DAY 9: Tempers flare, fiery morning practice

CORVALLIS -- A few key players were still sidelined this morning, but that gave numerous young names snaps with the first and second string offense and defense, a suggestive precursor for tomorrow's scrimmage. The morning started off a little dicey, with sophomore linebacker Uani Unga getting into it with junior running back Ryan McCants.

A week and a half into fall camp and Oregon State is preparing throughout Wednesday for their first scrimmage of the month long session leading into the 2010 season. Thursday's scrimmage will be an opportunity for the Oregon State coaches to "just let guys finish plays," as OSU head man Mike Riley said after Wednesday morning's practice.

On Wednesday morning, offensive and defensive linemen, along with linebackers and running backs participated on the side in what is called the "middle drill" by Oregon State. With Ryan McCants and Uani Unga already yapping at each other throughout the drill, what happened next was probably inevitable.

McCants took a rush up the middle, Unga wrapped him up and violently threw him to the ground. An abundance of athlete "jawing" came after the play, but order was quickly restored and the drill was quickly wrapped up.

Not too big a deal. But Unga and McCants met up again later in practice for round two.

THEY WEREN'T THE only pair to get into it Wednesday morning. Junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers and cornerback James Dockery took exception to each other after a late hit out of bounds by Dockery brought Quizz into his face. Quizz tossed the ball into the Dockery's face and a mini-shoving match broke out, with both players letting their mouths do most of the work.

Quizz was not done either. After a deep ball was reeled in by his brother James Rodgers, he got in another jab at Dockery's secondary; "C'mon boy that's too easy!"

DRAMA ASIDE, Oregon State had a solid day of work put in offensively. Sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz was on the money throughout the skelly and team sessions. Senior wideout Aaron Nichols returned to practice in a big way, reeling in numerous athletic receptions with the first string offense.

H-back's John Reese and Joe Halahuni, tight end Brady Camp, and wide receivers Kevin Cummings and Jordan Bishop, all rotated with the first string offense, along with the Rodgers brothers.

The only blemish from Katz came via an interception. Senior outside linebacker Keith Pankey made a break on the ball, returning it down the right sideline untouched.

SPEAKING OF LINEBACKERS, sophomore middle linebacker Tony Wilson continued to take all the snaps with the first string offense with fellow sophomore Rueben Robinson remaining at less than full-go with an ankle injury.

Senior Dwight Roberson worked opposite Pankey, with sophomore Zane Norris taking a few snaps in Roberson's place late in the first skelly and team sessions.

IN THE SECOND team session of the afternoon, McCants and Unga butted heads once again. Literally.

The junior running back took a handoff up the middle and was met by Unga, who lowered his head and smashed the running back to the ground. Unga ultimately helped the running back up. It was a heckuva collision, though.

THE OFFENSIVE LINE had a few moments but ultaimtely came up second on the morning to the first string defensive line . Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh, being in fine form as usual, was not having any of it.

The combination of Gabe Miller, Kevin Frahm and Brennan Olander literally closed the pocket around quarterback Ryan Katz one play, who could do nothing but throw the ball to the ground. Cav immediately threw his hat as far across the field as he could to get into the face of one of his top linemen, center Alex Linnenkohl, to deliver a few choice words.

JUNIOR DEFENSIVE END Dominic Glover also continued to take snaps with the first string defensive line -- and he was joined by sophomores Andrew Seumalo and Devon Kell. All three rotated during the last team session of the day.

Making his first appearance with the first team was freshman defensive end Scott Crichton, who did not fair too well in pass rush. Crichton is going to be a good one but on back to back plays the true freshman out of Tacoma was held in check by tight end Colby Prince, who had affected solid protection to keep his man out.

SENIOR DT Stephen Paea was dressed but kept out of team sessions with the sore knee he has been dealing with the last few days.

Freshman quarterback Sean Mannion continues to impress with his high football IQ and arm strength. He delivered his first "live" touchdown of fall camp on a rope to sophomore wide receiver Kevan Walker. The speedy wideout had used his speed to get open and Mannion hit him in stride.

NOTABLE NOTES:
Are the injuries something to be concerned about? Not according to Mike Riley, who says it's par for the course. "We have camp stuff right now, just pulls and ankles, nothing that is long term except Jovan, right now," said Riley.

WR Markus Wheaton was with a bruised shoulder this morning.

DE Taylor Henry remains out with stiff back. "Probably a pull or spasm in the back," said Riley.

CB Brandon Hardin is out with a quad injury. "He tried to check it out and go this morning and he couldn't," said Riley.


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