SPRING DAY 8: Beav QBs get their groove on

CODY VAZ

CORVALLIS -- The offense looked sharp for the majority of practice on Wednesday afternoon and the Beav quarterbacks on target (sans a few overthrows here and there). But it was a surprise competitor that stood out above the rest today. The defensive line dominated the o-line again, and junior cornerback James Dockery laid the hammer down. That and much more right this way..

Both sides of the ball looked to sharpen things up before Friday's scrimmage, and they pretty much did just that, with the Beavers running through everything from redzone offense, first and goal inside the five-yard line, regular 11-on-11, three quarters speed scrimmage and regular old skelly.

While the competition at OSU for the first string quarterback spot officially remains ongoing between Ryan Katz and Peter Lalich, it was freshman Cody Vaz who stood out most among the signal callers this afternoon.

The redshirt quarterback made numerous impressive throws in traffic and to multiple receivers, including a beautiful touch pass over the head of junior safety Cameron Collins, regularly a tremendous athlete in coverage.

But Collins got burned deep by sophomore wide receiver Geno Munoz, and Vaz delivered a finesse pass over the safety's head which hit his wide receiver in full stride.

A couple of plays later, with the pocket collapsing all around him, Vaz stepped up to deliver a perfect pass to junior split end Darrell Catchings. Collins and sophomore cornerback Keynan Parker were in on the coverage but had no chance.

VAZ WAS not done. In the first skelly session of the afternoon, he delivered the pass of the day. With junior Joe Halahuni the first option, Vaz delivered a tight spiral right over the outstretched hands of safety Anthony Watkins and into the h-back's mitts.

While the freshman may have stood out over his competitors, Katz and Lalich both turned in solid days as well.

In the same skelly session, Katz found James Rodgers deep down the sideline and delivered a spot-on pass right into the receiver's hands. Rodgers simply outran Dockery from the line of scrimmage, and the junior cornerback had no chance to catch up.

"Doc" made up for it later in practice.

EASILY, THE HIT of the day, combined with the catch of the day, came on the same play.

With the first string offense on the field, Katz found Markus Wheaton across the middle. Before he could make a move, though, the receiver was stonewalled by Dockery just as Wheaton turned his head to move upfield.

Obviously, these things look much better in person, but believe me, it was a hit to behold.

JUST A PLAY LATER, Dockery was back at it. On a nice swing pass to James Rodgers, the receiver looked to pick up a block from Catchings, but Dockery wasn't having any of that. The big junior cornerback truck-sticked Catchings and then pushed Rodgers out of bounds.

That got the defense riled up, as they slapped helmets and whooped and hollered on the sidelines.

SENIOR DEFENSIVE TACKLE and likely '10 All-America candidate Stephen Paea was back to his regular tricks this afternoon.

Facing a speed rush from Paea, senior guard Ryan Pohl could do nothing but commit perhaps the most obvious holding penalty the football world has ever seen. Paea blew off the ball, and Pohl grabbed a huge handful of the monster's jersey as Paea continued to chase down the ball carrier.

In a season where the defensive line is expected to play a bigger role than they did in ‘09, at least one thing remains clear this spring -- Paea gets better and better every time he sees the field.

LATER IN practice, Katz led the first team offense onto the field for some red zone skelly action.

The sophomore field general was quite impressive in the drill, completing two passes -- one to Wheaton, one to Halahuni -- for touchdowns.

Both plays came against tight coverage, but again, Katz showed that great coverage can sometimes be overcome with great velocity, as he zipped both passes right into the hands of his receivers.

INJURY NOTE:
Junior safety Cameron Collins sat out the second half of practice with what appeared to be a quad injury. Mike Riley said he was unaware of the injury or extent, and thus was unable to comment on it after practice.

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