Bennett shines; Riley ready to recruit

CORVALLIS – Mike Riley has talked about d-tackles Siale Hautau and Edwin Delva needing to fill the void with starter John Braun (shoulder) out for the rest of the season – but don't sleep on Brandon Bennett, who had a good Wednesday session. And what's this? Riley ready to hit the recruiting trail? OSU's head man talked plans for the bye weekend, and they involve the River City.

The bye week offers Mike Riley and staff the chance to hit the recruiting track and Riley told the media huddle that he has plans to visit the Sacramento area over the weekend.

He also said coordinators Danny Langsdorf, Mark Banker and Bruce Read will be staying in Corvallis over the weekend to hold down the fort.

The Daily Riley
When asked about the results of the MRI's on both senior guard Grant Enger (shoulder) and junior linebacker D.J. Alexander, Riley had some good news.

"That is all positive, D.J.'s just going to continue to do what he has done here today - get better and better and hopefully be ready to play," Riley said. "Mana Rosa (arm) should be practicing by Monday. Grant Enger is just rehab and get ready to go."

Riley also offered his thoughts on the progress of sophomore tight end Caleb Smith (back spasms).

"I was surprised he didn't do more today," Riley said. "He was pretty good yesterday. I expect him back, I don't see why not."

As far as sophomore linebacker Joel Skotte (concussion) is concerned, Riley said that he will not be allowed to start practicing again until he is symptom free, and this bye week provides the youngster ample opportunity to do just that.

Practice Notes
  • The Beavers started off the day running the 2's and the scout team in two-minute drill scenarios. During this relatively brief timeframe, redshirt freshman quarterback Brent Vanderveen tossed four, count em', four interceptions. It is worth noting however that Vanderveen as the scout team quarterback often has designated areas to throw to, and that from this chair he is light years past where he was during the spring and parts of fall camp, where he struggled quite a bit at times.

  • When the first team offense got to work against the scout defense, one of the first things I noticed was Brandin Cooks setting a great block off the edge. With all the highlight reel catches Cooks has been making both in and out of practice this season, it is often easy to overlook the components of his game that don't end up in a specific statistical category. Cooks can block, and while he is no tight end or lineman, he sure puts up one heck of an effort.

  • Cooks wasn't the only receiver turning a few heads Wednesday. Freshman flanker option Victor Bolden made some tough catches on laser beams from the hand of junior quarterback Sean Mannion, and put on a bit of a show in the pattern. He isn't the caliber of Cooks just yet, but then again that is a very difficult unit of measure for anyone, let alone a freshman.

  • Oregon State receivers had a bit more help from Mannion on Wednesday, as the junior's throws were largely on point and considerably more accurate than what he shelled out during Tuesday's session. The deep balls didn't have too much air on them, the short throws found their mark quickly and efficiently, and solid protection from the O-line allowed Mannion a little more time to make a decision.

  • So much of what I report has to do with who stands out on any given day of practice -- a player's ability to do his job successfully. But the offensive line is not exactly a place where a guy wants to stand out, because that usually means he is doing something wrong. With that in mind, I feel that it is worth noting that freshman tackle Sean Harlow doesn't stand out in practice as much anymore. He seems to have really keyed in on the fundamental components of his position and is looking more and more like a seasoned blocker as the regular season winds down.

  • Brandon Bennett, the sophomore defensive tackle that has seen a surge in the amount of reps he is receiving in practice due to injuries on the inside, saw a healthy portion of the first team reps at d-tackle on Wednesday. Bennett was causing some havoc against the run, frequently squashing the attempts of senior running back Jovan Stevenson to pick up yardage and/or set blocks. The pair were in each other's face for much of practice and Bennett was one of the quickest into the opposing backfield throughout the day.

  • Junior safety Ryan Murphy was ball-hawking early on in practice, notching a few tipped passes and forcing scout team QB, redshirt freshman Kyle Kempt, to consider second and third reads. Murphy also gave redshirt freshman wideout Hunter Jarmon a reality check about halfway through practice. Jarmon reeled in a zinger from Kempt with Murphy in close pursuit -- the junior got a hand in on the ball after Jarmon made the catch and forced a fumble on the play.

  • Freshman linebacker Cyril Noland is rounding into form, and it showed with his ability to quickly close gaps between him and his assignments. Noland is still showing signs of shaking off his former duties as safety -- he has a tendency to provide too much of a cushion from time to time in my view but all things considered, OSU linebacker coach Trent Bray might have someone quite good down the road in Noland.

  • Noland was the backup for junior strong side linebacker Jabral Johnson, who was very aggressive and alert throughout Wednesday's practice. He stuck to his assignment like glue and was a powerful force in preventing runs from getting anything more than a few tough hashes.

  • Rashaad Reynolds was dressed (no pads) yet remained inactive for Wednesdays practice after sitting out Tuesday. When asked about the status of Reynolds moving forward, OSU defensive coordinator Mark Banker implied that Reynolds' break is precautionary and due to a cranky knee that has been troubling the senior all season long.

  • With Reynolds out these last two practices, senior cornerback Sean Martin has gotten an ample amount of reps as a starting corner, where he has performed well. With Martin in, Oregon State when running their nickel package this week has supplemented through the safeties, with Tyrequek Zimmerman and Steven Christian involved in various machinations.

    Running with the 1's
    QB – Sean Mannion
    TB – Storm Woods/Terron Ward
    FB – Tyler Anderson
    H-Back – Connor Hamlett
    TE – Kellen Clute/Caleb Smith
    LT- Michael Philipp
    LG- Josh Andrews
    C- Isaac Seumalo
    RG- Grant Bays
    RT- Gavin Andrews/Sean Harlow
    FL –Brandin Cooks
    SE – Richard Mullaney
    SB – Malik Gilmore/Micah Hatfield

    DE – Dylan Wynn
    DT – Edwin Delva
    DT – Brandon Bennett/Siale Hautau
    DE –Scott Crichton
    WIL –Caleb Saulo/D.J. Alexander (very minimal)
    MIK – Rommel Mageo
    SAM –Jabral Johnson
    CB- Sean Martin
    CB- Steven Nelson
    FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
    SS – Ryan Murphy

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