DAY 16: Talking Beavs with Mike Riley

CORVALLIS – An Oregon State tailback turned corner has a new role – or is roles? And will the Beavers scrimmage this fall camp? OSU's head man answers that in definitive fashion and also touched on a number of additional items on Thursday. All that plus our practice notes on the offense right after the jump...

Mike Riley laid the proverbial hammer down on Day 16 when BF.C asked him if there would be an official scrimmage before the Beavs faced off against Eastern Washington on Aug. 31.

"We're not going to. We are done with that." Riley said. Recent injuries and depth concerns mean the Beavs will go against the norm and not hold one of the three scrimmages the NCAA allows in fall camp.

In other news, Jovan Stevenson sported a white No. 19 jersey and was taking handoffs with the offense on a few snaps.

Stevenson, a 5-11, 186-pounder, moved to corner from running back at the beginning of fall camp in ‘12. He was having some success at the position, getting looks in with the 2's from time to time but recent depth concerns at tailback necessitated Stevenson's switch back to the RBs under Chris Brasfield. But he'll still be involved in special teams and at corner.

"I kind of left (the decision) to him, " Riley said of Stevenson. "He thought about it overnight and he told me he would do it – Coach (Rod) Perry wants to keep him going on part of our sub defense – (Stevenson) is like a three way player right now."

Freshman newcomer Damien Haskins will redshirt in 2013, which limits the depth of OSU's running back unit to just three players without Stevenson – Storm Woods, Terron Ward and Chris Brown. Ward was a minimal participant on Day 16 and Woods was inactive, which threw into sharp relief just how thin OSU can be at the position, and just how much they may need Stevenson.

Notable Notes – Injured/Resting Players Day 16
Isaac Seumalo (Center – knee), Gavin Andrews (RT – sick), Storm Woods (TB – tight hamstring), Terron Ward (TB – minimal/resting), Fred Lauina (OL – resting)Rashaad Reynolds (CB – Upper Leg/Groin, resting), Garrett Weinreich (OL - knee), Ryan Murphy (S - resting), Steven Christian (S – sick/resting), Sean Martin (CB – resting), Brandin Cooks (WR – leg, resting), D.J. Alexander LB – knee), J.C. Grim (WR – arm) and Will Hopkins (TE – toe) were all out today.

Practice Notes – Day
  • Brent Vanderveen has been putting in some solid work as a scout team signal caller, but the third string guy is always under the collective media radar – and even more so when a starter hasn't been declared between Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. But Riley is high on the 6-4, 210-pound freshman. "In a year's time (Vanderveen) has really dramatically improved, and even yet from spring. I've really been impressed with him. I'm so encouraged by where he can go now – he went from being hardly able throw a spiral a year ago to looking pretty sharp (now). I almost feel like I could put him in a game and he could function pretty well."

  • Sean Harlow got the first team reps at right tackle alongside RG Grant Enger on Thursday. The freshman offensive lineman filled in for absent starting right tackle Gavin Andrews. Harlow, who Riley is still deciding whether to burn his redshirt, managed pretty well on the line, even when the first team defense faced off against the starting offense in early team drills. Harlow went against Scott Crichton and Dylan Wynn and handled himself pretty well.

  • It was a good, but quiet day for QB's Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz. Mannion cashed in on a set of nicely placed deep throws and looked good in some other areas the QBs were working on. Vaz looked good, with zip on his passes and also on particular things the Beavs are working on for EWU.

  • In my view, both Mannion and Vaz have been decent this fall camp, but not spectacular. To be fair, with no scrimmages or live tackling/pursuit drills to gauge their performances, they can't do much more than they've been doing. They go through their repetitions, they throw the ball where they are told to, make their reads and that's it. Sure, Vaz will have an off day here, Mannion a fluke or two there, but otherwise they are equally valuable options in my mind. Vaz has thrown a lot of INT's this fall. But it is increasingly hard to fully gauge either without scrimmage reps.

  • Micah Hatfield saw the majority of reps as the No.1 flanker– the 6-1, 181 senior substituted into the starting offensive packages for Brandin Cooks, who sat out Thursday afternoon. From this chair, Hatfield is playing cautiously, trying to make sure he doesn't re-injure his hammy. The senior wideout has been sharp, don't get me wrong, but he has also not been consistently going at full speed.

  • Victor Bolden and Hatfield alternated at flanker on Day 16, and Bolden looks like he's getting comfortable there. One specific play from Thursday stood out to me – CB Malcolm Marable matched up on him, Bolden went a few yards and gave Marable a fake, Marable doesn't buy it. Bolden sprints forward another couple yards – another fake - Marable still has him locked down. But a split second curl away gave the QB just enough room to lace the rock to Bolden, who made a skillful grab with his knees on the turf.

  • Josh Mitchell - sophomore center and backup to Isaac Seumalo – had a banner day when he blocked against the scout team defense. To date, Mitchell has fared well as a center, but has had more of an issue consistently stopping the quicker members of the interior defensive line. DT John Braun has managed to get good penetration on Mitchell, and Mana Rosa was doing the same. But other than that, Mitchell has kept the boat afloat while working as the starting center slot in relief of Seumalo.

  • Grant Bays and Roman Sapolu - members of the second string OL – saw an upswing in the reps. With Mitchell doing double the work as a member of the 1's and 2's, Sapolu was called upon to relieve him at center a few times. He and Bays – who filled in behind Grant Enger – got the benefit of working with Michael Philipp and Josh Andrews for a few snaps as they stepped in and kept the offensive line chugging along on Thursday afternoon.

  • Oregon State's tight end unit was looking good. Caleb Smith and Connor Hamlett were running strong with the 1's, and sophomore Kellen Clute even saw time in the starting offensive rotation at times. Tyler Perry and Hamlett also had their hands full.

  • Hamlett continues to work on all phases of his game and all I will say at this point is that if Hamlett continues on the same upward glide path and can stay healthy, he is going to cause a lot of heartache for opposing defensive coordinators.

    Running with the 1's – Day 16
    QB –Sean Mannion/Cody Vaz
    TB – Terron Ward (minimal), Chris Brown
    FB – Tyler Anderson
    H-Back – Connor Hamlett
    TE – Caleb Smith
    LT- Michael Philipp
    LG- Josh Andrews
    C- Josh Mitchell
    RG- Grant Enger
    RT- Sean Harlow
    FL –Micah Hatfield, Victor Bolden
    SE – Obum Gwacham/Richard Mullaney
    SB –Kevin Cummings

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