OSU Day 7: Beaver D flexes its muscles

CORVALLIS - It’s the start of Week 2 at Oregon State’s fall camp. And it was a little crazy - wide receivers were tackling things and defensive tackles were practicing interception returns. Meanwhile, in the team and skelly drills, the defense continued to impress. I also have an early pick for fall ball MVP, and he's a youngster ...

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Brent Vanderveen went 0-for-3, Luke Del Rio went 3-for-10, and Sean Mannion went 9-for-19 with an interception in skelly.

The injury list looked like this today: Isaac Seumalo (foot), Dashon Hunt (hamstring), Victor Bolden (hamstring), Richard Mullaney (hip), D.J. Alexander (hamstring), Rahmel Dockery (head), and Siale Hautau was out as well. Caleb Smith and Damien Haskins were limited participants.

Alexander said he hopes to be back this week.

It was hot out on the practice field this morning. I don’t have an official thermometer but it was probably in the high 80’s or low 90’s with quite a bit of humidity for Corvallis. Water breaks were mandatory today.

That, combined with the first practice back from a day off, and the players looked sloppy at times. The number of incompletions today during team drills was probably the highest it’s been in camp so far, and it definitely had the feel of a Monday.

Also strange was that the offense and the defense switched circuit drills. The receivers tried their hand at tackling and moving linemen backwards, while the defensive ends ran a few interceptions back.

Defensive end Obum Gwacham was particularly impressive in that drill. Maybe he has a future at wide receiver?

It was fun to watch Jalen Grimble run one back, too. I feel bad for whatever receiver has to drag the d-tackle down if he ever picks one off. From what I saw of the receivers in the tackling drill, that might be a problem (I’m looking 'atcha, Xavier Hawkins!)

In another drill, the offensive line, a tight end or two, a running back, and Del Rio or Kyle Kempt would line up against the defensive line, the linebackers, and two safeties.

The goal of the drill, for the offense, is to open up lanes for the running back. The goal of the drill, for the defense, is to diagnose plays and fill gaps. Judging by the number of disgruntled players, the number of swear words, and the number of coaches that were yelling, I’m pretty sure this drill could have gone better for both sides.

There were times when the offense looked good, creating holes for the running back and keeping defenders from making plays. Then there were times when the defense looked good, getting jumps off the line and closing holes in a hurry. Neither side looked wholly better than the other, which is probably what you’d like to see in camp.

In the team drills, cornerback Dwayne Williams is my early leader for training camp MVP.

The true freshman has been practicing with the 2’s, but he already has a reputation for making big plays. When Sean Mannion tested him near the end of practice, Williams swooped in front of the intended target and made an outstanding diving deflection, prompting defensive back coach Rod Perry to yell, “great play, young buck” or something similar.

Also with deflections were cornerbacks Steven Nelson, Naji Patrick, and Larry Scott, as well as safety Justin Strong.

Up front, Jalen Grimble broke through the offensive line to tackle a running back for a several yard loss. Defensive tackle Bud Delva likely had a sack (if they were allowed to tackle quarterbacks), Dylan Wynn might have had one, and Obum Gwacham might have had one, too.

Alexander said he knew last year that Grimble would be a great player.

“Oh yeah, I knew Jalen was going to be great from last year, watching him on the scout team and hearing stuff from offensive linemen and stuff like that. It’s going to be fun to see him play.”

Linebacker Rommel Mageo, who’s filling in for D J Alexander as he nurses his hamstring back to health, had the lone interception of the day. It came in the skeleton drill when Mannion had read through his progressions and was looking to dump it off. Mageo read it and made a fairly easy play to make the interception.

The quarterbacks didn’t look particularly different today, their throws were not bad, the ball was hitting the receivers’ hands on most every play, but the wideouts just weren’t coming down with the football.

And there were some highlights. Blair Cavanaugh had a pretty good over-the-shoulder grab with Tyrequek Zimmerman in coverage.

Mannion had another nice play avoiding pressure where he rolled away from the defense and made a very nice throw on the run to Kellen Clute 20-yards downfield.

But there were clearly more good plays for the defense than the offense today, although Mannion was not critical of his receivers or of himself after practice.

“It felt good, I thought we executed well, I thought the offense did good - especially later in the practice. I thought we really stepped up,” said Mannion.

He also shared his thoughts on the receiving group.

“Victor Bolden is really, really fast. He’s very good after the catch, very shifty. He’s been developing more and more of a receiver - I’ve said that a few times, but he’s no longer just a fast guy, he’s a good route runner, he’s good at catching the ball, that kind of stuff. Richard Mullaney is kind of Mr. Reliable for us. Great hands, good routes, he’s a very steady player for us at that position,” said Mannion.

We’ll have to see what the offense looks like when those two receivers are healthy again.

Running with the 1’s
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods / Chris Brown / Terron Ward
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Kellen Clute
TE – Connor Hamlett
LT – Gavin Andrews
LG – Garret Weinreich (Sean Harlow also got reps)
C – Grant Bays
RG – Sean Harlow (Josh Mitchell also got reps)
RT – Dustin Stanton
FL –Xavier Hawkins (Malik Gilmore and Hunter Jarmon also had reps)
SE – Malik Gilmore (Jordan Villamin also got reps)
SB – Hunter Jarmon

DE – Dylan Wynn (Obum Gwacham also got reps)
DT – Jalen Grimble
DT – Bud Delva
DE – Jaswha James
WIL –Rommel Mageo
MIK – Jabral Johnson
SAM – Michael Doctor
CB - Larry Scott
CB - Steven Nelson (Malcolm Marable also got reps)
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy

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