FALL CAMP DAY 15: Game prep means season near

LANCE MITCHELL

CORVALLIS -- The double day practices for fall camp concluded Wednesday, and Oregon State took it rather easy in the evening session, going helmets only and mostly drilling on the schemes of Portland State while walking through their offense and defense with just over a week to go before the season begins.

A few players did not dress for the practice, including freshman wideout Markus Wheaton (Clearinghouse) and senior tight end Howard Croom (concussion). Sophomore running back Ryan McCants (knee) joined freshman cornerback Keynan Parker and junior defensive tackle Brennan Olander in the North end zone to run a few sprints.

McCants, coming off of surgery, looked to be running with ease, and Mike Riley said he is rehabilitating at a record pace. Still, with McCants having yet to fully participate in fall camp, there will be a new backup to Jacquizz Rodgers for the season opener on Sept. 5, with Jovan Stevenson and Ashton Jefferson battling it out.

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Special Teams
Sophomore punter John Hekker backed senior wideout Taylor Kavanaugh to the 10 yard line -- the punt was a rocket, traveling more than 60 yards.

Redshirt freshman kicker Ryan Allen followed that up with a big boom of his own, maybe just five hashes less than Hekker's, with no wind swirling around Reser Stadium.

Defensive Drills
As noted earlier, Parker was not dressed but that didn't stop the redshirt freshman (dislocated shoulder) from running with the cornerbacks and showing quick feet during individual drills.

Pass-Ball drills were done by the linebackers and safeties. Junior 'backers Keith Pankey and Dwight Roberson, OSU's 1- and 1-A punch of starting weak-side linebackers, both displayed quick hands and put a good beat on the ball.

Starting D vs Scout Team Offense
Freshman quarterback Jack Lomax led the scout team offense onto the field and orchestrated a half speed rendition of what the defense might be seeing next Saturday from Portland State and the Man in Black, Jerry Glanville.

Senior cornerback Patrick Henderson split time with junior cornerback James Dockery at the left cornerback spot, with senior Tim Clark manning the right side. Still no official decision on that starting corner battle between Doc and Hendu, it's been a good one this fall camp.

The first team defensive line offered no surprises on Wednesday night -- senior Ben Terry was on the left edge, senior Latu Moala and junior Stephen Paea held down the interior and sophomore Kevin Frahm was at the right side defensive end.

At linebacker, senior Keaton Kristick on the strong side, sophomore David Pa'aluhi in the middle, Pankey and Roberson held down the WIL spot.

In the back 40, sophomores Cameron Collins and Lance Mitchell were at safety, with junior Suaesi Tuimaunei out apparently resting an injury.

Offensive Line
- Up on the practice field the offensive line was taking orders and practicing their "on the line" calls with Coach Mike Cavanaugh. Always with the colorful language, Coach Cav had some beauties today, one in reference to stopping defensive linemen shooting the gaps.

More and more it seems Coach Cav's confidence in sophomore Grant Johnson is well placed. After getting in a few reps filling in at center the other day, the versatile Johnson was at left guard next to true freshman tackle Michael Philipp on Wednesday night. Junior center Alex Linnenkohl naturally has his starting spot on lock, as does senior left guard Gregg Peat. Mike Remmers held down the right tackle position.

Remmers was the surprise of 2008 up front, a then-freshman walk-on who more than held his own in a starting role last year against top flight Pac-10 competition. Inconsistency, however, has been an issue this training camp for the sophomore -- as well as up and down the line. Remmers and Cav continued to work on ironing out the kinks Wednesday.

Inside Truax
Although there was no true "play of the night" given the nature of the practice, senior wideout Damola Adeniji certainly came away with the "athletic grab of the night", reeling in a pass from senior quarterback Sean Canfield. Adeniji twisted his body mid-air to grab the pass, and received a couple whoops from his teammates watching.

The skill positions headed indoors to work on timing between the quarterbacks and receivers, route running and ball placement. Senior quarterback Lyle Moevao made some well-placed throws to numerous wideouts; "That's a good ball" said Mike Riley on one occasion. Junior wideout Darrell Catchings was on the sidelines, (sporting a new hairstyle that could best be described as huge), and coaching up some of the younger receivers, including redshirt freshman Kevan Walker and junior Aaron Nichols.

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