CORVALLIS – With the bout against Eastern Washington just days away, the OSU defense on Tuesday sure looked like they were getting an itchy trigger finger for some real tackling, something they haven't done all camp. Members of the Beaver d-line in particular looked like they were ready to tackle someone with their face.
Practice Notes Defense
Dylan Wynn, Siale Hautau and Edwin Delva were responsible for shaking things up on defense. The trio put together some impressive penetration when facing the scout team OL, even disrupting disrupt a few pitches from Kyle Kempt by forcing the young QB to get rid of the ball earlier than he wanted. Riley has said he expects to use a rotation of five DTs with John Braun, Mana Rosa, Brandon Bennett, Hautau and Delva.
Junior Jabral Johnson has sutured the torn seems of the linebacker corps in the absence of D.J. Alexander. The Beavs worked on third down defense and Johnson turned in some smart plays. Johnson did a good job of tracking players that entered his zone, but rarely over-pursued when his mark moved into the secondary and became the responsibility of his teammates. He's not a super physical presence and he's starting because of the injury to D.J. Alexander but Johnson's reads are getting better and he's reacting nicely.
Johnson's heightened level of performance made it much easier for WIL Michael Doctor and MIK Joel Skotte to hold things down on Tuesday. The starting ‘backer trio looked particularly sharp when facing the pass and runs were quickly squashed by a combination of speedy linebackers and big linemen.
It has been a relatively quiet camp for junior defensive end Scott Crichton who – unlike Wynn – is not a very vocal player. But Crichton knows exactly what he is doing, and he doesn't overextend a play and risk injury to himself or others. The junior is cool and collected at every practice, but seems to be saving his energy for something bigger, perhaps actual games. I asked D-line Coach Joe Seumalo about this earlier in camp, and all he said was, "That's just Scotty for you."
Oregon State's coaching staff has a long tradition of expecting players to play more than just one position in case they're needed, and it was especially apparent in the secondary during Tuesdays practice. Senior corner Rashaad Reynolds and junior safety Tyrequek Zimmerman both spent time in the nickel corner slot, a spot usually filled by Sean Martin since fall camp began. And to be clear, Reynolds and Zimmerman saw most of their reps at the position with the 2's.
Zack Robinson, a redshirt freshman safety, displayed some prime time athleticism in blocking a tall pass from Kempt when the scout team offense went up against the Beaver D. I was lucky enough to catch the whole play, and while some would say it was simply a blocked pass, I will say that I'm surprised Robinson didn't knock down a pigeon on the play, because he vaulted into the sky. He has some hops and a good eye for the football.
Brief Injury Report
Michael Greer, D.J. Alexander and Steven Christian remain on the injured list for the Beavs. Greer is the only member of the trio that has been showing more obvious signs of rehabilitation. He was sprinting quite a bit on Tuesday, shortly after which he met with a member of the training staff.
The defense has been expressly told not to tackle offensive players during fall ball, to let plays happen and make the right reads and motions to the football. This has mostly been well adhered to by the starters and scout teamers alike, but you could almost feel on Tuesday the pent up aggression bubbling like Vesuvius. Is it Saturday yet?
The scout team D-line came at the first team offense with a variety of players on Tuesday. Ali'i Robins, Jalen Grimble and Devan Filipe were the most consistent fixtures as interior linemen, and collectively they were decent in getting off the snap, doing their best to fend off a revamped OSU O-line. Grimble and Filipe mixed things up on Tuesday as well – yesterdays practice saw Grimble with the bulk of his repetitions as the nose tackle with the scout team defense, but today Filipe owned that role and Grimble moved into his vacated spot on the line.
Barnett was pulling out the stops on Tuesday, using his speed as a weapon when trying to disrupt passing attacks with both the 2's and scout team. Barnett is one of the few scout team D-linemen who has been seen running with the 2's during fall camp. He generally is behind Devon Kell in the rotation at DE and with Kell having a solid camp, Barnett has been limited in his capacity with the 2's.
LB Darrell Songy and S Brandon Arnold were off and on the second team defense, claiming a good chunk of the reps at their respected positions and doing their best to handle the likes of Stevie Coury and Blair Cavanaugh in the open field. Songy is still learning and makes small mistakes, something that linebackers coach Trent Bray continually points out to the youngster.
Running with the 1's Defense
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – John Braun
DT – Mana Rosa
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL –Jabral Johnson
MIK – Joel Skotte
SAM –Michael Doctor
CB- Rashaad Reynolds
CB- Steven Nelson
CB-Sean Martin (Nickel)
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy