EVENING SESSION: Under the lights at Reser

CORVALLIS--An evening session capped the first two-a-day practice event held this fall camp, at Reser Stadium under the lights. And seeing the players in the stadium only served to remind that the season opener -- Aug. 28 at Stanford on ESPN2 -- isn't far off at all. Bryant Cornell and Greg Laybourn shined brightly for the defense, while the Beaver aerial attack made some noise of it's own.

The players were wearing shells after going full contact earlier in the morning. A relatively strong wind blowing in from the North this evening and it affected, among other positions, the punters.

The group produced average results at best during warm ups and the wind was definitely a factor -- and a couple of shanks almost went in to the stands. But they'll also have to get used to real game conditions and the wind doesn't always comply on Saturday afternoons in the fall.

s Once the drills started, however, the punting turned significantly better. Johnny Hekker was the most consistent of the group on Wednesday night. However, the punt of the day definitely belonged to Ryan Allen. It was a rocket, and a thing of beauty.

IN THE KICKING GAME, no such early troubles for Justin Kahut, nor any late ones either for that matter. He's been pretty consistent throughout the fall camp to this point.

Matt Barker launched into the end zone a few kickoffs, although he had the help of a light wind behind him. But he does seem to have a pretty good leg. Accuracy, however, is not his strength right now.

Justin Kahut's last two kick attempts were into a wind -- from 42 and 47 yards -- and he made them both, although with precious little distance to spare because of the breeze in his face.

THE KICK RETURNING pairs in the night session were Jacquizz Rodgers & Chris Johnson, Patrick Henderson & James Dockery, James Rodgers & Tim Clark.

MEANWHILE, THE DEFENSE worked early on their technique in knocking down passes. They were also concentrating on timing their first contact, with the goal to make contact right after the ball touched the receiver's hands.

No huddle drill (first and second team offense) Like the morning session, first team got it all done pretty smoothly. The second team didn't seem to quite have the communication process down as well as their first team counterparts -- a couple plays where there were issues.

11-on-11
The first team was dead solid perfect, completing every single pass. The aerial attack was spread out -- all the receivers each had at least one grab. Conversely, the Justin Engstrom-led second team offense struggled and managed only one completion. In their defense, the second team defense was exceptionally good here. And it was nice to see DT Pernnell Booth return to action.

Skelly (3rd down)
Not a lot of highlight reel plays here. With the focus on one play to make a first down, the coaches were making sure the receivers were running their routes correctly and putting themselves in the proper position to go beyond the first down marker.

Skelly
Ryan McCants made a nifty catch coming out of the backfield for a TD. Tight end Brady Camp snared one pass along the sideline, managed to stay on his feet, used his off arm well and motored on down for another score. It was a nice play by Camp.

11-on-11
James Rodgers gets in on the act and registers a TD to his name. The defense rose up after that play and picked off Lyle Moevao twice -- Greg Laybourn and James Dockery made the interceptions. Laybourn's pick was a result of sheer athleticism while Dockery read the quarterback's eyes and jumped in front of the receiver. Dockery knew he had safety help on the play and it was a well executed move, secure in the knowledge he wasn't the last line of defense on the receiver.

Red zone skelly (first team)
Bryant Cornell looked like he had springs on one play, batting down a pass after rising up really high in air -- the timing of the jump was perfect. The offense struck back with a touchdown to Stroughter. Laybourn followed with a great play where he got his hands between the pass catcher's body and the ball to break up what was probably a certain completion -- Brady Camp must have thought for sure he had a touchdown. In this see-saw drill, the offense struck again again -- with another TD pass to Stroughter.

Red zone skelly (Second team)
One of the few times in the night session that the Engstrom and the second team offense got the better of the defense. Jeremy Francis and Casey Kjos each registered touchdowns. Stroughter was pretty psyched about the Kjos score, and he had every reason to be. It was a nicely thrown ball and even a better catch in the back of the end zone.

11-on-11
It was TDs galore here, with James Rodgers, Ryan McCants, Stroughter and Jacquizz Rodgers all making major contributions on the scoring plays. McCants lowered his shoulder on a run and knocked off line a couple of defenders. Jacquizz bounced, slipped and shimmied across the line of scrimmage on his way to the house. Damola Adeniji also made what is becoming a trademark 'one spectacular play a practice' with a nice one-handed grab in the end zone. Overall a slam dunk session here for the offense.

Play of the day
James Dockery's pick of Moevao. He stayed with the receiver and jumped the route, all with perfect timing. He also knew he had the safety help and it looked to be the proper risk-reward decision.

Summary
The offense looks to be going at a good clip the last three days -- some well communicated and executed plays have been the norm over that stretch. It was nice to see kickers and punters doing relatively well in windy conditions. There was no interview session after the night practice with Mike Riley, so no audio clips and quotes from tonight.

The brightest spots from the defense on Wednesday evening were found in the persons of Bryant Cornell and Greg Laybourn. Laybourn continues to impress with his ability to makes picks and break up plays. He definitely has a good nose for the ball.

It might not always sound like it based on the number of scores in the drills but the defense is doing pretty well the last few days, and since the pads went on. It's almost unfair to assess their progress based on this team's many and varied offensive weapons. But going through that process, playing against guys like Stroughter, along with a host of others, that should also only serve to bring out the best in the defense when the games start to count.


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