SPRING DAY 3: DBs steal show, Philipp out

MICHAEL PHILIPP

CORVALLIS – The Beaver wide receivers appeared to be carrying around a fair amount of rust indoors on Friday. Not so for the Oregon State secondary, who got quite "pick-y" during the session. Meanwhile, the injury bug continues to bite at the heels of Oregon State, as a big name on the offensive line, Michael Philipp, gets shut down and likely for the rest of the spring football campaign.

For the third straight day, the Beavs were forced indoors due to inclement weather. And because they were indoors, even with pads on, it was another day of less than full contact. But the confines didn't keep the quarterbacks from trying to go long.

Not to be outdone by senior Peter Lalich's rendition of "Throw that Long Bomb"* on Wednesday, sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz made good use of his cannon of a right arm Friday afternoon, completing two-50 plus yard passes.

He also just missed sophomore Markus Wheaton on another streak route downfield.

Friday, however, was marked by spotty receiving performance throughout.

Katz' pass to Wheaton was just one of many incompletions, most of which were caused by dropped passes via the receivers' lack of concentration.

It was not all on the receivers, though. Katz and Lalich were both intercepted a pair of times each, with the secondary making great reads on the ball and jumping into the receiver's routes to pull in the pigskin.

SOPHOMORE LINEBACKER Zane Norris came away with both interceptions of Lalich.

The first pick, Norris stepped in front of senior slotback Aaron Nichols in the end zone to stop a drive during a 2-minute drill session. The other was a result of great coverage across the middle during the "red ball" scrimmage.

Lalich simply did not see Norris gliding across the middle, and he jumped up and picked the pass out of the air and sprinted the other way.

SOPHOMORE LEFT TACKLE Michael Philipp injured his knee on Wednesday, will have arthroscopic surgery next week and will be sidelined for the rest of the spring. The door remains open that he could return before spring's end but it seems highly unlikely Mike Riley would want to take the risk of any further setbacks.

Philipp's absence opens the door for oft-injured tackle Wilder McAndrews, though conventional wisdom and past events would suggest o-line coach Mike Cavanaugh might move RT Mike Remmers to the left side in place of Philipp to protect the quarterback's blind side, and put Philipp's replacement at right tackle.

Expect fellow senior Timi Oshinowo to push McAndrews for the temporary replacement until Philipp returns for fall camp.

McANDREWS JOINED THE usual suspects on the offensive line with the first team offense Friday – with junior Burke Ellis and sophomore Colin Kelly sharing time at the right guard position, Alex Linnekohl at center, Ryan Pohl filling in for injured Grant Johnson at left guard and Remmers at the other tackle spot.

The right guard spot, opened by departing senior Gregg Peat, will be a key position battle to watch this spring -- both Kelly and Ellis have size and pulling speed. If Friday was any indication, look for Kelly to seize the advantage eventually. On Friday he showed versatility and can be swapped out as a guard or a tackle at the drop of a hat.

IN THE "THUD" drill, were players don't wrap up or bring ballcarriers to the ground, the offense and defense worked on the rushing attack, with the offense showing off its athleticism.

Junior running back Jacquizz Rodgers has seemed to get better with every handoff he takes this spring.

Quizz early on in the drill bounced one to the outside and made sophomore cornerback Jordan Poyer miss with a filthy move en route to a touchdown.

Sophomore running back Jovan Stevenson got into the act with some ducking and diving of his own. The Tucson, Arizona product made good use of his offensive line, juking in and out of their protection, and then plowed his way in for a touchdown.

Katz showed off his moves as well, with a fantastic fake to Rodgers in the backfield, zipping away on a bootleg and outrunning the defense to the corner of the end zone for a score.

Here's to hoping the Beavs get to practice outdoors on Monday when they take the field for Day 4. Pray for some good weather for next week, Beaver fans!!

NOTABLE NOTE:
Throw That Long Bomb is an old, NFL-based novel from the late 60's, and the author's favorite book when he was a kid, just in case you were wondering.

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