DAY 1: Beavs' first practice is a lengthy one

CORVALLIS -- The day Beaver Nation had been waiting for finally arrived on Monday -- the first day of fall practices leading up to opening day in Dallas against TCU. Returning faces graced the field and new incoming freshmen gave Beavers fans a glimpse to the future. The bright spot of the afternoon may have been the return of starting strong-side linebacker Keith Pankey to the defensive front.

Keith Pankey, the senior ‘backer returning from a torn Achilles this offseason, appeared 100 percent as he participated with the first string defense throughout drills and workouts, though Mike Riley has said he'll be cautious with him and his contact may be limited once the full pads go on.

Those full pads won't come on for a few days yet, Tiesday is another helmets only session, followed by two days of shoulder pads only, but the action was nevertheless brisk on the first day of fall drills for most of the session.

And it was a long one – the practice ran nearly three hours.

One of the bigger strengths this season is expected to be the offensive line. Sophomore blue chipper Michael Philipp has returned from a knee injury and took his spot back at the starting left tackle position. Grant Johnson and Colin Kelly were the starting guards on Day 1, with senior Mike Remmers at the right tackle spot. Multiple year starter Alex Linnenkohl, also the vocal leader of the group, was the starting center.

Burke Ellis got snaps with the first string also, and is expected this camp to battle Kelly and Johnson for a starting spot come opening day.

AT THE STARTING H-back and tight end positions, Junior Joe Halahuni and senior Brady Camp took snaps, respectively, while Markus Wheaton, Darrell Catchings, Jordan Bishop, Aaron Nichols and James Rodgers all rotated among the first string wide receivers spots.

Junior running back and Heisman candidate Jacquizz Rodgers was the regular fixture in the backfield and was joined by cohort Will Darkins at the fullback spot.

Jovan Stevenson and Jordan Jenkins also saw time with the first string offense as they're battling with Ryan McCants for the backup job to Quizz. Redshirt sophomore QB Ryan Katz was leading the brigade.

KATZ SHOWED OFF his arm today, and his accuracy was solid for the most part. The offense as a whole lost some of their focus as the day wore on, however, with turnovers and less than letter-perfect assignment play taking place.

Freshmen quarterbacks are behind Katz, with Coy Vaz the No. 2, Jack Lomax in at the No. 3 spot and true frosh but highly touted Sean Mannion in at No. 4.

SPEAKING OF MANNION, Beaver Nation was treated to their first glimpse of the highly touted freshman out of California on Monday and he might have been a bit amped up.

The freshman went 2-for-6 in pass attempts, and was bailed out on both completions by Micah Hatfield and Kevin Cummings with nice grabs towards the end of the team session.

OVER ON DEFENSE, Taylor Henry and Gabe Miller started opposite each other at defensive end, with Kevin Frahm and Stephen Paea manning the interior.

Senior Brennan Olander is the starting DT on the depth chart opposite Paea and he rotated with the defensive tackles on a few occasions, but Paea and Frahm took the bulk of snaps on Day 1.

Dominic Glover, formerly of Oregon and a JC transfer, rotated in at defensive end for a few snaps.

AS NOTED EARLIER, Pankey was one of the three starting backers on the first team, joining Dwight Roberson opposite him and Rueben Robinson at the starting MIKE position.

James Dockery and Brandon Hardin took snaps as the starting cornerbacks and Lance Mitchell along with Cameron Collins returned to round out the secondary.

As noted earlier, DTs Thomas Molesi and Fred Thompson, and MLB Donnell Welch failed to qualify for 2010. Thompson and Welch will look to get their academic house in order this fall and join the Beavs in Jamuary of 2011, while Molesi is going the junior college route.

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