SPRING: What we've learned - Week 2

AT THE CONCLUSION of Week 2, a number of items began to come into sharper focus. Markus Wheaton performed well in Friday's scrimmage, the offensive line struggled and the injuries continued to pile up. Also, many in the Beaver Nation have long felt Gabe Miller was going to be a homegrown, impact player in the Pac-10. BF.C believes this will be the year they see their faith rewarded.

SPRING REPORTS: Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Photos 1 | Photos 2 | Gwacham interview

 

QUIZZ BIGGER? FASTER? YOU BET! “His numbers went way up in the weight room," head coach Mike Riley said. "I think he’s ready to go right now. He looks sharp, quick and strong.” Expect Quizz to touch the ball 30-40 times a game this year.

MARKUS WHEATON IS STARTING TO SEPARATE. With Darrell Catchings missing two practices due to pinkeye Wheaton has received more snaps and has appeared to take control of split end. He nailed two important routes that had Riley raving Friday. “Near the end of scrimmage he ran that big in-route," Riley said. “That was a good sign. That’s a big play in our offense. And he caught a corner route. If a guy can do well with those two routes he can split end for us.”

WALK ONS ARE A BIG PART OF THE PROGRAM. Senior receiver Aaron Nichols became the latest walk on to earn a scholarship. He is listed behind Jordan Bishop on the depth chart at split end.

INJURIES KEEP PILING UP. Add S Lance Mitchell (hamstring), TE Colby Prince (hamstring) and LB Kevin Unga (hip-flexor) to the injury list. Mitchell returned Friday, but Prince and Unga missed both Wednesday and Friday's drills.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE NEEDS WORK. The offensive tackles, even veteran Mike Remmers, struggled mightily to keep defensive ends Gabe Miller, Taylor Henry and others out of the backfield during Friday's scrimmage. Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh was not pleased.

LOOK OUT FOR CODY VAZ. It is pretty much status quo between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich for the starting spot (Katz is still the man to beat) - both struggled in week two, but watch out for Vaz. The Californian looks comfortable in the pocket, is running the offense efficiently and may work his way into a backup role.

THE SECONDARY HAS IMPRESSED RILEY. Especially their speed. S Dax Dilbeck pilfered passes in two of three practice sessions while S Josh LaGrone snagged his first interception of the spring. CB Brandon Hardin manhandled James Rodgers on the line of scrimmage one day while S Suaesi Tuimaunei delivered some monster hits.

QUIZZ STILL NEEDS WORK TO DO. Believe it or not the 2010 Heisman Trophy candidate still has plenty of work to do, according to running backs coach Reggie Davis. “He needs to see some things before the snap that will make him faster when the ball is snapped and he can anticipate some things,” Davis told the Gazette Times.

RYAN MCCANTS IS SHOWING SOME LIFE. The big running back says he is in the best shape of his life and his knee feels great. He ran with power in week two. The things he needs to work on to move up the depth chart include ball security, receiving and pass protection.

GABE MILLER LOOKS READY FOR A BREAKOUT YEAR. The Lake Oswego native whose career has been marked by long-term injuries -- tearing an Achilles tendon twice tends to do that -- has been vritually unblockable this spring, displaying a nasty first step off of the edge. "Gabe is going to get it," Riley said. "He is one of our most explosive players."


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