Beavs contact level this spring an eye opener

OREGON STATE MADE it a point in their release to note the spring game will be four quarters and a "hard-hitting" format. That the Beavers had a major philosophical shift under Gary Andersen when it came to spring contact was already apparent in the first practices of spring, and particularly in the scrimmage that took place before a two-week break.

Quarterbacks don't get hit in practice. It's a truism throughout football.

Except at Oregon State this spring.

During the sixth practice of the spring, and the first scrimmage, freshman QB Seth Collins wasn't wearing a yellow jersey or anything else that might signify he was off-limits when it comes to contact. He simply wore an orange jersey, just like any other player on offense.

Twice Collins ran for touchdowns, banging into defenders along the way, the last one a leap where he got "helicoptered" on his way down to the ground.

All of the quarterbacks were fair game in the scrimmage, something you almost never see. Under former coach Mike Riley, there was very little full contact at all, and certainly zero when it came to quarterbacks.

Riley in recent years even went through an entire fall camp without a scrimmage, such were his concerns over the lack of depth at various positions.

Gary Andersen clearly attaches more import to getting the Beavs battle tested this spring.

It's a different game when you're not tackling to the ground - you can simulate all you want but it's not the same as when teams go live.

Oregon State started slowly out of the gate under Riley many a time, and there's an argument that much of it had to do with the lack of preseason contact. It's hard to fault him too much, he was trying to limit injuries. But OSU seemed to take a few games to get into the flow of things, particularly on defense, and some wondered whether the non-contact approach was hurting more than it helped.

If injuries begin to pile up, Andersen may rethink the level of contact as the spring goes along but for now, everything looks full steam ahead. And one thing seems certain.

Whether Collins, sophomore Luke Del Rio or redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell ultimately wins the starting QB job, they'll have taken a few shots along the way.


  • With the QB battle down to three, Brent Vanderveen and Tanner Sanders have moved to tight end.
  • Spring practice resumes Tuesday, March 31.

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