What we've learned: Week 4

TE Gabe Miller

FROM THE MIDDLE LINEBACKER spot to depth at tight end...from what coach Mike Cavanaugh says about Andy Levitre to where the chemistry is at between the quarterbacks and receivers...from James Dockery to the defensive line and much more, here's what we've learned from week 4 of spring practice.

Bryant Cornell has middle linebacker locked up. Before spring practice started the coaches were toying with sliding Keaton Kristick to the middle if Cornell wasn't up to snuff. The coaches needn't have worried as Cornell has filled in splendidly solidifying his starting spot in the middle allowing Kristick, and his speed, to stay on the outside.

Good thing there is depth at tight end. First Gabe Miller went down and now Joe Halahuni. It's a good thing the coaches recruited the tight end position hard the past couple of years. Coach Mike Riley says Brady Camp, John Reese and Howard Croom have all had "awesome" springs.

Andy Levitre is set for a breakout year. After being named to the Outland Trophy Watch List Levitre has been working out at guard instead of his normal tackle position due to injuries. Coach Mike Cavanaugh calls him the best offensive lineman he has ever coached.

The quarterbacks and receivers are staring to connect. Top to bottom from Justin Engstron to Ryan Katz to Lyle Moevao the completion percentage is rising as the quarterbacks and receivers are getting comfortable with each other. On Friday's scrimmage Moevao and Katz missed just one pass each completing five and four passes, respectively.

Keep your eye on James Dockery. You've read that before on BF.com, but it's worth mentioning again as this versatile player is set to have a breakout year on special teams. He may even return kickoffs in addition to be an efficient gunner.

Defensive line is still a work in progress. With 14 underclassman on the roster there is still a lot of work to be done. The talent is there, but there needs to be consistency and that just takes time.

Keep your fingers crossed the Simi Kuli and Ben Terry will be in Corvallis soon. With just Slade Norris and Victor Butler on the roster with any significant experience at defensive end it gets real thin, really quick. Oregonian Carl Sommer, who has good speed and pursuit, and Kevin Frahm both need more experience before contributing. The same goes for Kyle Bell and Taylor Henry.

A foundation is being set. Despite the offensive line being banged up the rest of the offense - the quarterbacks, receivers, tight ends and running backs - are starting to click. Riley likes what he is seeing saying there are just little things that need to be worked on before the offense is ready to go. Proof of this can be seen on the big plays this week by the receivers and tight ends.

Everybody gets a shot. Add Gregg Peat to the growing number of offensive lineman with injuries. As a result Tavita Thompson and Ryan Pohl have been working out at guard. Spring practice is almost done which will give the big uglies time to heal up.

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