CORVALLIS -- Eager defenders in need of contact following a day off, Stephen Paea takes over a…
FALL CAMP DAY 13: A slotback rotation?
Skelly Drills: A short session. Sean Canfield to Casey Kjos continues to be a great connection. The southpaw found Kjos on a few occasions Monday with well placed bullets just before the defender could get out of his break. James Rodgers was in action with no sign of knee problems. Rodgers showcased strong hands after Suaesi Tuimaunei looked to have a pass broken up with a great drive to the ball -- and his arm between James' arms. But Rodgers squeezed the pigskin and held on, turning up field for more yards to the dismay of Tui. CB Brandon Hardin came down gimpy on his knee after breaking up a pass. But he was in a few plays later and didn't seem any worse for the wear. Hardin is continuing to look solid on the corner in this writer's opinion, however seems to be strictly Tim Clark's backup as opposed to fighting for the other corner position with James Dockery and Patrick Henderson. Clark ran well with a receiver and batted the pass away, the ball hit Tuimaunei's helmet, rolled off his shoulder and fell harmlessly to the turf. Coach Greg Newhouse sounded off, "That's a pick! Gotta have it!" The defense continues to communicate nicely and it seems to be having a positive impact for the Beaver D. Not as many blown coverages as there were in the spring and early in fall camp. Peter Lalich on one snap looked to Aaron Nichols, who went deep. Nichols put a shimmy on safety Jordan Poyer and got separation. Lalich threw a beautiful ball that fell right into Nichols' hands. Alas, the pass was dropped, one of the very few from the surehanded Nichols this camp. Team Drills: Jordan Bishop shared reps on the first team with Casey Kjos. And Mike Riley later commented that as of now he foresees a rotation at the slot receiver position. Backup QB Ryan Katz showed off his strong arm, clearly the strongest of all Beaver slingers, on one play threading the needle to Geno Munoz. Whispers of "wow" rippled through the few pacing the sidelines on the throw. Katz continues to impress with his strong arm and solid decision making. James Rodgers got behind the defense for his what seems his customary daily deep route whenever he's on the field. Sean Canfield found him just as he surged ahead of left corner Tim Clark. Clark was later heard saying to himself on the sideline, "I can't believe James got me with that ugly route!" Taylor Kavanaugh has been solid in the passing game and was again on Monday. The senior could well contribute this season as an effective target for whomever is under center. Defensive speed was evident in the extended team session and the view from here is opposing teams will have trouble running east and west on this defense. With Stephen Paea, running straight ahead would seem difficult as well. We'll see how that plays out as the season progresses. Gabe Miller has had a near seamless transition from tight end to defensive end. Miller, a former state of Oregon defensive player of the year in high school, is a natural and was often in the backfield in position for a tackle for loss Monday. Keith Pankey roamed well from his outside backer position all day long. One play he blitzed and came untouched off the edge. Pankey would have caught Quizz for a loss, but smartly let the speedster go. With James Rodgers taking a fly sweep, defensive end Ben Terry shot up field and looked destined to bottle up Rodgers. But Quon darted underneath him as if he was not there. D-line coach Joe Seumalo voiced his displeasure. As the drill continued on, o-line coach Mike Cavanaugh and Seumalo traded verbal missives towards their respective pupils -- something not unique or unexpected in practice. The remainder of the drill, the defensive front four penetrated the line and would have recorded numerous sacks had it been live action. The DL rotation seems to be in full effect for Coach Joe on the defensive line. Two deep at each defensive end spot, and four deep in the middle would allow for fresh bodies yet again -- something that has greatly benefited the defense in years past. The offense attempted a few trick plays on Monday morning, however disciplined backside defenders stayed home and were not fooled.
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