Day 6: AM / PM | Day 5 | Photos | Day 4 | Photos | Day 3 | Photos | Day 2 | Video | Photos | Day 1
WIDE OPEN. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker has been very clear that he wants someone, anyone, to step up and take the starting middle linebacker position. Specifically he wants a player who will stop the running back cold. “What we want to see in the run game is see someone go downhill and make a tackle of the running back on his own,” Banker said. Sophomore Rueben Robinson was playing the most with the first team before he got injured. But it was a tight battle, and figures to continue to be, with Tony Wilson.
EARLY PLAYING TIME. Two true freshman have been earmarked for potential early playing time, especially on special teams - WR Kevin Cummings and LB Michael Doctor. Coach Mike Riley also recently singled out DE Scott Crichton, S Shaydon Akuna and S Ryan Murphy as three freshman who already physically look the part, and they could play early as well.
A SURPLUS. With a stable full of talented players, the coaches are using a high rotation in the defensive backfield thus far in camp -- it's a great time to see what you've got. Junior Cameron Collins, junior Lance Mitchell and senior Suaesi Tuimaunei share starting duties at the safety positions while sophomore Anthony Watkins, sophomoreJosh LaGrone and redshirt freshman Dax Dilbeck serve as the backups.
DOING WELL. LB Keith Pankey is doing well after rehabbing from Achilles tendon surgery. His first major test comes Aug. 19 when the team scrimmages for the first time. But will Riley, known for being very cautious with injuries to starters, make it moot by holding him out? Stay tuned.
"I fully expect to be on that field Sept. 4 against TCU," Pankey told The Oregonian. "I haven't really given myself any other option. I've worked too hard to get to this point."
DT ROTATION. Junior Kevin Frahm has been working a lot with the first team defense. Stephen Paea and Brennan Olander are the starters but a three headed monster, build on heavy rotation via Frahm, might be in the coaches' thinking in order to best wear down the opposing team's offensive line.
LOOKING FOR A STARTER. Before fall camp, Riley said senior Aaron Nichols could fight his way into the starting lineup. Couple the injuries to Markus Wheaton and Geno Munoz with Nichols disciplined and impressive play and it's not out of the realm at all that the 6-foot, 185-pound player could receive his first career start come Sept. 4.
"There are guys who just don't surprise you when they make a play and Aaron Nichols is one of those guys," Riley said. "He's so consistent at everything he does. He plays all three (receiver) positions, he plays on almost all of our special teams. He's just a fabulous player."
TEMPERATURE RISING. The last half of the week saw temperatures in the mid to high 90's, which might actually be a good thing -- it should help acclimate the Beavs for the opener against TCU. According to weather.com, Arlington's average temperature during the first weekend in September is 91 with a low of 71. Arlington's record high for Sept. 4? 111 degrees.
DEVELOPING A TOUCH. Throughout the first week, QB Ryan Katz has displayed a touch he didn't have in the spring. The third year sophomore still has plenty of work to do, but time and time again he has lofted, not gunned, the pigskin exactly where it needed to be. His favorite receiver so far? None other than senior James Rodgers, of course.
"It's part of the plan," Riley said. "There are some balls the require touch and some trajectory. Once in a while, some of those balls you can zip in there. But the balls that have a little air"
BALL HAWKS. Safeties Cameron Collins and Lance Mitchell each turned great days to end week one. Mitchell picked off two passes Friday while Collins added a pair of INTs on Saturday.
"Mitchell was really on top of everything," Riley said. "He looked quick, made the interceptions. It was impressive.''
A LEADER. Although he is just a redshirt sophomore, Katz is already considered one of the Beavs' leaders. As the starting QB, he was responsible for organizing skelly and many of the voluntary summer workouts which were attended by, according to Riley, a record number (84) of players. The extra time spent with his receivers has shown, and the offense has looked sharp in the early going.
SURGERY? Sophomore running back Jovan Stevenson separated his shoulder and could require surgery to repair it. Riley suggests that, "if there’s any information it could happen easily again, I’d have the surgery now and redshirt and have three great years ahead of him.” Stevenson played as a true freshman last year and could redshirt this season if he chooses to have surgery.
BACKUP RB BATTLE. If Stevenson has surgery, it would mean the battle to back up Quizz would come down to Jordan Jenkins and Ryan McCants. Jenkins has received more time with the 1's thus far. McCants, who had an excellent spring, hasn't cranked it up quite yet. Week 2 should be interesting to watch here.
REESE MAKING PLAYS. Senior tight end John Reese, who changed his number from 80 to 85, has been making plays all over the field. Reese voluntarily redshirted last year so he could get more playing time in 2010.
- LT Michael Philipp
missed several practices after breaking his nose. He returned to practice
Saturday suiting up with the first team. Senior Wilder McAndrews
took his place in the starting lineup during his absence.
- OG Rory Ross
remains out due to knee surgery. He also missed spring practice, but is now
- WR Danny Evans,
a walk-on transfer from Arkansas Pine-Bluff, has missed several practices
with a leg injury.
- LB Rueben Robinson
went out with a left ankle sprain Saturday. It is not known when he will return but it didn't seem to be a long term type of injury when it happened. Sophomore Tony Wilson now has an opportunity for more snaps with the 1's.
- RB Jovan Stevenson
separated his left shoulder Wednesday. He had a MRI later in the week
and could have surgery putting out for the year.
- WR Markus Wheaton
missed several practices due to a left bruised shoulder. But he came back and was the star of the show Saturday night.
- WR Geno Munoz
has missed two practices due to a groin injury.
- WR Darrell Catchings has missed a couple of practices due to a hamstring pull.