DAY 6 PM: Offense lights it up

CORVALLIS -- There would be no easing into the first night practice of daily doubles -- it was full speed, competitive football at it's finest. Usually the first two-a-day is run by Mike Riley at a brisk but measured pace, but on this day, Riley welcomed all his players to the day's second practice with hard work and a lot of scrimmaging.

The Beavs have started the last four seasons slowly in non-conference play and certainly, Saturday night's practice was indicative of the changes Riley is making this fall camp -- by scrimmaging more.

Getting into game mode in practice should only help first year quarterback Ryan Katz' confidence, and it showed in the 2 ½ plus hour nighttime session.

Some coaches take it a little easier on the first day of doubles but Riley? He looks to be playing to win.

In the past the Beavers winning ways usually point to the defense, but if Saturday night was any indication, it could be the offense this year.

Indeed, the offense was on fire tonight.

They came out onto the practice field with a little more swagger than the defense during the scrimmages, and boy did they live up to it when the pads started popping.

Ryan Katz connected on seven of his first nine passes – and Katz seemed to have a little extra something on each throw too.

One player on offense who stood out tonight was Markus Wheaton. He seemed like he was running past everyone and catching anything near him.

Wheaton had eight balls thrown to him and didn't drop one, including one that saw safety Lance Mitchell in his hip pocket.

Wheaton was the BF.C practice player of the night – he was simply everywhere.

Meanwhile, James Rodgers has a set of hands, by far the best hands on the team.

Every ball thrown his direction – hard, touch, slightly out of reach – they seemed to get wedged into his mitts.

In the backup running back battle, the way the coaching staff was treating Jordan Jenkins was noteworthy.

Ryan McCants is officially listed as the No. 2 running back on the pre fall camp depth chart but Riley has made it clear there's going to be competition there. On Saturday, Jenkins ran more plays with the second unit that McCants.

And Jenkins made good use of his time, with some big runs and some good looking moves off screen passes from both Katz and Cody Vaz.

When McCants came in, he seemed to run with less purpose. McCants also dropped some passes and on the ones he caught, wasn't immediately turning up field like he did in the spring. And many of those plays came under the watchful eyes of both Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf.

There's a long ways to go in fall camp, and McCants turned in some determined efforts this spring so one of those could be right around the corner. But Jenkins surpassing McCants is definitely something to keep an eye on as fall camp continues.

Senior linebacker Keith Pankey first appeared like he was going to sit out of practice to keep nursing that healing torn Achilles he suffered, but he later started doing some drills with his fellow linebackers.

He did, however, sit out of all the scrimmaging. It's no big secret that both Riley and defensive coordinator Mark Banker are not going to be rushing Pankey back.

Replacing Pankey during scrimmages was senior Keo Camat.

Camat is currently listed as third on the depth chart behind Uani Unga, but Saturday night he got most of the reps with the first team defense. Unga was mostly with the second and third team.

Offensive lineman turned defensive end this spring, John Braun was playing most of the night with the second team defense and appeared assignment perfect. In fact, he looked really quick off of the ball.

Senior Dwight Roberson stood out. Aside from two very nice catches made by Jordan Bishop and John Reese, Roberson had really good coverage all night.

Special teams started practice off and set the tone for how practice would go -- Riley had the guys practicing kickoff coverage, and kickoff returns. The two units were practicing separately and then were unleashed to go against each other.

James Rodgers is the kickoff return man but Wheaton is among those listed on the depth chart, along with Jordan Poyer, Rashaad Reynolds, Dax Dilbeck and Jovan Stevenson to be back there with him. And Wheaton was the one Saturday night breaking through the gaps and showing off some of his lightning quick speed during return drills.

Justin Kahut, coming off a solid season for the Beavers, got in some field goal practice in simulated live conditions. The team was doing some field goal work while offensive and defensive positional players were doing individual drills. Most of Kahut's kicks on the night were good.

Oregon State has their first day off on Sunday. They return with a two-a-day session on Monday – check back with BF.C for reports on both sessions.

BeaverBlitz Top Stories