Cornerback Dwayne Williams and receiver Xavier Hawkins are two freshman who will, in all likelihood, not use a redshirt year.
Williams, the corner I tabbed my early camp MVP yesterday, has been outstanding thus far in camp, while Hawkins has had his moments and is absolutely a tremendous athlete.
“Hawkins is very talented and fast,” said Riley. “He appears to be unfazed by having just a heap of stuff thrown on top of him. He’s taking way more turns than anybody else and he’s just hanging in there like crazy. I really like him.”
Riley would go on to say that he envisions Hawkins on fly sweeps and as a deep threat. However, his game still needs to mature, because receivers coach Brent Brennan noted that while Hawkins looked pretty good today, he had several mistakes yesterday.
“Those ups and downs with freshmen will absolutely drive you nuts,” Brennan said. “We’re just trying to get them to be consistent.”
Probably 20 minutes into practice, overcast skies and chilly air morphed into thunder, lightning, and a bit of rain. Shortly thereafter, practice was moved from the two side-by-side Prothro practice fields to the one field that is inside the Truax center.
This happens often during the season, when November weather isn’t as bright and sunny as they are in August. Nonetheless, it still gets crowded inside Truax.
Indoors, the practice trudged along like normal. The special teams unit had their time first. Trevor Romaine was good on his extra points, although he missed one or two field goal attempts wide left. Garrett Owens only attempted extra points, but he was 3-for-3.
Ryan Nall took most of the reps as the primary kickoff returner, which is new. Also in that return group is Storm Woods, Malcolm Marable, Dwayne Williams, and Chris Brown.
Terron Ward, Steven Nelson, Xavier Hawkins, and Brandon Arnold comprised the punt returners. Ward and Nelson had the most reps today.
The blocking on the returns is much improved since the beginning of camp. Although these drills aren’t full speed yet, the blocking on punt and kickoff returns looks like one cohesive unit as opposed to 10 individual blockers all over the field.
In the skelly and team drills, the quarterbacks were a mixed bag. Sean Mannion was solid, completing 14-of-21 throws with most of those being quick, short, West-Coast offense throws.
Luke Del Rio was 5-of-14 with an interception and looked pretty off compared with his performances in other days.
Brent Vanderveen was 4-of-9 with an interception, but he peppered in a few good plays.
One came in the skelly drill, where he threw a perfectly placed ball to Terron Ward, who made an over-the-shoulder catch while perfectly in stride. Vanderveen also delivered a nice pass to Hawkins who was being covered by Williams.
However, the defense was dominant again. The defensive line was in the backfield for what felt like a majority of the plays. Most of that pressure continues to come from defensive tackle Jalen Grimble, who probably had two “sacks.”
In the full team, live-tackling drill, defensive end Jaswha James and safety Ryan Murphy both had solid tackling. James came through the line, wrapped up a running back’s leg and dragged him down for a two- or three-yard loss.
Murphy had a few big hits, one recipient was Connor Hamlett after he’d just made a catch, and another recipient was Storm Woods, who had just run for four yards.
As for the interceptions, freshman safety Adam Soesman was in the right place to pick off a questionable Del Rio pass, and redshirt freshman linebacker Manase Hungalu made a nice play to pick off Vanderveen.
One of the most impressive highlights came from Williams. Listed at 5-foot-9 and 168 pounds, Williams was covering Jordan Villamin, listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds. Del Rio tried to test this size mismatch by throwing a deep lob to Villamin, but Williams matched him stride-for-stride and swatted the ball away like it was nothing.
Also with deflections were Jabral Johnson who had two, along with safety Zack Robinson who had one for the second straight day.
I’ve been listing the non-participating players as injured, although a better word would be nicked. None of the guys, with the exception of Isaac Seumalo, are sitting out of practice with serious injuries. No one is in danger of missing the first game save for the Beav center, and most everyone is day-to-day.
That said, missing in practice today was Seumalo, Victor Bolden, Richard Mullaney, Rahmel Dockery, Kendall Hill, Jaylynn Bailey, and D.J. Alexander.
Coach Brennan said that he isn’t concerned with Mullaney and Bolden missing time, although he wished he could see more from Rahmel Dockery, who suffered a concussion that has sidelined him for several days.
“Rahmel got hurt, he had a concussion, and he’s missed four or five days. I don’t even know how he fits into the equation, which is disappointing, because he showed some promising signs early,” said Brennan.
Running back Damien Haskins practiced fully, as did tight ends Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith.
Haskins, at 5-foot-8 and 232 pounds, is big. Riley said that Haskins has unique size that the Beavers haven’t had at the position since some guy named Steven Jackson.
Haskins was added to the platoon of running backs that got reps with the first team.
Running with the 1’s
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods / Chris Brown / Terron Ward / Damien Haskins
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Ricky Ortiz
TE – Connor Hamlett / Caleb Smith / Kellen Clute / Jacob Wark
LT – Gavin Andrews
LG – Garret Weinreich (Sean Harlow also got reps)
C – Grant Bays (Josh Mitchell also got reps)
RG – Sean Harlow
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
OSU Fall Camp Day 8: Early playing time
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