BUT GAVIN ANDREWS HAD A GOOD DAY
CORVALLIS – The injury bug seemed to be a small, buzzing cloud hovering over Oregon State’s first two-a-day session of fall camp. And Mike Riley expressed a little disappointment with the goings-on, but why? We have updates on injured Beavs, including two important cogs in the offensive scheme. Plus, the QB competition heated up a little, in the best way possible...
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A lot of players were in shorts on Saturday, officially the Beavs second day of running with full pads.
Mike Riley was less than happy with the black and orange clad players surrounding him for the final huddle on Saturday afternoon. The overall performance led to him to convey quite forcefully that some Beav players still need to learn…
“How to practice,” Riley said. “There is a way to do this thing so that we can practice (regularly). They have to understand the tempo and then they have to play within that tempo.”
Whether it was just the grind of six straight days of practice or the knowledge that another session awaits later tonight – a lot of Beaver players were sidelined today, many of them donning shorts and shirts, but no pads.
Key among those individuals was sophomore tight end Caleb Smith, who showed up to practice with a boot on his left foot.
“I think he is going to be alright,” Riley said of Smith. “I think he tweaked something, and he should be okay, hopefully by Monday.”
Riley said Day 6 was mostly “sloppy”. The Beavers played without Smith, Kevin Cummings (hamstring), Micah Hatfield (hamstring), Tyler Anderson (unknown, presumably precautionary), Tyler Perry, (unknown), Tyrequek Zimmerman (unknown), Steven Christian (illness) and they went a more than an hour without Richard Mullaney (hip-pointer).
Yes. Richard Mullaney. The sophomore receiver with hands made of glue was trucking right along for most of practice, but an ill-timed and poorly executed block attempt, while trying to clear the way for freshman Victor Bolden, left No.8 inching his way off the field with a grimace. He returned later on, supported by crutches, but otherwise in good spirits.
Yet silver linings are always acceptable and so even though this is an offensive report, it's worth noting that...
CB Rashaad Reynolds was back in pads and running with the 1’s Saturday afternoon.
Practice Notes – Day 6, First session
Contending quarterbacks Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion continued to share repetitions with the 1’s on Saturday, and the pair had solid performances in spite of a windy afternoon. Vaz found some touch on deep throws to the likes of Brandin Cooks and Obum Gwacham, something he had previously struggled with in the early swing of fall camp. The senior looked a tad more confident in the pocket Saturday, managing to step into his throws more and made some tough connections. Mannion also had a positive day overall, with some pretty tight zingers to the sideline and some touch on his medium-range throws.
Gavin Andrews performed quite well on Saturday. The sophomore tackle is rounding into form as the days slip by, and he is singlehandedly managing to erase my doubts regarding his placement on the O-line, (I earlier opined his best spot would be guard.) His blocking has improved substantially, even since spring ball. Andrews looks comfortable enough to work more on just getting the job done, instead of wasting time worrying about how it gets done.
Offensive lineman Roman Sapolu had a strong day in the pit, particularly against Edwin Delva on one set. His comrades with the 2’s - Grant Bays and Justin Addie - also stepped up to stop some defenders when the OL and DL went head to head during trench war drills.
Damien Haskins came into camp with a small boom, but Day 6 indicated there are some fundamental components of his game that need work. Haskins fumbled the ball, which Darrell Songy recovered, and was having difficulty hanging on to the pigskin in the passing game. Regardless, Haskins continues to see reps almost the numerical equivalent to those freshman redshirt freshman Chris Brown receives with the offense. Brown on the other hand had a strong day, breaking some good gains.
Storm Woods and Terron Ward were, as expected, the go-to-guys on the ground for Oregon State. Woods was a fixture with the 1’s while Ward was with the 2’s. Both players looked rock-solid from this chair. Woods seems to be the clearly defined starter at this stage, but Ward never ceases to make a case for him receiving ample playing time. He is scrappy, a bit more so than Woods. Woods relies on his now heftier frame to gain leverage on the ground, whereas Ward tends to bank on elusiveness as his primary weapon. The duo makes for a nice balance.
Dustin Stanton substituted in today for Smith and Perry, both of whom stuck to the sidelines on Day 6. Stanton did well alongside Connor Hamlett, but the redshirt freshman demonstrated some below-par blocking compared to some of his more seasoned counterparts. Stanton’s hands are soft and well-tuned for catching balls, but some further work on his blocking would be a huge plus, especially if he is the guy OSU will go to in a pinch – such as a day like today, where Smith and Perry were no-go’s.
Saturday was one of the quieter days for Hamlett. It’s not hard to notice when the 6-7, 263-pounder makes a grab in the secondary, and I didn’t see a lot of action go his way. The lion’s share of passes went to WR’s on Day 6, which to me means that Hamlett’s lack of contact with the rock could have been by design, and in order to better hone blocking skills in the TE corps.
Mullaney and Gwacham were sharing time at split end until Mullaney was put on crutches, and again the pair appeared to be pretty evenly matched. Gwacham made a few tough grabs on Day 6, some of which received cheers from his fellow teammates and earned him the admiration of receivers coach Brent Brennan.
I’m officially convinced that the coaches are high on freshman wideout Victor Bolden. He’s seeing a lot of passes go his way and for good reason. Granted, the vast majority of the looks he has received have been carbon copies or slight variations of the same routes/packages. Still, Bolden is spry and has shown soft hands coupled with a knack for being able to hold onto the football, even when a defender is breathing down his neck.
Walter Jones was having just an average day before he made a beautiful diving grab along the sidelines. It was a catch worthy of “ooohs” from both offensive and defensive players, and it saw Jones with a little bit of a strut afterward.
FB Michael Balfour was a busy man today, as the sophomore walk-on filled in for Anderson. Balfour got some looks that earned him positive yardage, mostly short yardage receptions that exploited some good blocking to move him upfield. Balfour has a good grip on the football when he is in possession, and is a sturdy option in the blocking game.
Redshirt freshman and walk on receiver J.C. Grim had one of his sloppier days at wideout. He dropped a few easier tosses, and his route running was off. On the whole, it has been a quiet beginning to camp for Grim, who has the height to become a threat at slotback down the line, if he can continue to improve under the eye of Brennan.
Running with the 1’s
QB – Cody Vaz/Sean Mannion
TB – Storm Woods
FB – Michael Balfour
LT- Michael Philipp
LG- Josh Andrews
C- Isaac Seumalo
RG- Grant Enger
RT- Gavin Andrews
FL –Brandin Cooks
SE – Richard Mullaney/Obum Gwacham
SB – Malik Gilmore