CORVALLIS – Some great blocking and a little trickery characterized the evening for the OSU offense, while speed was both the strength and bane of the Beaver defense during the second practice on Day 13. Here are some quick notes and observations on the second half or OSU's fifth fall camp two-a-day.
Monday night's practice session focused on more Eastern Washington prep, with the first and second string offense and defense going against their scout team opposition. There were a few surprises, but the evening generally went as one would expect when starters face off against younger, less experienced players – many of whom haven't seen a lick of Pac-12 playing time.
Practice Notes – Day 13 Session 2
What You need to Know Offense
A trio of largely unheralded OSU offensive players – Tyler Perry, Hayden Craig and Tyler Anderson – all had some strong showings blocking on Monday evening. Freshman tailback Damien Haskins also stood out here, and he irritated Jabral Johnson a couple times when the junior ‘backer tried to gain position on him and could not manage to do so.
I think Haskins ended up receiving his redshirt partially due to the depth OSU has at tailback with guys like Chris Brown, Storm Woods and Terron Ward. But that should not discount the fact that the freshman running back has a hell of a time catching the football. His receiving game needs a lot of work.
Both sets of offensive squads (starting and scout) focused mostly on short yardage scenarios plus a few trick plays that OSU has been experimenting with frugally over the last few weeks. The trickery was met with mixed results. The scout offense on the other hand struggled to properly implement those plays to begin with.
Ward and Woods rotated pretty consistently at the starting tailback slot. Their performances was certainly aided Monday night by some stellar blocking courtesy of Grant Enger and Michael Philipp. Grant Bays also had a fine evening blocking with the 2's.
Derrionte Freeney – a freshman walk-on offensive lineman from Texas had a few big blocks against Jaswha James when the OL and DL participated in trench wars before EWU prep. The newcomer showed good concentration and control of his body when blocking the converted linebacker who has been seeing time with the 2's as a DE.
Redshirt freshman wideout Blair Cavanaugh was the favorite target of freshman QB Kyle Kempt when the scout team offense faced off against the starting rotation of the OSU defense. Cavanaugh was pretty successful navigating the D.
Scott Crichton, Lavonte Barnett and Brandon Bennett stood out most to me on Monday night. Crichton nearly picked Kempt on a well-read screen, Barnett tipped an attempted pass right out of the sky - not the first time the sophomore has accomplished this and Bennett managed some quick penetration on the evening and looked good in the pit.
Steven Nelson and Sean Martin continued to alternate at the starting corner slot opposite Rashaad Reynolds. Martin usually ends up finding a home as the nickel back corner when the Beavs run defenses geared toward stopping the ever-pesky spread offense that many Pac-12 and college teams have adopted.
The second team defensive unit had a heck of a time trying to maintain Cavanaugh, as I stated above. I don't know if it was just the result of his speed that the defense couldn't seem to nab him, or if Cavanaugh was genuinely channeling the spirit of Rudy when he was slashing through the defense. Either way, the onus ended up on the likes of S Cyril Noland, CB Malcolm Marable and walk on safety Micah Audiss, three guys who clearly weren't ready for the heat Cavanaugh brought.
From this chair, the collective speed of the defensive ends under Joe Seumalo – players like Dylan Wynn, Crichton, Devon Kell, Dyllon Mafi, Jaswha James and Barnett - has the potential to be troublesome indeed for some offensive lines, and in particular less athletic offensive tackles. Sean Harlow and Nolan Hansen both had trouble on Monday night, as a few of the aforementioned zipped right by them during individual competitions and team drills. Crichton and Wynn both have this ability to make DE look easy, pure and simple.
Ali'i Robins joined D.J. Alexander and Michael Greer on the sidelines Monday night, but it looked as if the defensive end was in no major pain. Greer has been doing a lot of work with a member of the training staff in order to try to get in as much as possible with the scout team rotation – the freshman linebacker was walking up and down the stands at Reser, then heading down to discuss with a trainer.