OSU Day 16: CB Nelson continues strong play

CORVALLIS – It’s Day 16 here at the Beavers’ fall camp, where the team is beginning to move away from installing the playbook and towards game preparations. Meanwhile, Steven Nelson continues to make his late-surging case for BF.C's training camp MVP.

There were few full team drills where the first team offense faced the first team defense, today.

Instead, the 1’s and 2’s are facing off against the scout team more often.

“We still have the interaction with the Beavers, 1’s against 1’s, which keeps the speed going,” Mike Riley said, “A lot of it is dedicated to stuff we want to start getting ready for the game.”

For the third day in a row, kicker Trevor Romaine was not present in practice. Riley said yesterday that Romaine is dealing with an off-field issue, but he hasn’t explained what that means.

Riley added that he doesn’t know what to expect from Romaine’s situation, or whether or not he’ll be available and ready to go for the team’s season opener.

As such, the Beavs are going forward with what they have, which is a pair of kickers in Garrett Owens and Ian Crist who have both looked pretty reliable.

Crist got the full team reps again today, and he pushed one wide right from 40 yards out or so, and then he attempted a 56-yarder during a field goal return drill. His attempt landed short, but he made his four other kicks.

Regarding the offensive line, the Beavers welcomed back Grant Bays to the field, and he took his reps with the first team at right guard.

The offensive line has been shuffled and reshuffled this week after various players have suffered a variety of different nicks and injuries. Riley said that their return to health is his biggest concern up front.

“Depth is an issue, but getting everyone back and healthy is the number one issue right now,” Riley said, “Dustin Stanton, that was a setback – losing him with the ankle, we’re just glad it wasn’t worse than it was. He was pretty steady at right tackle, but now the last couple days we’ve had to do something else there.”

Sean Harlow, who was slated at left guard once upon a time, took over for Stanton as the right tackle after Stanton got hurt a few days ago.

Harlow had a few mental errors today. He had two or three false starts, and he got beat a few times by a defensive end from the scout team defense.

That scout team defensive end is true freshman Glyeb Ewing, and this isn’t the first time I’ve seen him make plays in camp. However, Ewing is not one of the three or four true freshman who will burn their redshirts this year.

I had made educated guesses on who those players would be, and Riley confirmed my hunch. The true freshmen who will likely play this year are receiver Xavier Hawkins, cornerback Dwayne Williams, and running back Ryan Nall.

Nall and Williams aren’t official yet, but they are on what Riley calls “redshirt alert.”

False starts, as well as neutral zone infractions have been pretty common throughout camp. On plays that involve a hard count, more often than not, someone will commit a penalty. About half the time it’s the offensive line that jumps, and about half the time it’s the defense.

For the second consecutive practice, cornerback Steven Nelson has looked like the best player on the field. In the skelly, on three consecutive Sean Mannion passes, Nelson forced three incompletions exactly like yesterday.

Then in the full team drill, he was covering Victor Bolden when Mannion fired a pass 40 yards downfield. Initially, I thought Nelson was out of position and Bolden would make the completion, but Nelson sprinted back into the play, turned around and high pointed the ball to make the gorgeous interception.

“I’m just trying to be in good position, man, and just make plays when it comes to me,” Nelson said.

In these practices, with the defense not allowed to tackle, some of the biggest hits come from when offensive players deliver stiff arms to defensive players.

A defensive player will casually glide over to the player with the ball to “tackle” them, only to be met with a sizable smack to the face.

Victor Bolden got a shot in on Kevin Hayes, and fullback David Henry got a shot in on Adam Soesman where Soesman’s mouthguard actually flew out and onto the field.

When the 1’s played the 1’s in the full team drills, Mannion had a bit of trouble. He was 3-of-10 with an interception, but 3-of 6 when he didn’t throw Nelson’s way.

Brent Vanderveen was 3-of-5 and one of his passes ended up in the hands of safety Justin Strong, but I’m not calling it an interception because safety Brandon Arnold would have been called for pass interference.

Luke Del Rio was 2-of-3, including a deep pass to Xavier Hawkins after he beat Brandon Arnold and Zack Robinson.

Running with the 1’s
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods / Chris Brown / Damien Haskins
FB – Ricky Ortiz
H-Back – Kellen Clute
TE – Connor Hamlett / Caleb Smith
LT – Gavin Andrews
LG – Garrett Weinreich
C – Josh Mitchell
RG – Grant Bays
RT – Sean Harlow
FL –Victor Bolden (Xavier Hawkins also got reps)
SE – Richard Mullaney (Jordan Villamin also got reps)
SB – Malik Gilmore (Hunter Jarmon also got reps)

DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – Jalen Grimble (Brandon Bennett also got reps)
DT – Siale Hautau (Bud Delva also got reps)
DE – Lavonte Barnett
WIL –Rommel Mageo
MIK – Jabral Johnson
SAM – Michael Doctor
CB - Larry Scott
CB - Steven Nelson
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy

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