SPRING BALL DAY 4: Offense opens it up

CORVALLIS--The Beaver offense was spot on during the fourth spring practice, matching a gorgeous Monday afternoon. Jordan Bishop and Stephen Paea continued their torrid spring starts, Joe Halahuni had the play of the day and sophomore RB Jacquizz Rodgers ran a few line to lines, though he's still not expected to do a whole lot this spring. Plus, Mike Riley talked at length on a variety of topics.

Graduating seniors Shane Morales and Slade Norris, and Jeff Kruskamp cruised the sidelines during the practice and helped out in drills.

During one of the full contact sessions, redshirt freshman split end Jordan Bishop burned sophomore corner David Ross for an acrobatic diving catch in between numerous defenders. On a separate occasion, Bishop took a Ryan Katz bullet in traffic for a big gain. He was also the recipient of a Katz deep ball in the latter part of practice.

Mike Riley Quotes
Mike Riley with an update on Jacquizz Rodgers:
"We have gotten a double report on Quizz. Everything we are getting is positive. We will see about doing some stuff with him, like I said, I don't know how much further we are going to go with what we are going to do with him, after we get some basic stuff. I don't know that we are ever going to put him in on offense and defense periods and let him get hit or tackled. But we are making progress with him, and he is doing well."

Riley on defensive lineman Ben Terry:
"Ben Terry is an athletic guy. He played last year, rotated in, did a good job, and now we expect him to take it up to another level. And he has every bit of capability. I don't know if he could be Slade Norris or Victor Butler, but I think so, and he has a long way to go to prove that, but he has the ability to do that and he played well last year."

Mike Riley on tight ends:
"Good solid group of guys at tight end. I really think that they all know how to play, I think there are some guys like Joe Halahuni that will rise into the picture more and more. A lot of ability, got hurt early in his career here and has come on, came back last year and played, so I'm very pleased with that group because of the fact that they're solid."

Mike Riley on the transition from week one to week two:
"I like practice a lot. Overall the work ethic is good, and the excitement is good."

Mike Riley on the Jovan Stevenson:
"I like Jovan. The other day when we got in pads for the first time I was impressed. I think that he has some quick feet, appears to have a good feel for running the ball, splitting the lanes. I was impressed."

Mike Riley on Jordan Bishop:
"Jordan Bishop has a lot of ability. He had a great time last year working against the defense as a scout team player, and now it is up to Jordan to use all of the ability that he has got, which is a lot. And then he will be an athlete, because he can make plays, he is a great target, so I think it is just a matter of learning and getting comfortable with running the pass routes against the coverages."

Mike Riley on the offensive line:
"It is going to be a key factor in the success of our team is the development of the line. We have some guys that are coming back, a great leader in Gregg Peat, a really good starting center in Alex Linnenkohl, a young tackle Mike Remmers, who I think in an outstanding player and will continue to get better, and then after that we have to have guys show up. We have some really good prospects, but they have a lot of growth to do, and we have to make it look more and more like football all the time with those guys."

After a couple of drops early in practice, junior split end Darrell Catchings turned his day around early in the second round of skelly, making three receptions, two of them in traffic, and the other in the back of the end zone.

On the scoring grab, Catchings was able to take a juggled pass, press it against his facemask and make the reception.

In the first session of Skelly, redshirt freshman Ryan Katz looked rather shaky, overthrowing Bishop on a downfield bomb, and senior split end Damola Adeniji on an out route.

Meanwhile, sophomore quarterback Justin Engstrom made an impressive toss to transitioned split back Kevan Walker in the middle of three defenders.

In the second session of Skelly, Catchings couldn't quite secure what would have been an astounding diving grab in the end zone off a Sean Canfield pass.

ON DEFENSE, one of the better plays for the Oregon State stop corps on the day was turned in by Lance Mitchell.

The sophomore safety showed off his ball-hawking skills, picking off a Justin Engstrom pass. Engstrom was victimized again a few plays later, as redshirt freshman safety Josh LaGrone stepped in front of a the ball intended for junior wideout Aaron Nichols.

In offensive and defensive line drills, redshirt freshman Andrew Seumalo, straight out of Corvallis, and the son of OSU defensive line coach Joe Seumalo, used his athleticism and strength, working his way into the backfield on numerous occasions.

On one particular played, the younger Seumalo zipped past the offensive line with ease and dragged down Ryan McCants in the backfield.

Newly transitioned defensive end Gabe Miller also made an impression on the afternoon, showing good quickness into the backfield and exhibited solid lateral quickness out wide.

IN THE FULL contact scrimmage, on the very first play as a matter of fact, the offense went deep with good result. Senior quarterback Sean Canfield dropped back, stepped up, and delivered a deep bomb right on the money to Catchings.

A few plays later, Canfield roped a laser to Catchings in between defenders. Catchings dove for the ball in traffic and pulled in reception.

THE PLAY OF THE DAY came in the second skelly session, courtesy of H-Back Joe Halahuni.

On the Ryan Katz bullet, Halahuni went up for the ball in the back of the end zone, full extension, to make the catch -- lots of oohs and aahs from his teammates after the sophomore made the TD grab.

THE HIT OF the day was the aforementioned stick by Seumalo. As the walk-on breezed by the offensive line, he dragged the hard-nosed McCants to the ground in the backfield before the physical running back could work up any speed.

OVERALL ON MONDAY, the scrimmaging battles were won by the offense on Monday.

On one hand, it's not unexpected with the numerous replacements on the d-line (3-of-4) plus the entire secondary. On the other hand, traditionally in spring ball or fall camp, the defense has the early upper hand as the offense gets the timing down.Thus far, the ones are going against the ones for the most part, twos against twos and so on.

  • The offense moved the ball well on the day and one of the reasons why was the play of McCants, who did a nice job of picking his way through traffic.

  • Defensive tackle Stephen Paea looks to be in midseason form. Every practice thus far, he's won a lot of battles and often drives his man back. The biggest thing he needs is for some of the guys around him on D to start adding to the disruption.

  • The linebackers on Monday continue to look very athletic -- indeed there's no question they're a very athletic group -- but they did not disrupt many plays on offense during the session and their pass coverage was not ultra-tight on the day.

  • The quarterbacks were generally spot on -- there weren't a whole lot of pass break ups. And give props to the receivers, backs and tight ends, the Beaver grabmasters made the QBs look even better by hauling in some tough ones, the most impressive of which was Halahuni's snare.

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