CORVALLIS - There were bear crawls for the D-line on Thursday and they looked anything but fun, but the linebackers suffered no such malady on Day 16. A new off-the-radar DT has been added to the ranks and practiced with the Beavs – actually Oregon State has three recent additions on defense. So who are they and where are they lining up? All that and more in this BF.C report on the defense…
Rashaad Reynolds (CB – Upper Leg/Groin, resting), Ryan Murphy (S - resting), Sean Martin (CB – resting)and Steven Christian (S – sick/resting) all took a break on Thursday. Their absence from the practice regimen opened the door for some young talent to show their wares.
The New Guys
Joe Seumalo's defensive line got some love with two big guys joining the ranks. Defensive tackle Devan Filipe, a JC transfer from Snow College, practiced with the Beavs on Thursday and both participated in the grueling bear crawls that a less-than-happy looking Seumalo presided over. Filipe is eligible to play immediately and OSU is counting on the 6-2, 290-pounder to shore up the depth. There's a video of him at Snow at the bottom of this report.
Oregon State also added walk-on T.J. Hufanga to Trent Bray's corps of ‘backers. He's a Corvallis native and graduate of Santiam Christian High. He was sporting a No. 53 jersey for the orange and black.
As we reported earlier, D-lineman Jalen Grimble is also in the fold and got in his first real work on Thursday. He'll sit out the 2013 season per NCAA transfer rules and have 2-to-play-2 starting in 2014.
Practice Notes – Day 16 Defense
It was unclear to me why Seumalo put his troops going through a high volume of bear crawls but as one member of the Oregon State staff said in passing – bear crawls are never a sign that a unit is performing as expected. In spite of that, some good ol' fashioned football teamwork took root. As junior DT Siale Hautau was struggling through his last 10 yards, DE Dylan Wynn walked alongside him, uttering words of encouragement.
A big day in the books for LB Jabral Johnson, who was all over the place for much of the day and making plays in both run and pass defense. The early stages of practice saw Johnson making some great reads, earning him commendation from Bray and his teammates.
The linebackers may have been the most impressive individual group of players on Day 16. Senior SAM backer Michael Doctor was rock solid with the starting defense. And MIK Joel Skotte was showing solid command over the middle of the field, especially in drills and in EWU prep.
The No.2 MIK ‘backer behind Skotte – freshman Rommel Mageo – looked pretty good against the run and pass game. Mageo has come into his own over the last week or two, and while there is still some fine tuning he needs to do, Bray seems quite confident in his abilities for a freshman. Mageo's strength lies within his ability to develop leverage in the trenches, combined with a nose for the ball when operating against the running attack. His ability to make a good read on an opposing QB is still a work in progress from what I've observed.
Tyrequek Zimmerman looked especially sharp against both the run and the pass – and on one play where slotback Kevin Cummings seemed to have a catch, Zimmerman made a big leap and barely tipped it out of bounds before Cummings could get his mitts on it.
Larry Scott again saw first team reps in place of Rashaad Reynolds. Scott had a fine day, holding down his zones with ease and playing decent man coverage. The very athletic Scott is a threat to wideouts trying to get loose in the pattern. Why? Because wideouts rarely outmaneuver the 5-11, 194 pound sophomore.
Zack Robinson and Cyril Noland switched off as first team safeties backing up Ryan Murphy. The pair of redshirt freshman both put in solid work on Day 16. Now, their collective performance may not have been earth shattering but they were consistent and didn't allow any massive gains in the secondary – in other words they did their job and did it well.
Freshman linebacker Terin Solomon saw quite a few reps with the scout team defense at the WIL slot on Thursday.
Sophomore DE Lavonte Barnett returned to practice with the defensive line on Day 16, He had taken a breather on Day 15.
Not too often you see a 5-8, 188 pound scout team corner yank the ball out of the hands of a 6-5, 223-pound potential starter. But Naji Patrick did on Day 16 in the end zone no less, to Obum Gwacham. While Gwacham seemed to make a leapting grab, Patrick got his mitts in there a split second later and they all tumbled to the ground. Next thing you know Patrick is standing up with an arm held in the sky, clutching the pigskin. Yet one man's trophy is another man's scorn in this case, as Gwacham got a talking-to from WRs coach Brent Brennan after the play.
Patrick also had an impressive day in some other areas. He would have gotten two CB sacks, one each against Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, had it been live.
Running with the 1's – Day 16 Defense
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – John Braun
DT – Mana Rosa
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL –Jabral Johnson
MIK – Joel Skotte
SAM –Michael Doctor
CB- Larry Scott
CB- Steven Nelson
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Cyril Noland/Zack Robinson