A.M. SESSION: Highlights aplenty

CORVALLIS — The morning session provided a glimpse into the future -- both near and distant -- of the OSU secondary. Josh LaGrone is looking up at the safety starters on the depth chart. But the redshirt freshman has some serious upside, and it was in evidence on Saturday morning. Cornerbacks Tim Clark and Patrick Henderson were busy making plays, as were Sean Canfield and a gaggle of others.

With safeties Cameron Collins and Lance Mitchell both sidelined for the morning session, Josh LaGrone was the featured free safety.

He and Suaesi Tuimaunei, the No. 1 on the strong side, started off shaky, getting beat deep a couple times by Marcus Wheaton and Darrell Catchings.

Patrick Henderson had great coverage on the speedster Wheaton during this drill, a good sign for the depth at corner. More on Henderson later.

OREGON STATE MLB David Pa'aluhi was also held out of practice, thus Keaton Kristick moved to the middle 'backer position and Dwight Roberson and Keith Pankey manned each outside 'backer spot.

Corner Tim Clark timed a deep pass perfectly and knocked the ball out of James Rodgers' hands as he was about to haul it in, both players went tumbling to the ground.

PANKEY AND TUIMAUNEI did a very good job of running to the ball on a screen pass to Quizz which, consequently, would have resulted in negative yards had the play been live.

The speed of Pankey was evident, he can really cover some ground.

James Dockery had a tough day in coverage. Receivers broke off their routes and caught the ball with Dockery a half step slow. Like any good corner he was frustrated, although he showed that frustration quite a bit, and he was replaced by Henderson at one point.

Josh LaGrone made up for being beat earlier, breaking up what would have been a for sure reception.

Clark continued to show he's a force at the corner spot, jumping a 15 yard out thrown by Ryan Katz -- had Clark held on he would have walked in for six.

Team 11-on-11
Mitchel Hunt and Brennan Olander provided a great push up the middle to disrupt Sean Canfield -- but Canfield picked the defense apart with continued accuracy.

Tuimaunei again filled well on a James Rodgers run, showing great discipline, and stopped the speedster from getting the corner.

Tuimaunei may be, slowly but surely, putting to rest the concerns of losing the terrific run support of Al Afalava to graduation.

DEFENSIVE ENDS Kevin Frahm and Ben Terry were contained a little better today than they had been earlier, but still made their presence known.

Frahm at one point swatted down a pass intended for the tight end -- to the delight of Mark Banker.

OUT AT CORNER, Brandon Hardin worked with the second team and looked good in coverage.

Hardin locked onto the receiver and ran well, only getting beat deep once on what could have easily been a push-off and offensive pass interference.

AND ALTHOUGH IT wasn't his best day, Dockery finished on a high note, executing his trail technique from earlier drills to perfection.

Indeed, Dockery ran with the receiver deep and turned his head right when the ball was arriving and batted the ball to the grass. A picture perfect defensive play.

Patrick Henderson recorded two interceptions in the session and looked strong this morning.

Goal Line Drill
The ball was placed on the five yard line and the defense was forced to man up.

Linebackers filled well, a good sign if the projected starter at middle linebacker David Pa'aluhi was ever to go down with an injury, (or simply came out for a breather, or Banker wants to build depth through youth-on-Saturday experience.)

TUIMAUNEI SLIPPED INTO coverage after a great Canfield play-fake and closed quickly on Joe Halahuni breaking to the corner of the end zone. And Tuimaunei finished it off, jumping up high and breaking up the pass.

LaGrone continued to impress here. The youngster knocked down what would have been a sure-fire Canfield to tight end touchdown.

Again, the tackles provided a great push up the middle and Quizz was only able to break through once. And with Quizz bottled up, not too big a surprise that the offense only scored three times in the 20 play (or so) goal-line session.

We'll have our third report on the A.M. session up shortly.

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