Fall Camp Day 3: Beaver D not messing around

CORVALLIS – Oregon State completed their third fall practice Wednesday and though they have yet to start tackling, the Beavers are finally trending toward it. Today there was a heavy emphasis on 7 vs. 7 skeletons, and 11 vs. 11 full team plays. If it was a contest between who looked better between the offense and the defense, from my chair I’d say the defense probably wins it in a split decision.

A few Beavers didn't practice today. Oregon State was missing redshirt freshman cornerback Dashon Hunt, who was out with a sore hamstring, and senior tight end Connor Hamlett whose foot was bothering him.

Hamlett will be getting X-rays in the near future, and Hunt was walking around practice in sandals and had only a small limp.

Regardless, practice moved on in full swing, and once again, the special teams unit was on the field first. The kickoff return group consisted of freshman receivers Xavier Hawkins, Rahmel Dockery, and Gabe Ovgard.

In the four returns that I saw, all three players had similar production. Hawkins, Dockery, and Ovgard all reached about the 20 yard-line before a defender could make a tackle.

Hawkins also had a second return attempt, but he was extremely well covered and only able to return it back to the 10-yard line.

Senior kicker Trevor Romaine and redshirt freshman Garrett Owens took turns performing the kickoffs. Romaine sent the ball to or past the goal line, while Owens’ landed about five and 10 yards shorter than that.

The kickers stayed on to practice two extra points each, as well as a 25-yarder from the right hash marks and a 30-yarder from the left hash marks.

Romaine was perfect on his field goals, but for the second consecutive day, he missed one of his extra point attempts left.

Owens, on the other hand, made all of his kicks. To wrap up the special teams period, the Beavers went through a few punts.

On three occasions they actually performed the return. Victor Bolden, Terron Ward, and Brandon Arnold all got a crack at running one back.

However, all three returns would have been fair catches had they happened in a game situation, so none of the returners could really do much. Arnold ended up muffing the punt.

The teams then broke off into positional drills like they have in previous days. The quarterbacks did pocket awareness drills, mechanics drills, and drills where they had to make throws on the run.

The entire defense went through their drill circuit.

One station had them do this sort of diving, spinning, torpedo tackle on a dummy. Of everyone I saw do the drill, I think I’d least want to get hit by D.J. Alexander, whose momentum took his legs over his head and he ended up somersaulting onto his back. I don’t know if that’s good form or not, but it looked painful for the dummy.

Another station had the defensive players work on leverage and hand placement, while the final station involved blocking sleds.

The practice started to get very interesting when the offense and the defense combined for seven-on-seven skeleton drills. Every player who wasn’t a lineman got on the field to go through plays at full speed, minus the tackling, of course.

Sean Mannion looked good leading the first unit. He found the open man and hit him with a strong pass for the most part. However, on his sixth pass attempt, he overthrew his intended receiver, and just before the ball hit the ground, safety Tyrequek Zimmerman dove in to make a spectacular interception.

The first unit offense and defense got to practice three plays per set, the second unit had two plays per set, and the third unit got one play per set before letting the first unit take the field again.

On the first team was Mannion, Richard Mullaney, Victor Bolden, Caleb Smith, and the slot receiver was Malik Gilmore at times, with Hunter Jarmon also getting a few reps in with the first team.

The running back was Storm Woods at times, with Chris Brown also getting some snaps with the first unit. Tyler Anderson was the fullback. In the skeletons, Mannion ended up going 7-for-10 with the one interception.

Luke Del Rio was the quarterback of the second team, and he was 4-for-6. He overthrew Hunter Jarmon once, and his second incompletion was caused by Naji Patrick who had made a great play on the ball.

Patrick filled in for Dashon Hunt as one of the second-team cornerbacks.

Finally, Brent Vanderveen was a perfect 3-for-3 in this drill, although none of his attempts were particularly long.

Victor Bolden was every quarterback’s favorite target.

He caught seven of the eight or nine balls thrown his way, and was unable to catch one because cornerback Steven Nelson prevented him from getting out of his break cleanly.

When that was over, there was a brief intermission for both teams to get some coaching and when the offense and the defense returned to play each other, they were joined by the offensive and defensive linemen.

And the defense didn’t mess around.

Mannion and the first unit, then Del Rio and the second unit, each switched off after playing three downs each.

Highlighting the defense’s performance was a play made by Rommel Mageo. The linebacker broke through the line for what would have been a loss of several yards on a simple run play.

On another occasion, Jabral Johnson was in Mannion’s face before he could get rid of the ball, which would have been a sack for sure.

There were two more occasions when the defense supplied heavy pressure on the quarterback, although it’s hard to say if they would have been sacks or not.

There were also a few pass break ups. One was by Malcolm Marable who covered Mullaney on a deep route, and another was when Mannion threw into triple coverage.

Highlighting the offense’s performance was a 40-yard hookup from Mannion to Jarmon. Later, Del Rio would also complete a pass to Jarmon, this time for about 20 yards.

There were also quite a few run plays -- and there weren’t a lot of holes for Storm Woods, Terron Ward, and Chris Brown.

The defense looks better at this early stage, but that might be expected. This is an old defense that features eight seniors and three juniors, while at wide receiver, all the old crows have graduated and the o-line is thin.

Not only is Brandin Cooks gone (who left after his junior year), but so are Kevin Cummings, Micah Hatfield, and Mitch Singler -- all senior receivers last year. Thus, the remaining receivers have a lot of growing up to do. Plus, the offense as a general rule of thumb takes longer to find their rhythm in camp than does a defense.

Running with the 1's today
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods (Chris Brown and Terron Ward also got reps)
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Caleb Smith (filling in for Connor Hamlett)
TE – Kellen Clute
LT- Dustin Stanton
LG- Sean Harlow
C- Josh Mitchell
RG- Grant Bays
RT- Gavin Andrews
FL –Victor Bolden
SE – Richard Mullaney
SB – Malik Gilmore (Hunter Jarmon also got reps)

DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – Jalen Grimble
DT – Siale Hautau
DE –Jaswha James
WIL –D J Alexander
MIK – Jabral Johnson
SAM – Michael Doctor
CB- Larry Scott
CB- Steven Nelson
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy

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