CORVALLIS – Wednesday's practice session for the Beavers was loud, aggressive and indicative of a ticked off OSU football team, coaches included. A wealth of interceptions characterized a stout day for the starting secondary against the scout team, while the first team offense chewed up yards. Some good news on the injury front as a linebacker makes a slow but steady return and more...
Practice Notes Injury Report
Junior linebacker D.J. Alexander was back in pads for the first time in over two weeks on Wednesday. Alexander was dressed, but did not practice as part of team drills where "thud" contact was involved.
"He is not going to play this week," said Mike Riley. "But it's really neat to see him - from where we were that one day in practice (where Alexander hurt his knee) – scared to death. To see him out here with pads on and running around, it's comforting."
Riley mentioned that Alexander is likely to return to full practice scenarios next week, but that whether or not he plays in OSU's PAC-12 opener at Utah will be a game week decision from the medical staff.
Brandin Cooks returned to work with the first team offense at flanker and looked as if the blow to the back he received in the final seconds of the Eastern Washington loss was nothing but a memory.
P Keith Kostol, who has been out of commission with an injured right ankle, is expected to be back for Saturday's game against Hawaii.
A plethora of picks. Pardon the alliteration, but it seems a fitting description of the defensive performance of Mark Banker and Rod Perry's safeties and cornerback's during Wednesday's practice period. Ryan Murphy, Rashaad Reynolds, Steven Nelson and Larry Scott all notched an interception against the scout team offense during Hawaii prep.
Players were loud on the day, sure. But Wednesday marked one of the few practices that lent itself to less yelling by players than there was by the coaching staff. Joe Seumalo got in the face of Edwin Delva when the junior DT made a mistake with the 2's, and Banker was especially vocal with members of his secondary young and old. Defensively, the Beavs looked crisp and tight – linebackers Jabral Johnson and Joel Skotte looked more secure in their responsibilities, and their eyes stayed focused on their areas rather than on the distracting barrage the scout team often let loose on the first and second team defenders.
Despite strong play in the secondary, Banker made it a point to coach guys like Tyrequek Zimmerman and Nelson on field awareness and taking proper angles when moving to make an interception. It was apparent that Banker does not want his pass defenders getting into bad habits like vacating their zone and man assignments in order to try to make an interception on every play. He harped on players to stay individually focused on their assignments and ensure that their job was done before they considered elsewhere on the field.
Terron Ward and Storm Woods took advantage on the day, slicing through holes in the opposing scout team defensive line and really spreading the field with their legs. Woods and Ward looked particularly good in evading that ‘first guy.'
The offensive linemen for the most part were overwhelming in opening up big running lanes. Roman Sapolu held his own with the 1's and 2's when he is sandwiched in at RG between Isaac Seumalo and Grant Enger. Beaver TEs caught a lot of passes this past Saturday but blocking was also a strong suit of the tight end unit on Wednesday, and GA Kyle DeVan praised his charges for playing fast in keeping up with their blocks until the play was finished.
Receivers Cooks and Richard Mullaney may possess the best hands on the team and they continue to reinforce that notion in practice. Obum Gwacham was 50/50 on Wednesday, showing soft hands on occasion. However, the junior wideout did struggle to reel in some of the other throws from Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz.