News and Notes from the Spring Game

The 2002 Spring practice session concluded Saturday with the annual Spring Game at Reser Stadium. A crowd of over 10,000 witnessed the black team shut out the white team 23-0.

The black defense was the star. Eric Manning, Richard Seigler, Dennis Weathersby, Brandon Catanese, and Lawrence Turner all played large roles in the domination. Catanese intercepted two passes, one of which he returned 54 yards, shedding would-be tacklers.

Here are some tidbits from the game:

  • Ryan Cesca made both his field goal attempts, hitting a 47 yarder to give the black team an early 3-0 lead.

  • Steven Jackson had some problems hanging onto the ball today. He fumbled twice and could not grab a bad pitch from Adam Rothenfluh.

  • The punting was probably the biggest disappointment of the day. Carl Tobey was really the only punter to get some air under his punts. Ryan Cozetto fumbled a snap and then went on to shank another one that would have been about a 20-yarder until it took a horrible backward bounce that made it a 3-yard kick total. John Millar had the highest average of the three punters, but needs to get more air under the kicks in order to compete against Tobey.

  • Kenny Farley had a great catch on the white team's first drive from Derek Anderson. Farley has improved significantly this spring. He has great size for a slot receiver. And as OrangeAttack pointed out, safeties will have difficulty covering him and bringing him down. Today, he had three catches for 67 yards.

  • The black offensive line looked significantly better than the white offensive line. Rothenfluh and Ryan Kanekeberg had plenty of time to throw. Derek Anderson did not have much time today. Coming into the day, I thought the white offensive line was the better line of the two. And they probably are, but the black defensive line gave the white team fits. Derek Anderson was sacked five times.

  • Anderson showed lots of ability to shed tacklers and make them miss, but the five sacks were a result of him faking out two or three guys and then being brought down by the third or fourth guy.

  • Catenese intercepted two passes, including one that he just ripped away from Farley.

  • Trent Bray had a huge hit today and showed another solid performance. He has shown this spring that with a little experience under his belt, he will be a good Pac-10 linebacker.

  • Cole Clasen played an outstanding game. The battle for the starting slot receiver has not been decided. It will be all out in fall practice between Clasen and Farley.

  • Mitch Meeuwsen had one interception and would have had another except a defensive holding call negated it.

  • Jason Boyd was thrown to a few times today, but the balls from Anderson seemed to be just out of his reach. He did not really get a good chance to make very many plays. Weathersby was matched up on him most of the day and Anderson didn't throw his way too often.

  • About 10 recruits were on the sideline catching the action.

  • Kanekeberg showed today that the backup QB position is still up for grabs. He is extremely mobile and has a great arm. He overthrew a couple of receivers early, but showed confidence and a good presence in the pocket. He was the only of the three QBs to not throw a pick today. He has good arm strength, too, probably more so than Rothenfluh. Kanekeberg looked better today than at any time during spring. It makes me wonder how much farther he would have progressed if he was not playing DB at the beginning of spring practice.

  • Dwight Wright impressed today and probably has a firm hold on the backup running back position. He ran for 88 yards on 9 carries, including a 51-yarder. Riley Jenkins also rushed for 44 yards on 9 carries. Jackson had 73 yards on 18 carries.

  • Anderson's arm strength still amazes me. He threw an incomplete pass from about the 40 yard line into the endzone. It wasn't that part that impressed me, but that the throw was across his body while he was running. It looked almost effortless. The ball was on the money, too. It was just a great defensive play that knocked the ball away.

  • Derek Anderson was about to get hit by defensive end Peter Gregg, but Anderson showed him who was boss by lowering his shoulder and delivering a nice blow.

  • Tight end Dan Haines put in a nice performance today, as he has much of the spring. The Beavers will have lots of depth at tight end in the years to come, with Tim Euhus returning from his knee injury. Joe Newton, the best high school prospect from Oregon this year will be joining the team this fall. He will probably reshirt, because Jermaine Jackson, Haines, Euhus, Pat Loney, and three-year letterwinner Tyler Ross will all be competing for time. As much depth as the Beavers have in many positions, TE could be the deepest.

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