Matt LaGrone is leaving the team and university
due to personal reasons, head man Mike Riley
said today. The defensive end wants to be closer to his family – LaGrone’s wife
and children have been in Reno, Nev. since LaGrone has been at Oregon State.
LaGrone told Riley about three hours before the first spring practice and it
caught the Beavs’ coach off guard. However, Riley said he believes the Beavs
have depth at the position and will be able to overcome the loss. Still, it’s
a blow, and not only because LaGrone had given indications last year he was
ready to take it up a few notches.
The Beavers have this offseason already seen starting MLB David Pa’aluhi,
as well as WR Casey Kjos leave the team. LB
Keith Pankey is out with a torn Achilles. Who
takes LaGrone's place? Taylor Henry was second
on the depth chart and now figures to get a whole lot more reps this spring
and with it, opportunity.
Could Kevin Frahm move back to DE from DT?
Riley said there are no plans to move the Portland native back to the edge.
That likely means Dominic Glover, formerly
with Oregon and coming in this fall from junior college, will have plenty of
opportunities to battle for playing time.
OUT ON THE FIELD today, freshman split end Obum Gwachum
is an absolute anomaly.
The true forsh is an absolute freak of an athlete and should be a lot of fun
to watch in the future. Although this was the first practice I’ve had to see
him live, his soft hands and route running abilities were apparent.
Mark it down -- this kid has quite the future ahead of him.
Weather sent the Beavs into Truax Indoor Field for their first day. The sidelines
were flooded with fans, high school coaches, scouts and alumni to witness the
beginning, perhaps, of an epic quarterback battle that could continue on late
into the fall.
Sophomore Ryan Katz seems to be the leader
in everybody’s eyes, but junior Peter Lalich
looks to push the youngster with his size and accuracy. Obviously the main question
on everyone’s mind, before the departure of LaGrone, is who will start at quarterback.
So who’s going to be the guy, Mike Riley?
“Cody Vaz,” Riley said, jokingly.
But it might not be all that much of a joke. Riley said he DID like the freshman’s
performance this afternoon, and hinted that he may be the dark horse in the
THE OFFENSIVE LINE looked as solid as could be expected on the first
day of practices with no pads. The starters today, taking part in light contact
drills in the late stages of practice, were LG Ryan
Pohl (with junior Grant Johnson injured),
LT Michael Philipp, RT Mike Remmers
and RG Burke Ellis, along with senior center
Junior tailback Jacquizz Rodgers took a bulk
of the snaps with the first team, but sophomore Jovan
Stevenson and junior Ryan McCants filled in here and there,
just to give some fresh looks in the backfield.
Junior wide receiver Darrell Catchings, who
played in only two games last season and was granted a medical hardship was
back on the field and looked to be 100 percent – his routes were crisp routes
and he made some nice catches.
AT LINEBACKER, sophomore Tony Wilson
was in the middle, taking over for OSU standout and defensive leader Pa’aluhi.
Keo Camat was at the “SAM” linebacker position,
taking over for Pankey.
In the secondary, corners James Dockery and
Brandon Hardin joined Lance
Mitchell and Cameron Collins. The safeties
in particular today displayed some nifty footwork, and their positioning was
THERE APPEARED TO be no rust on the leg of senior kicker Justin
Kahut, as he connected from medium range in the early stages of practice.
Junior punter Johnny Hekker was taking over the holding spot
for departed receiver Taylor Kavanaugh, and
looked flawless in getting the snaps down for his senior kicker.
As mentioned earlier, Vaz could be a dark-horse of sorts in the QB competition.
Katz has a very strong arm and watching him today, Vaz has some arm strength
of his own.
OSU previously released that tackle Wilder McAndrews
would be sitting out of spring practices. Au contraire: The senior offensive
lineman was seen in pads and working out with the first and second team offensive
Sophomore linebacker Zane Norris looks to have
a lot of his brother, Slade, in him. Underrated size, great quickness and explosive
off the line were all present today. Another you-heard-it-here -- Look for him
to make a splash on the defensive side of the ball this spring and on into the
season, particularly if Pankey isn’t ready to go in fall camp and/or if other
The Watkins brothers missed practice due to their flight being delayed. They
were visiting their father on the East Coast. Anthony and Brian are both expected
to suit up Wednesday.
Another walk-on joined the team freshman longsnapper Michael Morovick
out of Trabuco High in California.
Although Casey Kjos has retired from football he was on the
sidelines helping out with the receivers. Other former Beavers seen on the sideline
include Jeremy Perry and Shane Morales.