PRACTICE REPORT: Beavs focus on Penn State

IN HIS PRESS conference, Mike Riley emphasized the need for balance on offense against Penn State, with the Beavs attempting an uncharacteristic 54 passes against Stanford in the opener. Balance was certainly the theme for the practice session on Tuesday.

  • Sean Canfield, sidelined much of fall camp and last week as he returns from shoulder surgery, did take part in the offense on Tuesday and was making medium range throws. He still didn't completely cut loose during the session, and his reps were limited, but it was still a good sign to see him get in the thick of things.

  • The offense and defense scrimmaged in short yardage situations and both units played well. The play of the scrimmage was a pass break up by Al Afalava, where he knocked down Shane Morales in the process.

    The Beaver defense really feeds off Afalava's energy, something that was missed in the Stanford game as he sat out the opener.

    The second team offense had a hard time getting things going against the D. The offensive coaches didn't look too happy with the second team offense's performance.

  • The latter half of the session was spent working with the scout teams, and defense had some good energy on Tuesday. The group of Geno Munoz, Kyle Brown and Shawn McGarity were working hard against defensive backs Keenan Lewis, Brandon Hardin and Tim Clark.

    Ryan McCants looked really good out there on Tuesday. McCants, when he runs confidently, is a tough to contain.

  • The coaches were fired up on Tuesday -- anyone who didn't get their assignments 100 percent right was told about it in no uncertain terms straight away. No one was spared.

    Canfield got another handful of snaps in between and seemed to be doing fine.

  • Defense has a lot thrown at them on Tuesday, and they played the run well. Whether it was because the scout team receivers were running a different set of routes it was hard to say but the Beavs' young receivers did find at least a small amount of success on Tuesday. But Al Afalava's presence in the secondary makes a difference in the way the unit approaches both the pass and run.

  • The defense was wrapping up players well over the course of the session.

  • It definitely was a better day for the special teams on Tuesday.

  • Punting, even though it wasn't eye popping, was a step above Monday's performance.

  • The blocking in the return games looked particularly sharp, and the units worked on several different types of scenarios. Communication is a key to any successful turn on special teams and the Beavs on Tuesday did an excellent job of calling out assignments and responsibilities on Tuesday.

  • Special teams coach Dave Ungerer was busy coaching them up, on one occasion telling players who normally don't handle the ball on returns; "Do not try to be a hero. Get both your hands on the ball."

  • The field goal and extra point block teams worked on their technique, though the plays were not being run at full speed and it was mostly instructional.

  • After practice, Riley mentioned again that he didn't have any further news on Simi Kuli. The five star defensive lineman and a player who was expected to immediately challenge for a starting job, missed the whole of Oregon State's fall camp as he works to gain academic clearance.

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