OSU Fall Camp Day 5: Beavs go full pads

CORVALLIS - Day 5 here at the Beavers’ fall camp and the team is finally wearing pants. They’ve ditched the shorts in exchange for full pads, and there were even a few tackles today. Also exciting was the epic water balloon fight at the end of practice. But in light of this, two more players went down with injuries; both Victor Bolden and DJ Alexander suffered hamstring injuries.

In the first day the NCAA allows tackling, Victor Bolden and D.J. Alexander sustained non-contact injuries. Bolden caught a pass in a skeleton drill and tried to bust it for extra yards, but he pulled up limping and grabbing at the back of his thigh, typical of hamstring injuries.

Although I didn’t see what happened with Alexander, he too was grabbing at the back of his thigh. Each player was done for the day after they sustained their injuries, and each player had ice on their legs shortly afterward.

Also sitting out were Isaac Seumalo, Dashon Hunt, Connor Hamlett, and freshman walk on offensive lineman Mason Johnson.

In today’s practice, the special teams unit took the field first and went through a few kickoffs and even a few trick plays, but I won’t get explicit on what they did. The kickoff return group included Xavier Hawkins, Gabe Ovgard, Rahmel Dockery, and Drew Kell.

These kickoff drills don’t include tackling, which is probably smart. Every coach I’ve talked with seems to stress the importance of keeping players healthy, so this is likely a good call.

Even without the tackling, I like the way Ovgard, a walk on, practices. He may not be the biggest or the fastest receiver, but he runs hard and it looks like he listens to the coaches well. I have yet to see him take a rep off.

The team moved on to practice field goals, where Trevor Romaine took the majority of the kicks. He made six or seven in a row, but then he missed one to the left.

Also, I may have jinxed Steven Nelson. I mentioned in yesterday’s report that since he’s been taking most of the punt returns in practice that he may have a stranglehold on that spot when the season starts. Today in practice, during the one punt that the kicking team covered, Nelson dropped the catch.

The punting unit stayed on and did a few punts from just outside of field goal range, where Keith Kostol pinned consecutive punts down around the five-yard line.

When the special teams unit was through, the team split apart for positional drills. The receivers keep spending time on proper blocking form, as only a few guys are getting things right at this stage. Receivers coach Brent Brennan continues to give a lot of instructions on blocking.

When the offense and defense combined for the skeleton drill, backup quarterbacks Luke Del Rio and Brent Vanderveen were both very sharp. Del Rio was a perfect 6-for-6 on his throws and Vanderveen was 3-for-3. Today was a bit different in that the first team offense went against the second team defense and vice versa.

Therefore, Del Rio and Vanderveen were flawless against the starters. They didn’t test the deep ball, but they made smart reads and gained yards on every down.

Mannion had a bit more trouble, going 5-for-9 against backups for the most part. One of his incompletions was a throwaway, one was just out of reach of redshirt freshman receiver Jordan Villamin, another was broken up by redshirt freshman safety Justin Strong, and another was badly dropped by Hunter Jarmon who was wide open 20-yards down field.

Mannion made up for this later.

The offense and the defense split apart to walk through some plays on their own before putting them together in the first, live full team drill of camp.

But before the full team drills started, the offense and the defense huddled up together, presumably to remind everyone that although they can tackle each other, they’re all still teammates.

And then things finally got started.

There was a new energy on the field when they realized they could hit each other, and both sides of the ball looked faster than they had in previous days. Mannion handed off to Woods twice in his first three plays and found Richard Mullaney for a diving catch near the sideline.

When he returned for another set, one play saw Mannion staring at a field of covered receivers. With no one open, Mannion pulled the ball down and decided to take off running.

How often does that happen?

He had a ton of room to work with and probably rattled off a 20-yard run before stopping, and he had a pretty big grin on his face after that one.

All told, Mannion completed several passes of 20-yards or more in addition to positive rushing yards. Storm Woods also got six carries and Terron Ward got one.

In Del Rio’s stint, he completed most of his passes to tight ends Kellen Clute and Caleb Smith, who both look comfortable running routes and catching passes.

However, in one throw intended for Rahmel Dockery, the ball arrived a little late, and freshman cornerback Dwayne Williams jumped out in front of Dockery to make the diving interception.

Upon further review, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was actually just an incompletion.

Del Rio ended up completing 4-of-5 passes, Woods had a carry, Terron Ward had three, and Chris Brown had one.

Vanderveen looked really smooth handing the ball off to Woods, Ward, and Brown. His two pass attempts were also caught.

Don’t take too much stock into who’s taking snaps with the first team and the second or third team when it concerns running backs.

Position coach Chris Brasfield said that at this point, it’s all about getting everyone the same type of experience and making sure they can all handle the running back’s duties. They’ll figure out who gets playing time later.

Regardless, Brasfield had a lot of good things to say about his group.

“Guys are having fun, man. We worked pretty hard this summer, and you can see the results of the nutrition piece that we’ve added and the focus on that. Their bodies have changed and they’re in pretty good shape, pretty focused. It’s been good,” said Brasfield.

Oregon State’s running game was criticized last year, although part of it may have been a lack of opportunity, as Mike Riley admitted to falling in love with the passing attack last year. This year, Riley says he will remain committed to the running game.

“Riley hasn’t lied to me yet,” Brasfield said. “I’ll believe anything he says.”

Running with the 1’s
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 (Malik Gilmore got reps after Bolden got hurt)
SE – Richard Mullaney
SB – Malik Gilmore (Hunter Jarmon also got reps)

DE – Dylan Wynn (Obum Gwacham also got reps)
DT – Jalen Grimble
DT – Siale Hautau (Edwin Delva also got reps)
DE – Jaswha James
WIL – D.J. Alexander (Rommel Mageo took reps when Alexander got hurt)
MIK – Jabral Johnson
SAM – Michael Doctor
CB - Larry Scott
CB - Steven Nelson
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy

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