DAY 8: The big report

TYREQUEK ZIMMERMAN

CORVALLIS – Tuesday's practice offered solid looks at some of the younger players hoping to secure a role, but it also showed the injury bug that has infiltrated the ranks wasn't done yet. While OT Garrett Weinreich's condition is still up in the air, a major Beaver playmaker looked to dislocate a finger as his work for the day was ending. A ton of news and notes in today's BF.C practice report.

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Injury Report Day Eight:
As Day 8 came to an end and with the Beavers one-third of the way trough fall camp, it will be interesting to see what happens to the tailback battle over the next few days – Malcolm Agnew on Tuesday looked to have dislocated a finger on his right hand (it looked pretty gruesome) while running blocking drills within five minutes of the end of practice.

The severity of the injury is unknown, but the fact that Agnew carries the ball almost solely with his right hand will certainly play a role in whether or not he puts on pads tomorrow morning.

Freshman offensive lineman Garrett Weinreich did not appear at practice today, and his MRI is still pending according to Mike Riley. But the OSU head man sounded optimistic.

"Right now they don't think it's a long term deal," Riley said. "So we are hopeful (his return will be in) two weeks."

Weinreich twisted his knee during pass protection drills last night and ended up being carried off in a cart by the training staff. The loss of Weinreich shortly after freshman lineman Gavin Andrews suffered from a concussion stabs at the offensive line depth and brings the total to three sidelined lineman within the first week and a half of fall camp (Chase Eldredge being the third).

S Anthony Watkins sat out for his fifth day in a row and didn't run basic drills as he did yesterday.

Aforementioned injuries to Tyler Perry, Rusty Fernando, Caleb Smith, Chris Miller and Kendall Hill are still active.

Position Changes/ Tweaks:
As mentioned in yesterday's report, Riley has been mixing it up on the 1's and 2's bit in order to get some of what he calls "The Young Guys" into the practice rotation. On offense, this change occurred mostly within the offensive line, wide receiver and tailback groups.

Two redshirt freshmen, Justin Addie and Jake Welch, both saw short periods of time on the 1's alongside Grant Enger and Michael Philipp. The pair fit it well on the line – both have a good attributes for offensive lineman and both guys are big, taking up a lot of space. They set up their blocks pretty well and showed good footwork.

Roman Sapolu also got some looks at center, and played a little better on Tuesday than he did Monday. Sapolu is quick off the snap and possesses average strength for a lineman. His smaller stature and quick feet make him one of the most mobile guys under assistant Mike Cavanaugh.

Receivers Micah Hatfield, Richard Mullaney and Kevin Cummings were the most frequent targets in the rotation for Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz on Tuesday. Cummings was the most prevalent off the bunch, reeling in a handful of catches and running some crisp routes through the secondary.

Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks were not absent from drills, they just saw less looks in an attempt to give guys deeper in the depth chart – like walk on freshman J.C. Grim - a shot at some passes. Grim looked solid, with good lateral movement and soft hands.

Chris Brown and Terron Ward managed the bulk of the handoffs Tuesday afternoon, and both performed well. Ward is a shorter guy, but he is a skilled downhill runner – once he gets momentum on his side it's a rough job stopping him from breaking loose.

Brown demonstrated good vision and recognition of the blocks and broke into the secondary on a few occasions.

On Defense:
In the secondary, redshirt freshman Peter Ashton and walk-on freshman Micah Audiss made an impact at safety. Ashton is a skilled player who is proving to be an aggressive and adept defender of the pass, but a work in progress when it comes to defending the run. He and Audiss both saw time on the 2's and looked comfortable back in the secondary.

While the MIK linebacker battle between Rueben Robinson and Feti Unga has tapered off a smidge due to position rotations across the board, it hasn't ruined the excitement for a relatively young platoon.

Rommel Mageo, Kyle Gardner, Dyllon Mafi and Joel Skotte all spent time on the 2's today and performed relatively well. It was probably a nice change of pace for presumed starters D.J. Welch, Unga and Michael Doctor, as they spent the final half hour of practice standing on the sidelines helping GA/linebackers coach Trent Bray offer tips to the younger squad members.

The 1's on the defensive line were constant, thought they experienced a higher influx of player rotation. Devon Kell and Rudolf Fifita were in and out of the mix on the end frequently, and both looked sharp.

Sophomore Joe Lopez stepped up today during drills and 11-on-11's – he got around blockers pretty fast and showed a good handle on his size and speed when it came to stopping the run through the middle.

Practice Notes:
Offense:

Quarterback:
Mannion and Vaz saw a little less work while letting Richie Harrington and Brent Vanderveen take some snaps, but their roles were still prominent. Mannion has made steady improvement this camp, and some of the little inconsistencies in his approach are dwindling – his passes are slightly more accurate (stills needs work on his deep throws) and his composure under pressure is impressive.

Mannion and Vaz both looked good throwing on the move – Vaz being a little more adept than Mannion in that department.

Tailback:
Up until the (suspected) dislocated finger, Agnew looked sharp as a tack on the few carries he did receive. Both he and Storm Woods were out of the mix for a good portion of 11-on-11's, yet when they were in they made the most of it – both found a lot of room around the edge courtesy of the O-line.

Fullback:
Both Clayton York and Tyler Anderson saw some action in the pass game today during 11-on-11's and ran well. York is speedy for a fullback, and could be a weapon if he improves on his downfield blocking ability (something that Anderson is more proficient at.)

Wide Receiver:
Grim, Hatfield and Mullaney all had good days. Mullaney is a skilled receiver, sometimes it seems as if his hands are made of super glue because he brings down almost anything within his range.

Hatfield looks a little slim, he doesn't look like a prototypical wideout at the college level – but he is a fighter and a good route runner and he beat quite a few defenders today, including starting corner Rashaad Reynolds.

O-Line:
Philipp is showing scattered signs of living up to his former hype. His blocks are getting better by a long shot - while he still struggles at times in terms of keeping his balance while pressing a defender. He has improved in his footwork and with a little more improvement in his technique, could represent a solid No.1 guy at the tackle slot.

Defense:
D-Line:
The 1's (Dylan Wynn, Scott Crichton, Castro Masaniai, Andrew Seumalo) had a great practice today on the whole.

Wynn is stepping up as a vocal leader who likes to be in on every play. Riley mentioned that for the defense to be truly effective in 2012, a few players (on defense) would have to step up and become leaders. Wynn is starting to assume that role, along with Seumalo.

Crichton has been a bit quiet during fall camp, but he has been consistent nonetheless.

Devon Kell and Rudolf Fifita have also been improving, and both players show skill in avoiding the cut blocks that the offense is starting to throw at them.

Behind Seumalo and Masaniai for the most part are Lopez, Mana Rosa and Blake Harrah. Rosa uses his big build to his advantage in stopping the run, but he struggles at times with his size when trying to break through blocks – to the naked eye he doesn't get low enough off the snap, and the blockers just stand him up.

Linebackers:
An impressive day on the 1's and 2's. So far, the rotation process on defense has been occurring within the linebacker squad the most, and today it let a few guys shine, if only briefly.

Gardner had a tipped pass and a near interception within his first four plays on the 2's, and freshman Joel Skotte picked off a pass from Vaz while in rotation with the 3's.

Jabral Johnson also stayed in to replace D.J. Welch on a play or two, hosting a spot on the 1's temporarily and making a tackle against Brown.

Secondary:
To date, the secondary has been the most consistent factor on defense, and this is represented by both the 1's and 2's (and even some 3's) at both the safety and cornerback positions.

"We've got two corners that are big time, front and center, in Reynolds and Poyer." Riley said, making clear he considers Reynolds and Poyer two of the dominant defensive leaders for the black and orange headed into 2012.

Tyrequek Zimmerman filled in for Watkins again today, sharing some time with Audiss.

Zimmerman continued to please Riley and Mark Banker with his progression and if he can stay healthy, look for him to make an impact throughout the rest of fall camp.

Ryan Murphy was aggressive as always, as was Ashton.

Walk on A.J. Hedgecock also saw some time in the rotation. Hedgecock shows signs of inexperience and has trouble in man-to-man coverage, but he is a big body safety who has long arms and an eye for where the ball is on the field.

Depth Chart Day 8:
Offense:
QB- Sean Mannion, Cody Vaz, Richie Harrington/Brent Vanderveen

TB- Terron Ward, Jordan Jenkins, Chris Brown, Malcolm Agnew/Storm Woods

FB- Clayton York/Tyler Anderson

WR- Obum Gwacham, Markus Wheaton/ Micah Hatfield &Richard Mullaney, Kevin Cummings/Brandin Cooks

TE- Kellen Clute, Colby Prince, Connor Hamlett

OL- OT- Justin Addie/Michael Philipp OG - Josh Mitchell/ Josh Andrews C -Roman Sapolu/Isaac Seumalo OG- Grant Enger OT – Derek Nielsen

Defense:
DL- DE Dylan Wynn – DT Castro Masaniai – DT Andrew Seumalo/Joe Lopez - DE Scott Crichton

OLB- Michael Doctor (Weakside) – D.J. Welch/ Jabral Johnson (Strongside)

ILB- Feti Unga/ Kyle Gardner/ Dyllon Mafi

CB- Jordan Poyer/Sean Martin – Rashaad Reynolds/Malcolm MarableSteven Christian/Ryan Handford

S- Tyrequek Zimmerman/Peter Ashton (Strong) – Ryan Murphy/Micah Audiss (Free)

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