SPRING BALL DAY 8: Interceptions aplenty

CORVALLIS--The Beavs are now officially more than halfway through spring drills. Coming in, there were plenty of holes needing to be filled with the departure of numerous senior starters -- especially in the secondary. Cornerback Tim Clark and safety Suaesi Tuimaunei have each made a growing impact over the first half. And it was in evidence again on Wednesday. As was the play of Cameron Collins.

The Beavers' defense was rather dominant today in drills, especially in the first skelly.

Tim Clark, who has become one of the more vocal leaders on the stop corps, on the afternoon had multiple pass break-ups plays, and joked around afterwards that the defense has been on fire.

Clark is one of four seniors expected to start on the defensive side of the ball when the season kicks off if the pre spring depth chart holds true -- along with LB Keaton Kristick, DE Ben Terry and CB Patrick Henderson.

There were several plays and players that stood out today, particularly in the secondary and in the linebacking corps.

Senior linebacker and Lott Trophy watch list member Keaton Kristick was all over the field, disrupting a slew of plays and showing good pass coverage -- something that will undoubtedly aid a young secondary replacing all four starters from last season.

Aside from the two senior corners in Clark and Henderson, plus junior James Dockery, it will be up to the group of junior Suaesi Tuimaunei and sophomores Lance Mitchell and Cameron Collins to replace the departed Al Afalava and Greg Laybourn at safety, fan favorites and key centerpieces to last year's success.

Collins was in on a few plays this afternoon, including one where he tipped a would-be Howard Croom reception into the hands of defensive teammate Tony Wilson for an interception.

Collins also showed good coverage skills in the open field, locking down redshirt freshman Jordan Bishop and in the process, allowing defensive teammate Brian Watkins to intercept a Ryan Katz pass.

Mitchell, a 6 foot 2 inch ball-hawking type, was also in on several plays, including stepping in front of a Sean Canfield pass that was intended for Bishop and intercepting the ball.

At linebacker, weakside 'backer Keith Pankey intercepted a pass during the red ball drill.

Pankey also displayed good pass coverage on a pass intended for Aaron Nichols, which fell incomplete. Middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi was also a beast, getting into the backfield quickly on more than a few occasions.

On one particular play, Pankey teamed up with Tuimaunei to sandwich senior wideout Darrell Catchings and jar the ball loose.

On the defensive line, junior d-tackle Stephen Paea attracted double teams on a few occasions -- something he's likely to see this season. What will be key is if the rest of the defensive line can capitalize.

Junior DE Gabe Miller rotated in with the first team defense during team scrimmage, and showed good pass rushing speed off the edge.

Miller has looked impressive at times, his athleticism has certainly shown through ever since switching from tight end to defensive end before spring practices began.

On the offensive side of the ball, senior quarterback Sean Canfield continued to run the first team with fairly consistent results, although the defense on balance won the day. Canfield completing passes to a diverse group of receivers. Junior slotback Casey Kjos had an abundance of receptions.

Canfield found Kjos for a touchdown in the red zone drill, and later on, hit senior wideout Damola Adeniji for six.

During the scrimmage portion of the session, Canfield had his passes interrupted by cornerback James Dockery, who has made good progress this spring coming off of a knee injury.

The offensive line seemed to hold their own throughout the scrimmage. Senior Timi Oshinowo rotated in and out with the first unit, possibly due to a chewing he received earlier in the practice from offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh.

Coach Cav is known for demanding 100 percent perfection and if you even slightly don't do everything right in blocking assignments, you're going to hear about it.

On the first team offensive line on Wednesday were sophomore RT Mike Remmers and juniors Gregg Peat at left guard, Ryan Pohl at right guard and C Alex Linnenkohl.

Oshinowo entered the spring on top of the depth chart at one of the tackle spots but didn't have his best day on Wednesday. Colin Kelly is among those vying for time at the tackle spot opposite Remmers.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Contact has been scarce through the first half but Beavers head man Mike Riley says, "We will have some form of scrimmage with officials this Friday."

  • Sophomore cornerback Brandon Hardin is day to day with a quad bruise.

  • Sophomore guard Michael Lamb had no results back on his MRI. He continues to be day-to-day as well.

  • Senior cornerback Patrick Henderson has a sprained ankle and sat out practice on Wednesday.

  • Riley was optimistic that redshirt freshman linebacker Kameron Krebs will return soon from his hamstring injury.


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