CORVALLIS – Some unexpected movement on the starting O-line shook things up on Tuesday at Oregon State. Two veteran coaches gave BF.C some insight into the goings-on, including the concerns at tackle for the orange and black. Meanwhile, the ongoing battle for playing time at split-end that has yet to produce a clear cut starter, with the first game of the 2013 season just four days away.
, moving over from right guard, now is the likely starter at right tackle in place of Gavin Andrews
Junior backup center Roman Sapolu
moves to Enger's spot at right guard for EWU.
True freshman Sean Harlow
was the listed starter at right tackle on Monday but that no longer looks to be in the cards.
How big are the concerns with the O-line depth at this point?
"Big. Big," Riley said. "But what are you going to do? You just need to prepare the guys that are healthy and go do everything you can to win the game."
The injury bug has bitten the o-line hard. The Beavers have been without starting sophomore center Isaac Seumalo
(knee) for a while, though he's still expected to start against EWU. Andrews and Garrett Weinreich
(knee) have been out or limited. The healthy headliners remain a group of three -- Enger, Josh Andrews
and Michael Philipp
. After that, it's pretty much second-teamers and players on the scout team. OT David Keller, a transfer from Fresno State, also retired from football shortly after camp began (concussions).
On moving Enger over, Riley said it was borne out of a concern of depth. "We aren't deep enough (on the O-line)," Riley said Tuesday. "But we've got guys that are getting ready to play, and I'm sure they will do a good job."
Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh offered BF.C his two cents on Enger's switch Tuesday. This is the first time since the inception of fall camp that Enger has seen time as a tackle with the 1's. "We want Grant Enger to be able to go at right tackle," Cavanaugh said of the 6-6, 291 pound lineman. "We are going to put the best five out there."
Is Enger's transition considered permanent until Andrews makes a healthy return to the ranks? "I can't answer too far ahead," Cavanaugh said. "We are just worried about this week."
Enger was stout at right tackle on Tuesday, and did his part to muscle through the scout team D-line and open up some running lanes for Storm Woods and Terron Ward. Harlow was the second-team right tackle on Tuesday. "(Harlow) needs a little bit of work," Cavanaugh said. "He is going to be a great player for us down the road, but right now a lot of this is new to him. There is a lot to learn, and things are going to be fast on Saturday."
Sapolu (6-2, 284) got most of the reps at right guard but redshirt freshman Grant Bays (6-3, 305) also got a few in as his backup. "Well, obviously Roman and Bays need to be ready to go at either center or guard," said Cavanaugh.
The second day of Game Week practice went rather smoothly for the Oregon State offense. The Beavs worked a good portion on third down situations. "It's fun to get into a routine of getting ready for a game," Riley said in the media huddle.
The Beavers newly named starting quarterback, junior Sean Mannion, had not trouble with his offensive line set up during Tuesday's practice. He was nearly perfect on most of his throws. A couple of tosses, few and far between, came out a little wobbly but it was a rock-solid day for Mannion. When Mannion's receivers were in the right place at the right time, his throws were sharp and his release didn't lag as much as I noticed in early segments of fall camp.
The Beavs are keeping the starting split-end close to the vest between Obum Gwacham and Richard Mullaney. It could be that there's a lot of rotation seen on Saturday. "We believe that the battle is close enough where it's going to have to get sorted out on game day," Brennan said. "Both guys have been working really hard- fighting through nicks and injuries - they are both doing a good job. Both catching the ball well and running good routes. So we are going to give (them) a chance to get after (it against EWU)."
Victor Bolden had a few drops on Tuesday, mostly by virtue of him being just a hair out of position. Other than that, Bolden continues to excel in the pattern and has had a great camp, and his talents are by no means limited to just catching the ball. Bolden has been sharing second team reps at flanker with senior Micah Hatfield.
Ward saw the lion's share of second team reps at running back, sharing a handful of looks with senior Jovan Stevenson. Woods was the go-to-guy with the 1's and looked as sharp as ever when he got the ball in his mitts. Woods, Ward and Stevenson were all involved in run, pass and blocking schemes during Tuesday's practice session. Stevenson adds depth to a position that recently lost its third string tailback, Chris Brown, to an injured left foot – and the senior's versatility and knowledge of the offensive playbook is valuable.
It was a quiet day all in all for the OSU tight ends under GA Kyle Devan in terms of pass catching but the blocking Tyler Perry, Connor Hamlett, Caleb Smith and Kellen Clute stood out to me.
Kevin Cummings was a force on Tuesday, On one play, he made a spectacular mid-air grab in the early swing of practice while hustling to the corner of the end zone. He managed to keep both feet in bounds even though he had all of three inches of breathing room between him and the white out-of-bounds chalk.
Walk on Blair Cavanaugh is a multi-faceted player, and if the game against EWU is decided early in OSU's favor, he may end up doing some of the things he was doing on Tuesday, which we won't detail here.
Injuries have shuffled things up on the scout team as well. Walk-on John Carroll, a wideout, has been playing with the scout team defense as a safety for the last few practice sessions. Brennan indicated the move was temporary, but noted Carroll was a safety in high school and is doing whatever he can to aid the team at this juncture.
Walk-on freshman ‘backer David Henry has also been involved in the old switcheroo – in recent practices, Henry has seen his job as a linebacker mingle with fresh duties as a temporary fullback in some scout team offensive formations.
Steven Nelson and the first team defense on Tuesday proved difficult for freshman wideout Walter Jones. Jones has steadily improved since fall camp began -- his routes are cleaning up and he is making better reads when he is running an option route but Nelson won the battles on Tuesday.
Freshman walk on Stevie Coury had his number called by QB Kyle Kempt on a beautiful deep pass. Coury made the catch in spite of looming safety Tyrequek Zimmerman and some tight coverage courtesy of Nelson.
Running with the 1's
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Connor Hamlett
TE – Caleb Smith
LT- Michael Philipp
LG- Josh Andrews
C- Josh Mitchell
RG- Roman Sapolu/Grant Bays
RT- Grant Enger
FL –Brandin Cooks
SE – Obum Gwacham/Richard Mullaney
SB –Kevin Cummings