BeaverBytes from the First Spring Scrimmage

Today was the first official scrimmage of the Beaver Football team's month-long spring practice sessions. Derek Anderson impressed, as did the defense.

  • It was a cloudy day, with a little bit of wind when the scrimmage got under way. But by about 11:00, the rain had started. It wasn't coming down too hard, though.

  • There has been improvement in the down-field blocking by the OSU receivers. That is definitely a key for the running game to do well. Looking back to the 2000 Fiesta Bowl season, it is extremely apparent that Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmanzadeh, and Robert Prescott were outstanding run blockers. They allowed Ken Simonton to get quite a few mid-range runs (20 to 30 yards). That was one aspect that was missing in last year's rush attack. That should be a stronger point next season. Kenny Farley, a junior WR, and Travis Brown, a redshirt freshman WR, made great blocks on running plays.

  • Junior Safety Shamon Jamerson was in street clothes today after being injured Thursday. He was not on crutches, and he is expected to be fine by Fall practice. It's uncertain whether he will return this spring.

  • Sophomore QB Derek Anderson, has distanced himself from the competition at the quarterback spot this week. He has shaken off the rust and has improved almost every practice. Shayne House,a junior QB, took snaps with the third team offense today and threw on the side with sophomore QB Ryan Kanekeberg. Sophomore QB Adam Rothenfluh will probably be the backup to Anderson. He led the second team offense today. Rothenfluh does not have the arm strength of Anderson, but he is fairly accurate and does not make many mistakes. He should be an adaquate backup. Although, I feel for House. He is a great talent, but his shoulder is clearly not at full strength.

  • Senior WR Seth Trimmer was back participating in drills today. He made a nice catch down the sideline and took a hit, but was fine.

  • The screen pass was back in the scrimmage today. It's nice to see the offense running it. They ran it a few times last year, but I don't know if there was a HB screen at any time during 2000. The screen pass takes great timing. It's important that the lineman sell the play, so it's good to see them working on it.

  • Junior Safety, Brandon Catanese, a transfer from Shasta JC, was back in practice today after a hand injury Thursday. He is laying the hits on the offense. Catanese is competing with another transfer, junior Lawrence Turner, for the number one safety position. Turner has seen most of the time on the first team thus far, but Catanese got his turn on the first team today. Although both will see a significant challenge for the position this fall from Harvey Whiten, transfer from Compton City College, and Calvin Carlyle, a veteran with two full seasons of starting experience who is returning from a medical redshirt season.

  • There were some big hits from linebackers today during the scrimmage. Senior Nick Barnett was all over the place today with his pursuit. He takes the running back's ability to turn the corner away with his incredible speed. Redshirt freshman Trent Bray, junior Jason Jacobs, and redshirt freshman Chaz Scott all made great hits this morning. Erik Tuma is showing he can handle this starting role, filling the graduated James Allen's vacated position.

  • Junior defensive end Noah Happe appeared to hurt his hip in practice today. He sat out a few series, but played a bit near the end. He should be fine.

  • At the beginning of the scrimmage, the offense seemed to have the advantage. The first team offense scored a TD on its first drive on about a 10-yard pass from Anderson to junior James Newson. But after that, it was all defense. The offensive line needs some work. Although, it should be noted that they are going up against an extremely tough defensive line. They had better than average pass protection, but the running game was not established very well. Senior Eric Manning and Junior Dwan Edwards do a great job of clogging things up in the middle. The encouraging thing about sophomore RB Steven Jackson is that he never just goes down in the backfield. He gets hit, but he fights and it usually takes a few guys to get him down.

  • And along those lines, the defense was making gang tackles today. On almost every play, it was difficult to see who made the tackle because so many guys were in on the play. That translates into good things for next year.

  • Former Beaver and current San Fransisco 49ers kicker Jose Cortez was at practice today and kicked with senior Ryan Cesca after practice in the Merrit Truax Indoor Practice Facility. He was giving Cesca some hints and tips.

  • Dennis Erickson put the pressure on Cesca late in practice, by saying, "Wait. Wait. I've got a scenario. Miss this, and everyone runs their [butts] off," as Cesca was getting lined up to kick. Cesca came through, though, and saved his team from running.

  • The Beaver offense consistenly was running a set with five receivers. So far, the offense hasn't been able to hurt the defense too much with that set. More times than not, it ends up with a sack. The QB must make a quick read and quickly find the open receiver. That will come with experience, which is lacked at this time.

  • Junior defensive end Jayson Jean-Baptiste made some nice plays today. He filled in for Happe, when he hurt his hip.

  • Anderson showed his mobility again today by getting out and running a few times. He isn't too frantic, which can hurt QBs when they get out of the pocket too quickly (A.K.A. Randall Cunningham of the late 1980s disease). He stays in the pocket until he is forced to leave.

  • Redshirt freshman QB Matt Dickinson hasn't taken snaps since the first week in practice. He and Kanekeberg were playing catch on the sideline for much of the day.

  • Henry Anderson, a redshirt freshman DT made a great block on an Mitch Meeuwsen's interception return.

  • Senior TE Jermaine Jackson made a great catch over the middle on a long pass from Anderson. Catenese put a good hit on him, but he managed to hang on.

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