SPRING BALL DAY 11: Strong day on D

KEITH PANKEY

CORVALLIS--The Beaver D stepped up Wednesday, with Keith Pankey, Keaton Kristick and Kevin Frahm among those giving the offensive line fits with the annual spring game a little over a week away. The offense was not the high flying group who stole the show in Friday's scrimmage but the Canfield-to-Catchings connection endured. And the battle for LT between Timi Oshinowo and Colin Kelly continues..

It was a strong day for the Oregon State defense.

Many fans have assumed the starting WLB job will will ultimately go to Dwight Roberson but Keith Pankey has not disappointed this spring.

He was in on a slew of plays Wednesday, including a big hit on freshman running back Jovan Stevenson as the 'backer stonewalled the runner in the backfield during team scrimmage.

Pankey also combined with senior linebacker Keaton Kristick and sophomore defensive end Kevin Frahm to give the offensive line fits this afternoon -- they were in the backfield on multiple occasions to break up plays or otherwise put pressure on the quarterback.

Kristick was on the advantageous side of the hit of the day Wednesday, laying into Damola Adeniji with the help of James Dockery to jar the ball loose and break up a potential Canfield-Adeniji connection.

As for Roberson, he also stood out today. Roberson arguably did not start out the spring as quickly as Pankey but Roberson's been seeing a good amount of time with the ones. Wednesday, Roberson blew by offensive linemen on several occasions.

He also showed solid coverage ability on one particular play during team scrimmage, batting away a Canfield pass intended for senior tight end Brady Camp.

THE YOUTH IN Oregon State's defensive cupboard was also served on this particular afternoon, such as redshirt freshman linebacker Kameron Krebs, who is coming off of a hamstring injury. During offensive/defensive line drills, Krebs went untouched on a strongside blitz through the offensive line to break up a Ryan McCants run.

Freshman safety Anthony Watkins perfectly red a Ryan Katz pass intended for freshman wideout Aaron Nichols. During team scrimmage, Katz found Aaron Nichols streaking downfield and delivered a bullet to the receiver, but Watkins had the ball timed perfectly, and was able to jump in front of the pass and make the interception.

SOMETIMES BOTH THE offense and defense both look sharp. That wasn't the case on Wednesday.

The inconsistency shown on offense by Oregon State on Monday afternoon seemed to continue today. To put things into proper context, spring is in large part about seeing what things need to be tightened up, and there are about five plus-months and an entire fall camp until the Beavers kick off against Portland State.

Nevertheless, Oregon State wasn't sharp on the offensive side of the ball today, and there seems to still be a lot of work to do before the Spring game on May 2.

Senior quarterback Sean Canfield, along with the rest of the Beavers quarterbacks, was inconsistent on the afternoon with a number of their collective passes a good two or three feet above the outstretched hands of the receivers.

But one Canfield jump ball that resulted in a reception was that of a reel-in by 6-3 senior wideout Adeniji. Canfield spotted Adeniji early on in skelly, firing a bullet to the receiver who stretched out over junior cornerback James Dockery to bring in the reception and then took off downfield for a touchdown.

The most consistent play this spring in the skelly workouts has been Canfield's connections with Darrell Catchings. Canfield was again able to make that connection today, spotting the junior wideout open deep downfield and delivering one right in his hands. It was undoubtedly one of the prettiest passes that the quarterback made on the day.

IN THE TRENCHES, a close, open competition that has been going on is at the left tackle position, with junior Timi Oshinowo the pre-Spring favorite to win the starting nod.

But the last few practices it has become apparent that the position is not clearly his, as a large amount of the offensive snaps have gone to redshirt freshman Colin Kelly, who coaches have been going gaga over for the last year or so.

Kelly, however, hasn't seized the job either.

"Timi has progressed a long way, but so has Colin. That's good for the team, and we hope that both of them get ready to play, because we are going to need them," said Mike Riley.

The battle could intensify this fall when highly touted incoming Beaver Michael Philipp arrives. It is virtually unheard of for a true freshman to win a starting job on the offensive line but Riley and line coach Mike Cavanaugh have both talked about the possibility.

NEAR THE END of practice, a goal-line stand drill was set up and some sideline chatter was added into the mix. Senior quarterback Lyle Moevao (shoulder) is out this spring, and sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers (shoulder) is being held out of contact. That didn't stop them from jawing back and forth with junior defensive end Matt LaGrone, who has yet to see the field yet this spring due to a broken arm.

In the drill, a couple of touchdown passes were thrown but on the last play, Katz found Bishop in the end zone but Matt's younger brother, freshman safety Josh LaGrone, was there to break up the pass. The play allowed the elder LaGrone to participate in some more ribbing with Moevao and Quizz.

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