure PT as either a backup flanker or split end – caught multiple passes today on both short and medium range tosses from Mannion and Vaz. Hatfield is a safe target with soft, reliable hands and enough speed to gather some YAC after he has secured the ball.

Speaking of Cooks – he and Mannion stayed behind a bit after the veteran players were replaced by the young guys for the last 20 minutes of practice. The duo watched the youth at wideout run some routes against the young guns of the secondary. They walked away discussing the best possible way in which Mannion can squeeze the ball into Cooks on certain plays. Football never stops for these two.

At split end, Obum Gwacham and Mullaney were tied in my book today – until Gwacham went for six. Each saw about a 50/50 share of looks but Gwacham got behind a defender late in Wednesday's session, grabbed a 40-plus yard floater over his right shoulder and his long legs sent him off to the pylons.

We'll be back with more, later tonight

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