SPRING BALL DAY 13: Defense presses the issue

CORVALLIS--Wet conditions inside Reser Stadium on a gloomy Monday afternoon resulted in sloppy performances at times for the Beavs. QB Sean Canfield, however, was on target most of the afternoon, and continues to connect with junior wideout Darrell Catchings. The injury bug continued to bite, defensive end Kevin Frahm was blasting off the edge, Tim Clark turned in the hit of the day and more.

Freshman running back Jovan Stevenson got the bulk of the snaps at the position with the first string offense as sophomore Ryan McCants sat out practice with a knee injury that he suffered during Friday's team scrimmage.

Stevenson took advantage of the situation, showing off his agility, as well as his ability to beat the defender to the corner.

During the "middle drill," Stevenson took a handoff from Canfield, tried to get to the corner, but had to cut back and ran into a group of defenders. The elusive running back took a pretty good lick from linebackers David Pa'aluhi III and Dwight Roberson, but was able to stay on his feet and complete the drill.

The true freshman showed a rather rugged toughness on one other particular play during the team's scrimmage, picking up the blitzing Roberson and knocking the junior linebacker to the turf. If Stevenson doesn't do that, Canfield doesn't have time in the pocket to let the receivers' routes develop.

EARLY ON IN practice, MLB Tony Wilson went down with a knee injury and had to be carted off the field.

The severity won't be known until after Wilson has an MRI on his knee in a few days but a player having to be carted off is never good news.

CANFIELD WAS not quite as razor sharp as he's been at times this spring -- his decision making was perhaps a bit suspect on a few plays this afternoon.

On one pass attempt, he threw into the middle of a group of defenders, clearly overthrowing his attempted target, Jordan Bishop. Fortunately for the offense, the pass was just beyond the outstretched arms of Roberson.

The senior quarterback was also off target to Catchings during the skelly drill, leading the wideout too far, resulting in an interception by sophomore safety Cameron Collins.

Still, Canfield connected on a number of other throws, nailing junior slotback Casey Kjos in the back of the end zone for a touchdown early on in red ball drills. Kjos was able to tip-toe in the back of the end zone while bringing the ball in for the only touchdown of the drill.

Later in practice, Canfield found Catchings deep downfield, and dropped a perfectly thrown pass right into the wideout's hands. Catchings beat senior cornerback Tim Clark downfield for what would have been a touchdown.

ON DEFENSE, the Oregon State pass rush put legitimate pressure on the quarterbacks for a majority of the day -- particularly from sophomore defensive end Kevin Frahm.

Indeed, Frahm pushed his way into the backfield on numerous occasions on Monday. Senior linebacker Keaton Kristick was equally as disruptive, breaking up a couple of Stevenson runs in the backfield and putting continual pressure on Beaver quarterbacks.

OREGON STATE offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, not known as a shrinking violet, was in exceptional form on Monday afternoon, laying into several offensive linemen. Cavanaugh, whom his players like a great deal, is never satisfied -- the line could have a whale of a practice and Cav would still point out the mistakes and more often than not, at high volume.

But OSU has had a very uneven spring session up front this year and Monday was no exception.

Early on in practice, Cavanaugh barked "move your feet" to one of his charges and when he did not do so to Cav's satisfaction, the o-line coach had a few more thoughts to express.

Another hoss also received a ear lashing from Cav after apparently missing a blocking assignment.

THE OFFENSE AND DEFENSE also took part in a goal-line drill this afternoon, with Canfield's squad scoring three touchdowns.

The senior quarterback found Catchings twice in the end zone for scores, and senior wideout Damola Adeniji also found the end zone.

Freshman Ryan Katz was not so fortunate, however, throwing an interception on a rushed pass into the end zone. On the play, the redshirt quarterback rolled out, trying to find a target, then threw the ball into traffic where freshman safety Anthony Watkins picked it off. On the preceding play, Katz overthrew a wide-open Bishop in the end zone after blown coverage by the secondary.

THE HIT OF the day came early on in the "red ball" drills.

Canfield found Catchings across the middle and threw a well placed ball, but Clark was there in a flash to lay into Catchings and jar the ball loose for an incompletion.

Beavers head coach Mike Riley on today's practice:
"I loved today. There was a lot of football. We did everything from goal-line to third down to two-minute drills. We had a smorgasbord of practice and I just loved it. I think that with a lot of the stuff that guys are improving at there is still a lot of things to do, but right to this point it has been very very good."

Riley on injuries:
"I'm getting to the point where it seems like it is one guy a day. I think in general, compared to other teams, I think we are doing ok, but I just hate that. I always have a goal of getting everybody to the Summer and then get everybody to the first game, so it is starting to bother me a little bit."

Riley on McCants' injury:
"He will have an MRI (on his knee) and it will be a couple days.. (Ryan) feels very good about (his knee). He feels better than he did the other day which is a good sign, but we will get him checked."

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