CORVALLIS – It was a strong early practice session for the Oregon state defense - with a pair of picks and a speedy defensive end cutting the rug. The Doctor was in, but it was a different linebacker that opened the eyes of the offense on Friday. Other members of the secondary showed off some skills in this report on the defense.
Practice Notes Day 11 – Session 1
Scott Crichton pursued Storm Woods with a vengeance on one play. The sophomore running back had at least 10 yards of green in front of him and took off, but Crichton – from the opposite end of the field gave chase and tapped him lightly from behind just as Woods was forced out of bounds.
It was truly awesome to watch. Damn, Crichton is fast. All 6-3, 265-pounds of him.
Siale Hautau didn't fail to impress on Friday afternoon. The 6-1, 345 bull of a nose tackle was lined up across from Josh Mitchell on one play, lowered his head and just blew right over Mitchell. Dylan Wynn and John Braun did some shoving of their own and often found themselves in the offensive backfield before a play really had a chance to develop. Some exciting D-line play in the session.
With few exceptions, the 1's and 2's of Joe Seumalo's defensive line were sharp and won the day against the offensive line. The only guy that was visibly beaten by an offensive player was defensive end Devon Kell. But Kell was trying to run down wideout Victor Bolden. He didn't catch him but that the senior DE even had a chance to speaks to his speed as well. Kell also saw time as a defensive tackle on Friday.
Scott was not perfect Friday afternoon, but the sophomore is showing up big time when you look at the big picture. Scott can play as a backup for either of the three corners in contention for stating time in 2013 (Martin & Nelson on one side, Reynolds a lock at the other), and he is an athletic option to have in zone coverages because his closing speed makes his zone a lot larger than some might think. He is also an energetic player, the kind coaches like.
Walk on Naji Patrick is seeing some more rotation time with the 2's, and he seems to be taking advantage of the increased exposure. He speared one right out of Richard Mullaney's hands on a laser from Mannion. He has been one of the second string defenders in charge of keeping tabs on the likes of Obum Gwacham and Victor Bolden, no easy feat for a guy who is 5-8, 188-pounds. What impresses me the most about Patrick isn't his speed, his aggressiveness or his ability to grab an interception – it's his eye for the football. Patrick has batted down a number of passes this week, and he has been pretty quiet about doing it. Patrick has turned it up here in Week 2, after a quiet spring.
Freshman ‘backer Caleb Saulo had a big day as the primary WIL with the 2's. Saulo drew cheers during team drills when he made a terrific read and stopped a play in the backfield. And he earned the praise of linebacker's coach Trent Bray when he blocked a pass intended for freshman tight end Dustin Stanton. OSU has been on the receiving end of some silver linings this fall – D.J. Alexander's knee injury was a downer, but now a guy like Saulo gets to see more rotation time for a few weeks as a result. Saulo showed today he might be up for it and then some.
Michael Doctor returned to his position as a linebacker with the starting defense on Friday. The 6-0, 226 senior sat out for part of Thursday's practice, assumedly just for a break, but returned to the defensive schemes for the first half of Friday's practice double header.