CORVALLIS – There were some young players who stood out for the Beaver D on Monday, and the first session of the day was a mixed bag for the linebackers. We talk OSU secondary and a more in this Oregon State defensive report.
Practice Notes – Day 13 Session 1 Defense
Monday was not the first day I've observed Brandon Bennett spending more time as a defensive tackle with the scout team than he did running with the 2's. Whether the 6-3, 285-pounder stays there for long is the question in my mind. He's done some good things this camp. But he's clearly not doing enough to move up the ladder in the eyes of the coaches as are
DE/DT John Braun, DT Mana Rosa junior interior linemen Siale Hautau and Edwin Delva.
Safety Cyril Noland and corner Dashon Hunt were a hazard for Cody Vaz on a pair of passes Monday. On two practically identical calls, Hunt and Noland snuck up behind his target, reached in front of his body and whapped the ball down short of its intended mark. Both members of Rod Perry's secondary have seen the bulk of their reps with the 2's this fall camp, and Noland in particular has been looking sharp out on the field. He is a solid pass defender who I think could really be of utility in stopping the run, and he plays with a ton of enthusiasm.
Monday was a mixed bag for the ‘backer group. Michael Doctor was sharp in team drills, shutting down some running lanes and well-occupying the outside edges of his zone from penetration by the running game. His counterpart Jabral Johnson – a junior freshly elevated to the starting WIL – did not have as easy of a ride. He had some missed assignments and looked a little out of rhythm. Johnson is in for D.J. Alexander, who hurt a knee last week and is projected to be out potentially for another three weeks-plus.
Behind the starting linebacker group of Doctor, Johnson and Joel Skotte the Beavs are rather young and on the light side, though there's also a good amount of raw potential. Two redshirt freshmen and one true freshmen – Rommel Mageo, Caleb Saulo and Darrell Songy – are all likely to see time in rotation, and perhaps more so against Eastern Washington. Songy has had a fine fall camp with some training wheel sized bumps along the way. Saulo and Mageo were originally in contention for the second string MIK slot, but LB's coach Trent Bray made it known last week that that job was pretty much in Songy's hands. Saulo's roll has increased, and he has been running with the 2's at both the WIL and the SAM spots this fall.
Dylan Wynn has been moving around a bit up front, and I must say that I am excited to see him do work on the inside this season. He is certainly a versatile athlete, and one of the few that has shown coach Joe Seumalo that he can step up and man just about any spot on the DL.
Junior nose tackle Siale Hautau spent reps with the 1's (briefly) and 2's during the first session of Mondays practice. Hautau has improved his game the last 10 days or so and is looking more comfortable out there.
Corners Sean Martin and Steven Nelson shared time defending with the 1's during the first half of Mondays practice. And so the battle rages on at that spot, though both are going to see a lot of turns this season with Mike Riley saying OSU will implement more nickel and dime coverages in 2013.
Zimmerman has been seeing some snaps as an option in the nickel coverage that OSU has been working on during fall camp.
Many think it will be the safeties and corners who make the difference this year for the Beavs on D. The versatility packed in the two-deeps under Perry – players like the burgeoning Larry Scott, the agile Sean Martin, and the duo of Zack Robinson and potentially walk on Micah Audiss – should help the d-line and thin linebacker unit. It's a big, physical secondary with a lot of pep, and an opening cast featuring the likes of Rashaad Reynolds, Ryan Murphy and Tyrequek Zimmerman.
Running with the 1's – Day 13, Session 1 Defense
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – John Braun/Dylan Wynn/Siale Hautau
DT – Mana Rosa
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL –Jabral Johnson
MIK – Joel Skotte
SAM –Michael Doctor
CB- Rashaad Reynolds
CB- Steven Nelson/Sean Martin
CB-Sean Martin/Tyrequek Zimmerman (Nickel)
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy