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DAY 12: Long Quon; Riley on position battles
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The defense today rebounded from last night's session and held its own for the most part. Minus a few big plays by the offense, the overall battle was 50-50, which for the defense should be looked at as a success after Friday night's letdown.
Down in the trenches, filling in for injured DT Stephen Paea, was again junior Kevin Frahm. Frahm joined the rest of the 1s -- DE Gabe Miller, RT Brennan Olander and DE Taylor Henry -- and as a group they collectively disrupted the offensive line early.
They made such an impact, that offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh let fly with some choice words, and the lines on both sides had to run bear crawls. The defense ran fewer, however.
Also seeing some action with the defensive line 1s was Paea's backup, sophomore Castro Masaniai – he penetrated fairly well and caused some havoc in the backfield.
SENIOR LINEBACKER Keith Pankey gave it a go today and looked very good during the scrimmaging portion.
"I think he's got a lot of respect from his team," said Mike Riley. "Keith is responsible for being a really good football player and being a great example on the field."
In at MLB, sophomore Rueben Robinson was running with the 1s in place of Tony Wilson.
But while Robinson started the day with the 1s, he later was taken out of action to nurse a thigh bruise he suffered during practice. Feti Unga and Walker Vave took most of the snaps with the 1s and 2s once Robinson was out. No word from Riley yet on who the starter at the MIK spot will be, though Wilson began camp atop the depth chart.
AS FOR THE defensive backfield, senior Brandon Hardin (quadriceps) did not start with the 1s today, and sophomore Jordan Poyer again filled the position.
Hardin did see some time with the 1s later on in practice, but for the most part he was in and out with the 2s.
Poyer, who has struggled the last few practices, again had a tough day as senior James Rodgers, redshirt freshman Micah Hatfield and senior Aaron Nichols all enjoyed success when matched against the second year Beav.
But embarking on his second year or not, that cut him no slack -- it seemed like every other play defensive coordinator Mark Banker could be heard counseling Poyer to adjust his coverage -- loudly.
On the opposite island, senior James Dockery. Dockery, known as "Dock", (or is Doc?) among the players and coaches, had a mostly solid day in coverage. Except for an early 80 yard touchdown pass from Ryan Katz to James Rodgers, Dockery was knocking down passes and, as a result, not having the ball thrown his way too much from then on.
At safety, junior Cameron Collins (groin) again sat out but if the opener against TCU was tomorrow, Collins would be out there. When asked if he was recovering okay, Collins quipped, "Yeah, I feel good baby!"
Taking his place was senior Suaesi Tuimaunei, who had a good day, minus a few deep routes to James Rodgers.
Lance Mitchell held down the other safety spot. Mitchell had a decent day as well but did not see as much action as his backup, sophomore Josh LaGrone.
The defensive depth chart for today's practice:
LE: Gabe Miller, Andrew Seumalo, Devon Kell, Mana Rosa
LT: Kevin Frahm, Castro Masaniai, Evan Hull
RT: Brennan Olander, Ben Motter, Kevin Frahm
RE: Taylor Henry, Mitchel Hunt
SAM LB: Keith Pankey, Uani Unga
MLB: Rueben Robinson, Feti Unga, Tony Wilson, Walker Vave
WILL LB: Dwight Roberson, Keo Camat, Michael Doctor
LCB: James Dockery, Rashaad Reynolds
Safety: Suaesi Tuimaunei, Anthony Watkins
Safety: Lance Mitchell, Josh LaGrone, Dax Dilbeck
RCB: Jordan Poyer, Brandon Hardin, Keynan Parker
THE OFFENSE TODAY for the Beavers couldn't have ended any better.
The start however, was something to forget.
The usually trusty offensive line seemed to start practice very disinterested, particularly during goal line plays. How bad was it?
The 1s were missing blocking assignments, making false starts and generally making things impossible for Jacquizz Rodgers. The coaching staff was frustrated enough that the entire offensive and defensive lines were sent away from the scrimmage to go through bear crawl drills.
The defensive line didn't do nearly as many as the offensive line did.
After they finished their 10 bear crawls, Cavanaugh let loose, in his own colorful way, shall we say, and made sure they understood what they had to do.
They responded in a big way.
Ryan Katz and Cody Vaz suddenly seemed to have all day to throw. And the defensive line couldn't get through very deep after their earlier goal line performance.
Starting with the 1s up front again today was LT Wilder McAndrews. He joined the rest of the 1s on the line -- LG Grant Johnson, C Alex Linnenkohl, RG Burke Ellis and RT Mike Remmers.
McAndrews has been starting over Michael Philipp, listed in the pre-season depth chart as the starting LT. And frankly, after Philipp's 2009 year as a true frosh, it's been a surprise that it's been an extended stay with the 2s. BF.C asked Mike Riley about the situation.
"Well, frankly we have been very pleased with Wilder so far," said Riley.
And Philipp's status?
"With the circumstances around Michael, he really hasn't had a chance…Michael misses the spring with a knee, he misses the fall with a broken nose, immediately comes back and has a sprained ankle. It has been virtually since last year during the bowl game that he's last played," said Riley.
Riley stopped short of saying McAndrews, or Philipp, would start the opener. But with September 4 rapidly approaching, from this vantage point McAndrews looks to be the guy.
AT TAILBACK, it's obvious that Quizz is "the guy". As for his backup, sophomore Jordan Jenkins has been playing with the 2s more of late than junior Ryan McCants, including today. Riley offered some insight.
"Our first down backup is Jordan. Our third down backup is either Jordan or Ryan, so you'll see more of Jordan is those packages," said Riley.
Is there still competition for the backup position?
"Oh total, total. We have made no determination. I think they're both running the ball well and immensely improved, but Jordan is definitely the third down back," said Riley.
It should be interesting to watch that battle unfold the next two weeks.
AT TIGHT END, freshman Tyler Perry returned to practice after suffering what appeared to be an ankle injury last night. He was playing amongst the 2s in the goal line plays.
At the wide receiver position, James Rodgers had the three biggest plays of the day, catching not one, not two but three 80 yard touchdown passes from Ryan Katz.
It's safe to say that Katz and Rodgers are on the same page.
ALSO EARNING SOME recognition today was redshirt freshman Micah Hatfield. Hatfield continues to be one of the most sure handed receivers on the Beavers roster. Look for him to get some serious playing time this season and don't discount the possibility for a big impact as James Rodgers' backup.
And at the quarterback position, Ryan Katz shined brightly once again.
He was on target and every ball he threw deep to Quon, it was on the money.
Katz also seems to have the out route perfectly down, as he hit Hatfield, Nichols and Gwacham several times.
He doesn't look like a first year starter.
The offensive depth chart for today's practice:
Split End: Aaron Nichols, Kevan Walker
Slotback: Jordan Bishop, Obum Gwacham, Kevan Walker
LT: Wilder McAndrews, Timi Oshinowo, Michael Philipp
LG: Grant Johnson, Ryan Pohl
C: Alex Linnenkohl, Josh Andrews
RG: Burke Ellis, Colin Kelly
RT: Mike Remmers, Geoff Garner
TE: Brady Camp, Colby Prince, Tyler Perry
H-Back: Joe Halahuni, John Reese
Quarterback: Ryan Katz, Cody Vaz, Jack Lomax
TB: Jacquizz Rodgers, Jordan Jenkins, Ryan McCants
Flanker: James Rodgers, Micah Hatfield, Obum Gwacham
FB: Will Darkins, Clayton York
On special teams, not much happened. However, it should be noted that punter John Hekker has increased his punts by 15-20 yards the last few practices. Backup field goal kicker Max Johnson missed four kicks today.
The Beavers have Sunday off. The next practice is Monday, August 23 at 9:30am followed by a 6:30pm session.
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