CORVALLIS – It's never just an average day of practice for the Beavers. Wednesday's installment showcased the secondary, with interceptions galore for some veteran pass defenders. The first team offense looked sharp in the red zone and a lot of love went the way of a group of big targets. Mike Riley shelled out some positive news on the injury front plus much more in this report...
The Daily Riley
Senior defensive tackle Mana Rosa
(elbow) has not seen a snap all week long -- is he expected to play this weekend at ASU?
"He's had an elbow issue that we are just nursing him through it," Riley said. "He'll be ready to play."
Injuries are a common theme with the program, this is not news. But every now and again Riley is reminded that bye weeks do have their benefits, especially with an injury list that waxes and wanes so frequently.
"It was good for some guys… people like (Connor) Hamlett to get back in it, Caleb Smith
got back in it, D.J. Alexander
got back in it," Riley said. "There's been some people like that that (the bye week has) been very important for."
The word on freshman safety Zack Robinson
is that he is dealing with a knee injury, but he is day to day at the moment.
"I think he'll probably be ready to play" Riley said. "But I don't know how much. He starts on four special teams, so we'll see if he is ready to go on Saturday."
Sophomore MIK Joel Skotte
was minimal on Wednesday, but he was fully padded and did see practice reps.
Junior quarterback Sean Mannion had an above average run of practice, and was especially proficient when the first team ran red zone formations against the scout team, where he put up, at the very least, eight passes that went for touchdowns.
Junior flanker Brandin Cooks, Hamlett and Smith had good days as did sophomore tight end Kellen Clute who made a handful of tough grabs on the day.
It was a strong outing for the OSU running backs, Terron Ward in particular. Ward broke off a really nice run about halfway through Wednesday's practice, and both sophomore Storm Woods and freshman Chris Brown showed solid blocking and gaining good chunks of yardage when the ball was in their hands.
Brown has really been coming into his own lately in practice. Coaches have told me that he still struggles with some fundamental components of his game, and it is rather evident at times. But he has gotten much better than he was even three months ago – his ball handling ability has improved, he is more confident in the open field and it has led to him juking more. Brown probably shouldn't see much time outside of special teams against ASU, unless the Beavers get crafty, ahead by more than 20 points or injuries strike. But he is becoming a versatile option, one that fans should keep aware of.
Freshman receiver Victor Bolden saw a lot of reps behind Cooks, and put up a so-so performance. Bolden has a tendency to either make a big play or struggle, like many freshmen, rarely do I see him operating in that middle ground that generally indicates a wideout has found some consistency in their game. However, the big plays that Bolden makes are often really big and outweigh some of his more common mistakes in practice. In addition, Bolden seems to be on the upswing lately, can we expect some more production from him this weekend?
Senior quarterback Cody Vaz had a terrific showing Wednesday when working with the second team offense. His throws were crisp, very accurate and had just the right amount of touch on them. Vaz's performance caught Riley's eye, and OSU's head man seemed impressed with the play of his backup signal caller.
It was a huge day for the Beaver secondary, as senior corner Sean Martin and junior safety tandem Tyrequek Zimmerman and Ryan Murphy all posted two interceptions apiece and made it look easy. Between the aforementioned trio and the slick play of junior corner Steven Nelson, ASU wideouts may have their work cut out for them IF this starting unit plays on Saturday the way they played today.
The powerful defensive play was not limited to just preventing the aerial attack either. The first team defense saw a mixed bag of runs from scout team tailbacks, senior Jovan Stevenson and redshirt freshman Damien Haskins. With rare exception, each run struggled to make it past the front seven of the Beaver D, as Alexander, junior SAM Jabral Johnson and junior DE Dylan Wynn routinely caused trouble in the backfield and wrapped up with authority.
This renewed fire under the starters of the Oregon State defense had a trickle down effect. Largely unheralded players were stepping up their game, and it showed today with sophomore defensive tackle Brandon Bennett and freshman corner Dashon Hunt both earning accolades in the BF.C notebook. Bennett had a fumble recovery on a botched run play from the scout team, and Hunt nabbed a pick off of redshirt freshman QB Brent Vanderveen.
Toward the beginning of the day's session, the defensive line corps took time out to run some drills focused on dealing with a mobile QB. We won't go into detail but the Beaver coaches seemed pleased with how the players were drilling here -- particularly effective were junior defensive end Scott Crichton, junior DT Siale Hautau and freshman DT Noke Tago. Junior lineman Edwin Delva and sophomore Ali'i Robins struggled here and there but overall they fared well.
Running with the 1's
QB – Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods
FB – Tyler Anderson
H-Back – Connor Hamlett
TE – Caleb Smith
LT- Michael Philipp
LG- Josh Andrews
C- Isaac Seumalo
RG- Grant Enger
RT- Sean Harlow
FL –Brandin Cooks
SE – Richard Mullaney
SB – Malik Gilmore
DE – Dylan Wynn
DT – Edwin Delva
DT – Siale Hautau
DE –Scott Crichton
WIL –D.J. Alexander
MIK – Rommel Mageo
SAM –Jabral Johnson
CB- Rashaad Reynolds
CB- Steven Nelson
CB-Sean Martin (Nickel)
FS – Tyrequek Zimmerman
SS – Ryan Murphy