DAY 6: Collins goes ballhawk; injury update

CORVALLIS--Saturday morning marked the first of two-a-days for the Beavs. Markus Wheaton's return from a shoulder injury took a surprising turn, a potential starter went down with an injury on the defensive side, but another safety, (not named Lance Mitchell) shows off his playmaking ability. Oh, and for future reference, offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh does not appear to be a morning person.

Saturday morning's session started off with the offense and defense working on drills, skill players getting time in with the quarterbacks, tight ends and receivers working on blocking schemes, and the offensive line working on pass/run protection.

But it was the latter part of practice where the real work came in -- skelly session to team session, back to skelly session, and back to team.

Practice started at 8:30 a.m. but it was already warm out, and the first, second and third team offense and defense all got work in. The first string defensive line stood out most.

MEANWHILE, SOPHOMORE left tackle Michael Philipp returned to practice for the first time since having his broken nose realigned on Tuesday, and immediately plugged in with the first string offense.

In the first team session of the morning, however, Philipp was pulled out of the group by Cavanaugh. It might have been Philipp's first day back but Cav demands perfection at all times and in case anyone in a 10-mile radius wasn't aware of it, they are after morning.

Philipp was replaced by senior Wilder McAndrews, who had been filling in for Philipp for the duration of the week.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Mark Banker was lighting his own fires under the collective butts of the defense throughout practice.

The defensive ends collapsed the pocket of quarterback Ryan Katz time after time, and the interior offensive linemen had a tough time containing the DT rotation of Stephen Paea, Kevin Frahm and Brennan Olander.

The end result was it freed up the defensive ends to basically do what they pleased.

The first string secondary was doing work all morning, offering the offense less opportunity to make some plays.

While it was the Lance Mitchell show yesterday, fellow returning safety starter Cameron Collins showed he can ballhawk with the best of ‘em.

Running on a rotation like the interior offensive linemen have been doing this camp, Collins saw time with both the first and second string defenses, and intercepted both Katz and Cody Vaz.

On his pick of Katz, Collins closed well and then used his 6-foot-2 frame to simply outreach senior wideout James Rodgers.

ON THE INJURY front, Rueben Robinson, currently battling Tony Wilson for the starting middle linebacker position went down with an ankle sprain this morning. It is unknown yet how long Robinson will be out, but safe to say he will at least miss this evening's practice.

More on the injury front as running back Jovan Stevenson had an MRI on his injured shoulder. The results weren't good.

Riley said it will be a choice Stevenson and the training staff will make, whether to have surgery on it, or try to let it heal regularly and go through necessary rehabilitation.

Wide receivers Geno Munoz and Darrell Catchings were both held out of practice again today with groin and hamstring injuries, respectively.

That in turn meant more snaps for sophomore Markus Wheaton (bruised shoulder) and senior Aaron Nichols, who both continue to impress with their hands and Wheaton even more so with his speed.

DURING THE FINAL skelly session of the morning, Wheaton burned past senior cornerback James Dockery on a deep, play-action pass from Katz that would have gone for six – or not. After the play offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf was displeased, however, pointing out that Wheaton was not set after the motion pre-snap and the play would have been called back.

Senior wide out James Rodgers flashed his speed Saturday morning as well. In the first team session of the practice, Rodgers got the edge on Collins and senior safety Suaesi Tuimaunei. Katz delivered a nice long ball, though Rodgers had to slow down slightly reel in the pass.

Quon already had the secondary beat, and badly, and proceeded to take it to the house.

RILEY CITED THREE true freshmen who physically look the part thus far in their first camp – DE Scott Crichton, S Shaydon Akuna and S Ryan Murphy.

Be sure and check back later this evening for our report on this evening's practice.

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