DAY 4: Battle in the trenches

GABE MILLER

CORVALLIS -- The Beavers' final practice before full pads saw an abundance of formation and play calling installments, meaning snaps aplenty across the depth charts. Meanwhile, a RB is sidelined with injury and Markus Wheaton was back out of the lineup. Which line won the trench battle between offense and defense? And there are a couple brothers NOT named the Rodgers to be aware of this camp..

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The usual characters showcased the first string offense and defense, with a sprinkle of variety here and there, including sophomore tailback Jordan Jenkins who took snaps with the first team along with junior tailback Jacquizz Rodgers.

While the coaching staff has remained high on Jenkins since the spring session, it was an injury to sophomore running back Jovan Stevenson that opened the opportunity for Jenkins. Stevenson injured his shoulder yesterday during practice and when Stevenson stepped in the cold bath, his arm seized up and popped out of the socket.

While it was able to be popped right back in, he'll be out 1-2 weeks said Mike Riley.

Junior running back Ryan McCants continued to take snaps with the third string offense, and it would seem likely he'll be getting more work in with the first and second units as camp moves along.

SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER Aaron Nichols has been seeing more and more snaps with the first string offense the past few days, and with due reason. A solid possession receiver, Nichols has been snagging every pass coming his way in practice, and had a nice snag late in the practice Thursday during a team session.

Sophomore quarterback Ryan Katz showed delivered a low pass that looked to be out of reach but Nichols laid out and brought it in. He immediately flipped onto his back and raised the ball to the sky, confirming the reception.

MIDDLE LINEBACKERS Rueben Robinson and Tony Wilson both shared time at the MIKE position on Thursday in what might be a tight battle all the way through camp.

Two other names to keep tabs on in the coming weeks are brothers, Feti Unga and Uani Unga. Both have shown glimpses since coming to Corvallis and more was seen on Day 4.

Both linebackers held tight end Brady Camp in check across the middle, and as the Cody Vaz' pass was delivered, Feti jumped the trajectory of the pass and batted the ball out of the air.

MEANWHILE, RECEIVER Markus Wheaton's shoulder injury isn't completely in the rear view mirror.

The sophomore sat out parts of this afternoon's practice with the shoulder bruise that kept him out of Tuesday's practice. While Wheaton was able to run routes and catch passes, he was held out of the team and skelly sessions just as a precaution so the injury does not worsen.

OFFENSIVE LINE COACH Mike Cavanaugh was in fine form this afternoon, cranking up the volume and expressing his displeasure at the offensive line play not only during the team session, but afterwards in the offensive/defensive line drills. And that was one intense drill.

The offensive tackles matched up against the defensive ends, and the interior linemen matched up against the defensive tackles. The purpose of the drill was for the defensive linemen to get into the backfield and the offensive linemen to keep them out. Cav had a few choice words here and there when things didn't go the o-line's way.

IN THE FINAL team session of the afternoon the defensive line dominated the offensive line, putting pressure on quarterback Ryan Katz, and right from the get-go.

The first play out of the box, d-ends Taylor Henry and Gabe Miller exploded off the edges, collapsed the pocket and forcing Katz to scramble. Had the play been live, it would have been a big loss of yardage and sack.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Former Oregon State cornerback and fan favorite Tim Clark was seen coaching up the younger secondary guys from the sidelines this afternoon.

  • The Beavs don full pads Friday for the first time this camp on Friday, as they finally get their first taste of full speed, game-like situations.

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