OSU Day 17: Riley makes RB decisions

CORVALLIS - It’s Day 17 here at the Beavers’ fall camp, where Mike Riley announced how he plans to use his running backs this year. Also, kicker Trevor Romaine remains absent from practice. If Romaine isn’t ready to go for the opener, does Riley have a clear thought in mind on his replacement?

First though, let’s talk running backs. With four or five ‘backs who all look comfortable toting the ball, Mike Riley said he plans to primarily use two running backs, while a third player will be used in special situations.

Riley said that Terron Ward and Storm Woods will each get the lion’s share of the carries, with Damien Haskins being used in short yardage situations.

“Damien has really impressed as a runner,” Riley said, “He’s got a lot of talent as a runner, he’s got power, great feet, pretty darn good speed, he’s a natural runner. Where he has to grow is the rest of the game.”

The odd man out in this platoon is Chris Brown.

“Chris Brown is a really good player, and he is ready to go, he has it all,” Riley said, “He’s right in there, to me, with Storm and Terron, but he doesn’t have the experience, so we don’t really know what he can do.”

Riley said it’s a good problem to have, where there probably aren’t enough carries to keep every deserving back satisfied.

Elsewhere, kicker Trevor Romaine is still absent from the team, and once again it was Ian Crist who took placekicking duties in practice. Crist was a perfect 6-of-6, including three field goals from 32 yards out or more.

If Romaine is unable to go by the season opener, Riley explained that Crist isn’t necessarily the team’s go-to guy. The Beavers’ other kicker, Garrett Owens, hasn’t been getting reps with the team because he’s just been resting his leg the past few days.

Returning to practice today was offensive lineman Dustin Stanton, although he was practicing with the 2’s. Before his minor injury, he was taking reps as the right tackle with the first team, a job that has since belonged to Sean Harlow.

“Basically, Stanton has to show that he’s ready to go,” Riley said, “Then physically, if he’s ready to go then he’ll have that opportunity to be the starter. He got lots of turns, and I’m also very encouraged with where he’s going.”

The Beavers have been phasing out the full team drills where the first team offense faces the first team defense, so it’s hard to get a true read on how the offensive and defensive lines look against each other.

Regardless, the team has been practicing for weeks now, and Riley has had a pretty long look at his defense, and he’s encouraged by what he’s seen.

“The proof will be in the pudding, but the look is good,” Riley said, “I’m very, very fired up about this (defensive) group. I just see the talent, the leadership, the character, and the work they’ve put in, and it’s a great combination. We believe we’re going to get a lot of good play from that group.”

In five plays against the first-team offense led by Sean Mannion, the first-team defense had pressure on two or three of those plays, where one of those instances was because coverage downfield forced Mannion to hold the ball in the pocket longer.

Linebacker Jabral Johnson likely had a “sack,” and another player likely did as well but it was hard to catch his number.

In the skelly and full team drills against the 1’s, Mannion was 6-of-11 with no interceptions, and he was perfect or close to it against the scout team. Throughout the practice, he and receiver Richard Mullaney showed solid chemistry and their timing was on point.

Mullaney caught five passes on five targets from Mannion.

Against the scout defense, Mannion had several deep passes that would’ve gone for touchdowns. He found Victor Bolden behind the defense during a rollout, and on the next play he hooked up with Rahmel Dockery who had also beaten the coverage.

Continuing with the quarterbacks, Brent Vanderveen was 5-of-8, where one of his passes was deflected by linebacker Caleb Saulo. Luke Del Rio was 2-of-4 including a pass that was dropped by Hunter Jarmon.

If not for the drop, Jarmon had a solid practice where he showed he has quick hands and can pluck the ball out of the air with relative ease.

When the first team defense faced the scout team offense, a couple players had interceptions. Steven Nelson ended up intercepting Marcus McMaryion after the ball had been tipped by two or three other players.

Later, linebacker D.J. Alexander intercepted Nick Mitchell after he faced heavy pressure from other defenders.

Also of note during this setup is that defensive tackle Jalen Grimble took a few reps as a defensive end. He didn’t look too fast off the line, so I wonder if this is something that will continue.

Sitting out practice with injuries were Isaac Seumalo, Dashon Hunt, Naji Patrick, Tyler Anderson, Luke Hollingsworth, Kalani Vakameilalo, Devin Chappell, and Brandon Bennett.

Running with the 1’s
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods / Terron Ward
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 (Jalen Grimble also got reps)
DT – Jalen Grimble
DT – Siale Hautau (Bud Delva also got reps)
DE – Jaswha James (Lavonte Barnett also got reps)
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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