Beavs will go "live" more this fall camp

THE BEAVS DIDN’T scrimmage in fall camp last year to try and prevent more injuries. And OSU under Mike Riley has generally taken a less is more approach in fall camp when it comes to full contact. But after losing twice in three years to FCS squads and slow starts to the season, Riley said Thursday the Beavs plan to go live with "a couple" of 50-play scrimmages this time around.

Mike Riley said the amount of live work done in fall camp was something he and the staff talked about “a lot” this offseason.

In the opener last year against Eastern Washington, the Beavs looked a step slow and not nearly as physical as they did a month or so into the season. Some have hypothesized the lack of hitting played a role in that.

Starting offensive linemen Isaac Seumalo and Grant Bays are both going to be held back at the start of camp, working back in slowly in coming back from injuries, Riley said.

The offensive line is one of Riley’s biggest areas of uncertainty. Asked about left tackle, Riley indicated it’s wide open with junior college transfer Bobby Keenan, redshirt-freshman Will Hopkins and Dustin Stanton all vying for the spot.

Interestingly, Riley said he was also concerned just as much at corner. Junior Larry Scott came on strong in the latter half of the season and Steven Nelson did about as well as anyone could expect in his first year in a Beaver uniform coming out of junior college. The depth, however, may have been the cause for Riley’s concern, with Malcolm Marable, Naji Patrick, Charles Okonkwo and Dashon Hunt all relatively inexperienced.

Riley is excited about d-tackle Jalen Grimble and d-end Dylan Wynn but he also has to replace DE Scott Crichton and solidify his line and rotation. Jaswha James figures to open camp Monday as the favorite to start opposite Wynn at defensive end.

Riley also said wide receiver will need to play out a bit in camp before things become solidified there. Victor Bolden and Richard Mullaney enter camp as seemingly the most solidly entrenched.

Riley said he feels best headed into camp at quarterback, tight end, linebacker and safety. Former Central Catholic star Ryan Nall, the Oregonian’s player of the year in 2013, has a chance to make an impact, Riley said, despite having both Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith as starters.

"I'm very intrigued by Ryan," Riley said. "Physically, I think he's far along and he's very talented. (He plays) a position that was very deep to start with in spring ball (and) is not very deep today, and so as an H-back or a tight end, I think Ryan could do a lot of things."

Riley also mentioned, either in the lineup or on special teams, a number of rookies to watch out for this camp: Offensive linemen Kammy Delp and Drew Clarkson, linebackers Bright Ugwoegbu and Jonathan Willis, , receivers Xavier Hawkins, Datrin Gyuton and Tanner Sanders, defensive linemen Lamone Williams and Glyeb Ewing and cornerbacks Kevin Hays and Dwayne Williams.

"There's a few guys that we'll have our eyes on," Riley said. "…We'll let them all see where they fit in, and by midway through camp, we should have a pretty good picture of what freshmen are gonna play and which ones are gonna redshirt."

Junior college linebacker Kyle Haley has been added to OSU's official roster. Although he’s at a position OSU looks deep at, Riley said he expects him to play this season.

"His abilities fit exactly what we need at that position," Riley said. “…He's got three years to play and he could redshirt, but I anticipate him being a backup linebacker right now and playing on special teams.”

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