CORVALLIS--The beauty of fall camp is you never know what to expect from one practice to the next. Just when the defense was playing lights out in coverage -- which means the offense was less than sterling -- the O stepped it up. Tuesday, that theme continued. But the defense wasn't exactly lacking for highlights as Keenan Lewis, Victor Butler and others crafted some head turners of their own.
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The black and orange grabmasters have been in great rhythm with the quarterbacks the last few practices. On Tuesday, they continued the roll.
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11 vs. none, offense
Sean Canfield ran the second string here, with the drills primarily running plays and short passes. More on Canfield later.
11 vs. none (goal line)
The offense worked the money downs and from the looks of it, there were a few new plays introduced on Tuesday. In the drill, the offense practiced about 50-50 between passing and running plays. Darrell Catchings drew praise from Mike Riley for his crisp route running on one of the new plays.
Lyle Moevao hit Sammie Stroughter and it was a bullet. In almost a double team situation, Moevao still managed to complete it without the defensive backs getting a hand near it -- a nice, hard throw. Moevao was virtually unstoppable the night before and carried that good form forward into Tuesday's practice. Shane Morales, Stroughter and Damola Adeniji all came up with good catches. Justin Engstrom hit Aaron Nichols for a long completion. It wasn't the prettiest of throws, but a prescient adjustment by Nichols secured the catch. Engstrom then hooked up with Taylor Kavanaugh for a TD. A great start by the offense. Interestingly Stroughter was wearing Morales's jersey on Tuesday and vice versa, causing a few early double takes by the fans in attendance.
11 vs. 11 scrimmage
Darrell Catchings came up with a couple of nice catches off the arm of Moevao, beating out the defensive backs each time. Brandon Hughes then made a great bat down of a pass to Stroughter -- excellent defensive play. Stroughter was open and the pass was good, it just wasn't good enough to get past Hughes. Casey Kjos made a diving grab and Ryan McCants contributed a great run on the outside. McCants has long strides and would be tacklers are going to have their work cut out to catch him in the open field. Chris Johnson get in in the action with a great one handed grab, tipping the ball twice before reeling it in on a ball thrown behind him. The period ended with a highlight reel pass breakup by Keenan Lewis. It was about as good as break up as you'll see without committing a pass interference penalty.
O-line vs. D-line
The drill rotated between one on one action, and two against twos. Victor Butler and Latu Moala formed a nice tandem, finding success whenever they were together. Jeremy Perry was in action here and there looked to be plenty of rust. Perry, who has been slowed by injuries, still looks to have a ways to go before he returns to the level Beaver fans have grown accustomed to from the hoss. Gregg Peat was strong, and looks to be hitting his stride. Tom Hansen got some praise from the staff for his work.
But the best performer of the day, without the slightest doubt, was Tavita Thompson. The offensive lineman, scheduled to be reinstated by the NCAA in Week 8, just dominated on every turn. Even Butler, who has is having a heck of a camp, couldn't get past him. As disappointing as the situation is and as much as it seems the NCAA really got one wrong here, perhaps the Beaver Nation should be glad that they get him back for the final stretch run and for a possible bowl game. The educated guess here is he will come back hungry indeed.
11 vs. 11 scrimmage
The offense lost a step and didn't click as well as they had in the first stages of practice. Justin Engstrom hooked up with Damola Adeniji on a long completion -- the DB was all over him on the pass but Adeniji still snared it while falling down. It likely would have resulted in a pass interference call, one heck of a catch. Brandon Hughes makes another great defensive stop in the series which saw offense misfiring on a few occasions. Finally Lance Mitchell picks off Engstrom again on a pass that floated too long.
11 vs. 11 scrimmage (short yardage)
Mostly running plays and offense kind of had their way with the short yardage situation. Dennis Christopher stops Jacquizz Rodgers at the line of scrimmage and manages to hold him back from any further gain. Quizz tried his best but Christopher wasn't going to let him today. Slade Norris made an excellent read on a short pass and nearly picked it off, bobbling it a couple of times before ultimately missing the interception. John Reese made a fine leaping catch in the end zone for a TD.
Play of the day
Damola Adeniji's tumbling catch on the deep ball by Engstrom. Despite having a defender hanging all over him, the wide receiver still pulled it in on the way to the ground.
The group seems to be doing quote well -- when there's no pressure. With a rush, the punters are finding difficult to make solid contact and hit those long arching spirals that coaches pine for on special teams. There were a couple of wayward boots as well, but overall, it was about an average performance.
Justin Kahut was back in action after resting a slight ding. It didn't look like he had missed a beat, he kicked well on Tuesday, as he had all camp before missing a little bit of time. About the only blemish for Kahut was a miss on his longest attempt -- it was off target by about 12 inches. Matt Barker seems to be doing reasonably well, but Ryan Allen had a tough day on Tuesday. He found it difficult to consistently make solid contact.
Moevao continues to look good, and his touch was what stood out on Tuesday afternoon. His favorite target on Tuesday was Darrell Catchings, who turned in some great catches and plays.
Canfield participated in 11 vs. none drills and that was about it for the quarterback. It looked to be a small step back from yesterday evening, where he participated in most of the scrimmages with the second team. Justin Engstrom again saw the lion's share of the turns with second team with Canfield out and Ryan Katz still on track to redshirt.
It's hard to say enough about Tavita Thompson after watching his performance Tuesday. He has a decidedly positive attitude towards the whole situation and comes to practice everyday with plenty of enthusiasm. When practice starts, he gives a 100 percent and his performance on Tuesday in one-on-one and two-on-twos was ridiculous. If Tuesday was any indication, he'll be a difference maker up front upon his return.
The offense seems to be getting into a really comfortable rhythm, though things did tail off towards the end of the day. What will be most compelling, in the next full scrimmage, is if the offense seizes the day the way the defense did the first time around. And from this chair, it appears they just might be ready to do exactly that.