Day 11: Wheaton a Cheetah-like blur

CORVALLIS--With Mike Riley absent to attend a memorial for the late Al Reser, coordinators Mark Banker and Danny Langsdorf took the reins. Junior safety Cameron Collins had the hit of the day but it wasn't necessarily a good thing, sophomore split end Markus Wheaton did his best Cheetah impression, the o-line rose up and the defensive line struggled for a change, plus more.

Lots of drilling today and it began early. Individual workouts were scattered across the field to start the day, with defensive backs working on footwork, linebackers working on ball-stripping drills, and the offensive line working on their cut blocking technique with the big orange blocking dummies.

In the quarterback/wide receiver drills, one thing was abundantly clear.

Markus Wheaton is not just fast. False. He has wheels never before seen at Oregon State (in this writer's opinion).

On a Ryan Katz pass that looked to be a bit too long, Wheaton whipped it into an upper gear and closed so extremely, it looked downright video game-esque.

Suffice to say not only does he have a bright future with this program, but that future might be now. Listed on the pre-spring depth chart as the either/or No. 1 split end with Darrell Catchings, keep an eye out for Wheaton this season.

THE OFFENSE WENT through about 10-15 minutes worth of package installing after some of the early drills – working on some jumbo sets among other things, and then jumped right into middle drill.

For a few plays, the second string defense was thrown into the fire, facing the first string offense. This did not bode well for sophomore defensive end Andrew Seumalo, who was outgunned by right tackle Mike Remmers, followed by tight end Brady Camp the subsequent play.

With Banker yelling for more tempo from his D, sophomore defensive end Taylor Henry lost his battle with left tackle Wilder McAndrews, who laid a hellacious block. Tailback Jacquizz Rodgers quickly popped through the monster hole.

AS JUNIOR CB James Dockery serenaded the sidelines with Lil Wayne's "Lollipop", the team headed into the first team session of the afternoon.

The first play from scrimmage resulted in a botched blocking assignment from center Alex Linnenkohl, followed by an earful from offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh. Next up, however, much improvement, as sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz delivered a deep ball to Wheaton.

Safety Cameron Collins made a late jump on the ball and the pass slipped through his outstretched hands. Collins might have been stewing before that, and the next play kicked off some ugliness.

After making a nice catch and getting out of bounds junior h-back Joe Halahuni was popped by Collins. The following play, another Halahuni catch, another late hit by Collins. The team was going at three quarters speed, but Collins had it cranked up full throttle and had some words for Halahuni afterwards.

Later, Halahuni caught another pass and was thrown to the turf by Collins again. Banker had seen enough, pulled Collins aside and gave him an earful. The junior safety did not return to the field.

All in all, just one of those things, as long as an education is taken from it. Banker said afterwards that things are bound to get heated out on the field, but that players have to keep their heads and composure. Collins didn't, and Banker let him know it.

And kudos to Halahuni for not returning fire with fire, and making the situation worse.

And it certainly didn't overshadow a good day by the offense – the passing game was working on Wednesday and the o-line found, and kept, nice rhythm.

ONCE THE BEAVS put things on full tilt, a little sloppiness came out. Katz overthrew his running back on a couple occasions and Cavanaugh appeared more and more displeased. He finally kicked the ground and gave his line a bit of a chewing out.

Another bright spot came late, however, with Katz delivering a deep ball down the sideline. Senior flanker James Rodgers got in behind the secondary of Josh Lagrone and Dockery and reeled in the pass for a big gain.

Oregon State will hold their second official scrimmage of the spring this Friday.

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