CORVALLIS – Larry Scott was among those who snared an interception for the Beaver stop corps on Day 5. The d-line cranked it up a notch, and the o-line fired right back. And we delve into everyone's favorite subject these days, the situation at d-tackle – where there were some interesting shifts up front, including an Oregon State linebacker who, what's this, is putting his hand down these days…
Practice Notes – Day 5
While the offense had their moments, the Beaver D won the day on Friday.
Jaswha James is practicing with Joe Seumalo's crew as a DE, despite being listed as a ‘backer on the official roster. Seumalo was unavailable for comment on this matter, but James (6-2, 245) is of utility at the end position more for his speed than his size. From what I saw today, he will need to pack on some heft before he is able to become an every-down threat as a DE – bear in mind that the first week or two of fall camp is often about experimentation, so there is a chance James' transition will lack permanence. Also, the Beavs may be looking mostly at him as a speed rusher in certain situations -- we'll have to see when the games count for real.
Cornerback Larry Scott had a big day, with his signature play an interception garnered while running with the 1s. I did not catch who tossed the pick (sorry guys) and reports were scattered one way or the other. Regardless, the more impressive notion was that Scott, a 5-11, 192 pound sophomore was filling in at corner for Rashaad Reynolds and played well. Note: Reynolds was suited up but coaches appeared to be giving him a day off on Friday to look at other corners -- they know what they have in Reynolds -- and Martin has a class which means he's only available for partial practices on some days. And Scott took advantage in putting a good foot forward.
Harbor all the anxiety you like regarding the current defensive tackle situation for OSU (I know I am) – but today was an overwhelmingly positive showing for the interior linemen. Swift and concise penetration from all angles by the likes of John Braun, Mana Rosa, Brandin Bennett, and rookie Siale Hautau. Dylan Wynn made the switch to the interior line on a few occasions, and was replaced by Devon Kell on the outside.
Indeed, there was a lot of movement on the defensive line Friday. Wynn also switched sides with Scott Crichton for a few plays. That versatility Seumalo called for earlier this week is starting to show for some of the veterans.
Both Hautau and fellow junior defensive tackle Edwin Delva spent the majority of their reps with the 2's on defense, while Rosa (DT) and converted d-end Braun manned the inside and got a good push against the starting O-line. I urge fans not to expect utter brilliance in the middle of the line right now, as a legitimate set of 1's and 2's has yet to take shape, and Rosa and Braun have it complicated enough just trying to compensate for their relative lack of size when juxtaposed to the average height and weight of the OSU linemen standing across from them. But the duo has yet to show an ultra-obvious sign of weakness so for now, they get some kudos.
A pair of sophomores on the line, Bennett and DE Lavonte Barnett stood out during Day 5. Both players had a constant motor going and never gave up on a play. Bennett and Barnett were seen hovering around the QB's frequently. Props should be allocated to the D-line 2's as a whole, for Friday's practice lent itself to the No. 2 D-line unit dominating the backups for the OL on a few plays. Bennett rotated in at DT with the 2's on multiple occasions.
Linebacker Coach Trent Bray was participating in a lot of yelling, critiquing and coaching. He refused to hold back on calling out D.J. Alexander, Michael Doctor and Joel Skotte for "thinking that they know" what they are doing, instead of actually doing it.
On that note, Jabral Johnson and Caleb Saulo played some tough football with the 2's on Friday. Saulo has been fitting into the second-string MIK slot more often than Rommel Mageo, and despite being built more for speed than stuffing the running lanes, Saulo (6-1, 225) has looked sharp and managed to fill some gaps. In an interview with BF.C the other day, Bray labeled Johnson as the guy who looks to fill in for Doctor and Alexander when the going gets tough, potentially increasing the chances he sees more and more reps as camp moves along.
Steven Nelson (CB) saw ample playing time with the 1's on Friday, as it appeared Sean Martin had that pesky thing called class once again. Nelson is getting better by the day -- and more aggressive. Some of his reads leave room for improvement, but no one is perfect. His progress since touching down in Corvallis this April has been pronounced as far as I'm concerned, and I'm loving his antagonistic style of defending his assignments.
Malcolm Marable (5-7, 169) is that new little engine that could. Got to admire the amount of vinegar a corner has when he is putting up a fight against receivers who are six to seven inches taller than him -- and possessing significantly more girth. Naji Patrick has the same potential for success against the opposition at 5-8, 188 – the sophomore has yet to make a name for himself though.
Young guns Dashon Hunt and Charles Okonkwo, both freshmen corners, and Zack Robinson, (second-year safety), had good days defending passes. Robinson has been locked into the scout team safety slot, and occasionally fills in for Micah Audiss with the 2's. Hunt and Okonkwo stood out simply by virtue of the fact that they are making plays at all this early into camp. Hunt could be a stud in the future, but he still has considerable seasoning to come before that becomes more of a reality.
Starting safeties Tyrequek Zimmerman (JR) and Ryan Murphy (JR) did their jobs today, to put it simply. Both kept firm protection without allowing a WR get too much of a gap on them and Zimmerman notched a pick. Good day all-in-all for the duo.
Just to add of little color to your reading – the OL and DL really heated up today. There were a lot of grunts, some cursing and even some friendly shoving going on in the pit. Easy to tell that the big guys are happy to be making contact with something other than a moving blue pad held by an assistant.
Running with the 1's
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – John Braun
DT – Mana Rosa
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL – D.J. Alexander
MIK – Joel Skotte
SAM –Michael Doctor
CB- Larry Scott
CB- Steven Nelson/Sean Martin
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy