CORVALLIS – Day 14 did not play host to a scrimmage but it was the first time that referees were on the field -- and whistles were blown for penalties and miscues on both sides of the ball. Tuesday saw a lot of mixing and matching for the offense as EWU prep continues for the orange and black – with red zone drills yet again receiving a lot of emphasis.
seemed pleased with his troops after the second straight day of practice that ended with a half hours' worth of preparations for the opener with Eastern Washington on Aug. 31.
"I love the practices right now," Riley said on Tuesday. "They are working hard. We're at a point where we are doing some ones against ones and twos against twos interaction. And we are doing a lot of special teams and we are doing a very good portion of Eastern Washington prep. By the end of this week we will have about six hours of EW prep, so that's pretty good."
Riley was less optimistic for the return of senior wide receiver Micah Hatfield
, who has been out for over a week with hamstring concerns.
"(Hatfield) is out for a while I think." Riley said.
That would seem to vastly increase the likelihood that Victor Bolden
would forego a redshirt year. The freshman wideout has been seeing nearly all of his time on the field as the No.2 flanker since Hatfield incurred the hamstring injury.
Practice Notes – Day 14
Senior QB Cody Vaz didn't have his best day in running with the 1's. While he connected with some receivers, several passes were either late or off-target and red zone results were mixed. The senior also tossed two picks that could have been avoided. It has been a rough start to Week 3 for Vaz. Sean Mannion, running with the 2s, had a better day – and he made some quality throws in the red zone. However, Mannion was not perfect either. He struggled when throwing the deep ball against the wind on Tuesday. The junior looked sharp otherwise.
Richard Mullaney and Obum Gwacham continue to share looks as the starting split end, with Mullaney seeing the lion's share of reps for the second day in a row. Mullaney had characteristically solid receiving hands and ran some well-timed routes that saw him effectively work the sidelines. Gwacham did some nice work in the red zone, while guys like Kevin Cummings and Brandin Cooks had solid days. Malik Gilmore got into the action as well, running with the 2's. Cummings is starting to see a lot more looks these past few days and has been making good use of the them.
Starting center Isaac Seumalo, the line's anchor although he's just a sophomore, may be able to return to a practice routine as early as Wednesday according to Mike Riley. Seumalo has been having some issues with a bruised left knee and has spent the last few days rehabbing the injury and held out of drills. Seumalo's return would remove O-linemen Josh Mitchell from the rotation at center and allow him to slide back into the 2's and add to the depth there.
Grant Enger had a great day. Tuesday's slate of drills and team simulations lent themselves to more than Enger just getting his job done - he helped sophomore RT Gavin Andrews get the best of his assignment on a few plays, and on others he was blocking more than one guy per snap.
Enger really caught my eye on one play in particular – Dylan Wynn got a great jump off the line and cut inside. Enger slid over to block Wynn and then manhandled him. Enger patted Wynn on the helmet after the play was over.
As good as Enger has looked the past two weeks, there are depth concerns on the offensive line. Today was especially demanding, as three O-linemen (Seumalo, sophomore Grant Bays and freshman Garrett Weinreich) were out, with younger and less experienced players filling the voids where and when they could. Justin Addie, Roman Sapolu and Nolan Hansen were rough around the edges for Tuesday's practice.
Tyler Anderson killed it as a lead blocker for the tailbacks on Tuesday. The 5-10, 223 pound fullback has really been finding his groove lately after missing spring ball with a knee injury. Anderson has seen his role amplified this fall camp.
Kellen Clute, Dustin Stanton and Tyler Perry had good days operating with the 1's and 2's. Perry had a gorgeous diving catch in the back corner of the end zone. Clute and Stanton were implemented as options with the first team offense on a few occasions, with Clute the most consistent receiving target for both Vaz and Mannion in certain drills run on Tuesday.
The starting H-back/tight end duo of Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith had a quiet day. Hamlett was off and on with the 1's and 2's, and I didn't see Smith do a whole lot with the starters either.
The scout team plays a critical role in simulating the other team and sometimes they look bad, such as throwing off a card despite the fact it might be double coverage, or they're running something they're simply unfamiliar with. Freshman QB Kyle Kempt looked a little out of sorts in throwing to Hunter Jarmon and Jordan Villamin on a few plays. Still, the OSU scout team should give the starting Beavs a good look at Eastern by the time it's said and done.
Day 14 was another example of the running back trio of Terron Ward, Storm Woods and Chris Brown working on installation of various plays.
Running with the 1's – Day 14
QB – Cody Vaz
TB – Storm Woods
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Connor Hamlett, Kellen Clute
TE – Caleb Smith (minimal), Tyler Perry
LT- Michael Philipp
LG- Josh Andrews
C- Josh Mitchell
RG- Grant Enger
RT- Gavin Andrews
FL –Brandin Cooks
SE – Richard Mullaney/Obum Gwacham
SB –Kevin Cummings