10.Aug.2011 Rethinking the offense to fit personnel

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I don't think I'd garner much backlash if I said the Beaver's biggest strength is their wide receivers. Right now, it looks like Wheaton and Rodgers will line up in the base formation. It would be a real shame to have Cooks, Gwachum, and Bishop sitting on any given play. So, the question begs how do the coaches get them all on the field at once? A popular solution amongst fans is the Air Raid offense. It would get at least one more WR on the field, and would give the Beavers and identity. Less considered, but more importantly, it would masks some of the Beaver's biggest weaknesses. For example:

1. Short passes replace the running game.

Why it fits Oregon State: The Beavers don't have a dominant running back on the roster nor do they have an offensive line that can run block.

2. Short passes negate the blitz.

Why it fits Oregon State: There is nothing to suggest the Beaver's offensive line won't once again be the weakest link.

3. QB lines up in the shotgun.

Why it fits Oregon State: See above. Any way to buy time is a good thing.

It's a compelling case. So, the question becomes, why not run this offense?

My guess is Riley sees it as unbalanced. But, there isn't a whole lot of difference between a 2-yard pass with RAC (run after catch) versus a handoff. In other words, the short passing game is your running game. From there, the QB can throw intermediate and deep passes, or handoff traditionally. That is a form of balance.

There are a couple legit cons. The first is the weather in Corvallis. Wet conditions aren't ideal for a heavy passing game. Also, the Air Raid requires the QB to be highly intelligent, read defenses, and audible. Ryan Katz hasn't shown he can do that. These are legit concerns. In fact, they're the two reasons I'm not completely gung ho about an Air Raid offense.

The best compromise is probably employing more 4WR sets (ace spread, trips, etc) and even 5WR sets so the Beavers can get their best players on the field. Another option is making Gwachum a hybrid TE. It would also be prudent to make each WR's positions interchangeable (e.g. each WR knows each others' routes), as this would give greater versatility and keep the defense honest. Riley could then find advantageous matchups depending on down and distance.

The bottom line is that the coaching staff needs to find a way to use this stockpiled talent. To have three or four potential all-conference receivers sitting on any given play is a problem. A good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. The solution lies in outside the box thinking, something Riley is not very skilled at. What we do know is that the ideal solution will not come to be on it's own or via blind luck. As a great philosopher once wrote, "if the ship-building art were in the wood, it would produce the same results by nature." Riley needs to start thinking like a crafty artisan (see Chip Kelly) rather than an antiquated simpleton. He's been given the tools…

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  • angry angry says:
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    PS. Feel free to discuss practice here. It’s topical to the post.

    • ObjCritic says:
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      I think it’s a totally legitimate approach and think the available rb’s would achieve more ypc than they would otherwise. I think Quizz would have enjoyed more ypc, albeit with fewer carries, and would have caught more balls (long hand-offs) in such an approach last year for example.

      I think a key to that approach is STILL teaching run blocking [“we’re not selling out on the pass”] – you can’t lose the toughness mentality up front, not that last year’s o-line ever had it.

      Also, in terms of “balance” I think you have to operate from the mentality you’re going to be successful, which means points, which means opponents playing catch-up, and means your D gets to pin its ears back, get TFL’s, and to’s, and those increased possessions offset your own decrease in run plays.

      Riley rarely seems to have that kind of mentality, but they did it with Anderson-to-hass CW blowout that had a larger margin of victory then uo’s blowout of OSU about 3 years ago.

      Also, it doesn’t mean you stop recruiting better rb’s and O linemen.

    • orange says:
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      I don’t think this is the direction the beavs are headed. In fact I would hazard we are moving in an even more unique direction. Quick, name another team that runs sophisticated pass routes, zone blocking, and makes frequent use of a full back, H Back, Tigh tend and uses End arounds. Yeah no one else.

      The full back and the H back are a couple of the more intriguing and intresting things the beavs have. And I feel that Riley and company feel this is the key to making the beavs something special. The idea isn’t to follow the trends in football. The idea is to be putting your team in a place where it can dominate the teams following the trends. The trend is the spread. The trend is speed. And defenses are being built to stop it. So the idea is to build an offense that defeats the defense that is built to stop the spread while retaining some flexability to still be a viable offense against any defense.

      Oregons defense is rather intresting. Its fast and well conditioned. But as any conditioned athalete knows it is very hard to become conditioned in the cardio sense and the muscular sense all at the same time. If you focus on one to much the other simply doesn’t improve as fast or at all. The oregon defense spends most of its time chasing a spread offense in practice. Its a fast defense. But it isnt as strong as it once was. Stanford gave a glimpse of this in a big way in the first half.

      I of course could be totally wrong. I just think the full back has been getting no print. And the fact Oregon state makes a point to use an Hback. Its a wrinkle. But its an edge. Our Oline will be good this year. It was bad last year and i think it was bad the year before that but canfield and rodgers were able to hide it by making quick throws and keeping defenses honest with the bubble screens.

      Its late ill write more later. If peeps want to shred my post have at it. It needs to have some holes poked in it.

      One last thought. Not having a headliner RB is probably not a big deal for Riley. The zone blocking and the one back are Denver Broncoish back in their hay day. Three seasons with 2000 yard rushers… never the same guy twice. The line is 90 percent of the battle. I think Riley is concerned with the line… very concerned but this will be Cavs year. Hogs come through lead by the fire of juice.

      • angry angry says:
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        I like Tyler Anderson a lot at FB–he could be a Larry Centers type.

        York is unimpressive as an offensive threat.

        I almost wrote the H-back/F-back as one of my cons of switching, but I think in the end the extra WR (or two) would be more of a threat to the defense. Like I said, a good compromise would be more 4 and 5 receiver sets, generous substituting, and having each WR interchangeable. Also, I’d like you to offer a good counterargument for, theoretically, 3 or 4 potential all-conference WRs riding the pine.

        • orange says:
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          I think Oregon state will use the 3 receiver sets liberally this year. That with Tank gives you a pretty open attack. I think we might be getting a bit ahead of ourselves in how good the receivers are however.

          Wheaton – terrific receiver

          Rodgers – unknown. Hoping for the best but i wouldn’t build my offense around his ability just yet.

          Bishop – rusty. Says his ankle will never be the same and he isn’t back to where he was last year. And even if he was he wasn’t a game breaker. He was a good receiver but all-conference I don’t think was ever in the cards for him.

          Boom – sounds like he has a huge upside but this kid is still raw and untested. I belive he had 10 catches his senior year in highschool. He could be good but some game experiance is needed.

          Cummings – having a good early camp. Who knows.

          Hatfield – hurt again?

          Four frosh – Cooks probably is the real deal but its still early. Unsure on the other three but I loved TT’s video. Mullaney i think won’t see the field this year.

          So thats the bulk of our recievers baring further injury. Good group of guys. Not sure if would go to an air raid with them when defenses are being built around stopping these very types of offenses.

          Riley has found some middle ground with flexibility. Against the badgers look for us to air it out. Against the arizona schools look for us to power over them. Riley loves gameplaning. And he has a flexible offense that allows him to do that.

          • JackBeav says:
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            I’m gonna agree with orange on this topic. Power, precision and flexibility are the hallmarks of lasting winners. In the days of 274 man rosters, option teams could have it all because they simply kept the second third and fourth best players at certain positions on their sidelines rather than play against them weekly. But scholarship restrictions have given the game a little more parity. I could argue for lessening the scholarship limit more for the sake of the game, but this isn’t the place, and there’s so much backlash from “pundits” that I’d be mired in mud before I was heard.

            Riley’s offensive book is huge, and it gets bigger as gadget offenses prove their worth over short periods. Within that playbook, he can pick and choose plays which are more conducive to the team’s success according to the talents of the team. You’ll notice last year we saw probably a majority of plays were run with shotgun… at least it seemed that way. that tells me Riley knew the o-line was weak, and Katz needed more time than even a first year QB does in his system. But shotgun snaps just kill the running game. When you need to run 13 yards straight ahead for a three yard gain… with a bad o-line… well, you know where I’m going with that.

            And you’ll notice that Air Raid offenses never produced any prolific runners except for the one RB that was inherited. And since the Air Raid was lifted, one RB did manage to show NFL scouts 7th round ability. But in between there were no RB’s of note, and RB prospects knew it.

            I like the idea of going more to 2-back sets with a FB or an H-back behind the QB. We could even flare one or the other (or both) into deep slot positions, making it a de facto four receiver set. But those need to be situational plays within the scheme. Our primary set is going to be one back, one TE or H-back and three WR’s. And if we see a lot of shotgun this year, then we know what the coaches think of the o-line.

            And game to game will be situational as well, as orange suggested. We’ll just have to see if the coaches can mix it up at the right times or if they can just plug the same play in time after time with success.

          • angry angry says:
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            I’m on the fence, so I’m not going to defend the Air Raid. I think it’s intriguing and plays well to our current personnel’s strengths/weaknesses better than a “pro” offense. A pro offense is essentially worthless with a poor offensive line and no running back. At the same time, I see a stockpile of WRs and think, “they can be used to offset the poor running game.”

            I think there are good arguments both ways given the players we have. That’s why I said a compromise of more 4wr sets and interchangeability might be best. No need to learn a new offense, yet get the best players on the field and hopefully get the ball out quickly to them.

            Two points that need resolution:

            1. There’s a logjam at WR (plus we have more on the way), and they’re our best play-makers. How can we get more of them on the field?
            2. What can Riley do this year (vs last) to further mask the offensive line?

            My suggestion is ultimately to use our strength, the WRs, in some capacity that resolves both these problems.

            Also, Gwachum needs to be converted to a hybrid TE! I really want to see this happen. Fine, play him at WR this year, but have a plan for him to put on 20lbs in the off season…

          • JackBeav says:
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            I don’t see any cons to putting in an Air Raid package within Riley’s offense. It too can be a situational or game heavy scheme. But it comes back to flexibility. Gadget heavy schemes don’t tend to make it to the elite on a consistent basis anymore. And I don’t use the term gadget as a pejorative. The option is a big part of college football history, but it needs heavy tweaks and brilliant play-calling to work at the highest levels, where parity is a reality. Defenses are catching up with the spread option with a variety of tactics, but Nikegon made it to the top with the speed game and play-calling which matched.

            All these offenses succeed at the highest levels because of high levels of talent and coaching coming together. For every one that succeeds, there are many stuck in the middle level, and more that just fail. So I think it comes back to those talent and coaching levels in the end. Riley has shown that he can beat the best of them on an inconsistent basis. Slow starts and fluctuating talent levels are a big problem. And static schemes regardless of talent adds to our frustration (which is what we’re talking about). But I do like the uptick in recruiting and how that will fit with this team in the future. I don’t think that helps us this year so much, and that’s where the case for installing fresh packages within our scheme comes in. But a wholesale change of the playbook sets us back now and for years to come. And I think it turns our recruiting upside down as we look for players who fit the new scheme.

          • angry angry says:
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            Ps. You forgot Zimmerman.

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      If memory serves, isn’t this how we surprised LSU a few years back? I think I remember DA dinking and dunking the ball short over the line a million times for short gains but the Tigers just couldn’t stop it.
      I need to see that game again!

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    I agree that Riley and OSU need to think hard about how best to take advantage of this team’s two obvious offensive strengths (1) a group of fast, sure-handed, athletic WRs that goes at least 5 deep, and maybe deeper; and (2) a QB with an unusually strong arm.

    I don’t think Riley will go for a classic Air Raid offense, with wide splits between linemen, the QB calling most of the plays via audible, and 75%+ of plays from scrimmage being passes, most of them 15 yards or less. As you rightly point out, it’s not clear that Ryan Katz is ready to handle all that (or that he ever will be).

    However, I do think Riley would and should consider trip formations (3 WRs on one side of the field with a fourth WR on the other side) and other formations utilizing 4 WRs. I’d like to see the Beavers shift into such formations at the line of scrimmage, and then quickly snap the ball. If the Beavers also play up-tempo, and freely substitute WRs in and out, I think most defenses would have a hard time keeping up.

    I get excited just thinking about plays where James Rodgers, Markus Wheaton, Jordan Bishop, Brandin Cooks, and Obum Gwacham are attacking a defense both vertically and horizontally. If Ryan Katz had time to throw (a big “IF”), there would be open receivers on practically every play. And of course there would be other attractive targets, too (Joe Halahuni, for example). Keep rotating WR’s to keep everyone fresh, and also to keep the defense confused.

    In addition to being hard to defend, this offense would be incredibly fun to watch (again, assuming that Ryan Katz could be protected enough to have time to find and hit open receivers). It would give the Beavers an identity that would be attractive to recruits and to TV audiences. And it would create a nice contrast with the Ducks and their explosive run-first offense.

    There is so much to recommend this strategy. I hope Riley and his staff are considering this, or something similar…..

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    Let’s take this all the way…bring in Mike Leach as an advisor.

    • ObjCritic says:
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      I think you go farther and offer him an Offensive Coordinator position. Every since Angry brought up the “Leach” and “Air Raid” ideas, I’ve thought that he could be brought in. Why?

      He’s “untouchable” right now as a head coach until his name clears;

      A O-coordinator position, where you tell him, “Go get us 40+ points a game,” and he doesn’t have to worry about the other head coaching duties allows him to coach again get back into good graces;

      Within about 3 years, OSU is enjoying 9+ win seasons, Alamo/Holiday bowl or better, and Leach’s phone would start ringing again;

      Riley’s low key nature is a good counterbalance and keeps control in the program, and minimizes even the appearance of Leach mistreating players;

      Recruiting improves (more Texas connections, if you’re a highly ranked QB or WR, who impresses you more, Leach or Langsdorf?), wins go up, season ticket sales increase;

      You plan for him to be a short-timer – who’s out there that you begin to think of as your next coordinator?

      I recognize Riley would never be this bold, but its fun to think about. Wheaton (if he stays next year), Gwacham, Bishop, Cooks, Zimmerman, Mullaney, Gillmore….Katz, Vaz (?),Ashton (?), Vanderveen, Harrington… Throw in Storm Woods, Terron Ward, Tyner…it sounds pretty compelling.

    • helmsley says:
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      Leach, smeech. You want an offensive line coach? Jason McAdoo, Montana State is your guy.

      http://www.msubobcats.com/coaches.aspx?rc=126&path=football

      Also, as much as you guys bang on about “getting into Texas” the Bobcats have 11 players from Texas on their roster.

  • billy says:
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    Abnere has fled to the Oregonian site in which he replies to a remark by thanking the person and then says how nice it is to finally run into someone with a brain whom understands the unique positions of the O-line. His idiocy does indeed astound! Absolutely unfuckin’believeable! Obviously Angry knows not what the Hell he is saying when he says we don’t have an O-line that can run block.

    • abnere says:
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      Actually played 3 years starting lineman in the PAC 10. Coached 15 years 5 A High School too. Your resume?

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    Oh, what a wonderful world we’d all live in if Coach Riley was creative…Air Raid? revolutionary changes in coaching staff?

    …pipe dreams abound!

  • Beavocalypse says:
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    In other news, Buker still has his head up Brandon Hardin’s ass, even celebrating what was a moment where Hardin hit someone when he wasn’t even covering and comparing it to the time when Keaton Kristick performed a hard, late hit on Jacquizz Rodgers as a freshman.

    As if all of this is a “good” thing.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      My report on Day 3 of camp largely omitted BH because more than enough BH-bashing has already taken place, and it’s no longer new or interesting. So I didn’t mention Colby Prince beating BH deep in 11-on-11 drills. Or BH starting to give receivers more room at the line of scrimmage to avoid being out-quicked. Or BH delivering bush-league late hits to freshman receivers.

      BH is starting to remind me of Calvin Haynes — dumb plays that hurt the team combined with excessive swagger and ego. I got so sick of Calvin Haynes and his selfish play towards the middle of last season that I could no longer watch Beaver basketball games. I don’t want to get to that point with BH and Beaver football, so I think I’m just going to try to ignore BH as best I can. Let me just say that, based on three days of camp, I think Brandon Hardin remains a deeply flawed player who should not be starting at CB for the Beavers.

      • Beavocalypse says:
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        silver, you’ve been doing a great job dude. I really appreciate your reports from camp. Haven’t been able to go myself yet, hope I can do so soon.

        Hardin is the Pankey of CB’s.

        It’s like there is a family tree of Dumb on the defensive side of the ball. Kristick-> Pankey -> Hardin…I’m pretty sure the next celebrated fucktard will emerge from the media ashes if this season goes south.

        • Alex says:
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          I thought Kristick was a solid LB…what’s your problem with him?

          • osbeavs says:
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            He was a complete dick off the field and was selfish on it. He didn’t bring enough to the table to be so egotistical.

  • ean says:
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    The thing I don’t really like about a pure passing attack like the air raid is it relies a lot on short yardage completions and YAC. This is fine and dandy with our receivers and all but our QB has not shown great touch as of yet.

    I do agree we need to see more 3 and 4 WR sets. I think we will see a lot of subbing at the WR spot. Work in guys to create mismatches based on skill sets.

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    I’d love to see OSU do something really creative and bold, such as replacing Langdorf with Mike Leach.

    But, failing that, at a minimum let’s take advantage of our depth at WR this season. A good start would be to have our WR’s run hard every play, including plays on the opposite side of the field, away from the ball. Don’t let our WR’s (or their defensive backs) take any plays off. Swap our WRs in and out frequently, so our guys stay fresh. When one or more of the defensive backs start to tire (and some of them certainly will) pick up the tempo and attack the weak links aggressively. This is an easy plan to execute. I’d love to see us do much more, but at least let’s do something like this….

  • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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    I’ve been calling for them to go to the air raid for quite some time. I think it would be the perfect fit for Katz and the offense. They have the wide receivers who will be at their best when they’re out in space. The receivers can take a WR screen or a slant and take it to the house. If you have Cooks, Rodgers, Wheaton, Bishop and Gwachum on the field at the same time the offense will be a nightmare for defenses. You have guys who can grab 10-15 yards every catch if you play off them and you have guys if you try and play bump and run with can beat you deep. Defenses will be in between and the offense would be explosive.

    This offense does help mask some of the weaknesses. They don’t have a star RB right now and an offense like this you don’t need one. The blitzes won’t be as big of an issue and the offensive line doesn’t have to pass block as long.

    This offense also takes some of the beating off Katz and he can sit back in the shotgun and analyze and study the defense presnap. Ryan’s touch and accuracy should be better and I think a lot of short throws he would be good with. I’d like to see Riley have them go no huddle quite a bit. I would disagree that Ryan doesn’t necessarily have to audible. The coaches can give him the audible. He can look over to the sideline to see what the coaches wanna do and audible from there. Many programs do this and it would help Ryan until he’s ready to do all the audibles on his own.

    • oneoldbeav says:
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      No huddle based on two plays at a time brought in from sideline would be a starting point which doesn’t require the audible. Sure it has a downside and won’t be likely under Langs but it would be a way to pressure opposing defenses even if used only 2-3 times per game.

  • NCAA_viOlation NCAA_viOlation says:
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    After watching practice yesterday, I’d have to say that everybody’s concerns with the O-line are still very valid. Spent much of the time watching Coach Cav berate his players with expletives, and the O-linemen would usually just react with a shrug or an aw-shucks type of body language whenever they would screw up (which was often). In contrast, the defense practiced with a great fire and energy and when they broke from huddles, they sounded like the warriors from that movie “300”. If the O-line doesn’t develop some attitude soon, I see these softies becoming pushovers again this year and frustrations from other offensive players soon to follow.
    The good news, Isaac Seumalo was standing out there with the O-line group and he was soaking everything in. The guy had an all business approach and was focused on every part of the practice. He has good size already as a high school senior but could still stand to pack on some lbs. That will happen with time. Standing next to him was Darryl Jackson III. Very large guy. He wasn’t nearly as focused as Seumalo, snickering and laughing every time Cavanaugh would curse out one of the players. Both of the young guys look to have the size to help improve our O-line next year. Hopefully Seumalo can influence some of these guys to take their positions seriously next year.

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      Cliff just posted an article about Remmers as the leader of the O-line. Cliff’s article ends with this quote: ““I expect to have a dominant offensive line,” Remmers said. “The past couple years we haven’t done as well as we should have. We are trying to break on through here.”

      Full pads start tomorrow/Friday. That’s when I’ll start watching the O-line closely during practices. Looking forward to it (since so much depends on the O-line playing better this season than last….)

    • ObjCritic says:
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      That’s disappointing. Despite all the fanfare for Cav, it sounds like his constant yelling is resulting in players tuning him out. That would explain the inconsistency in both individual technique and play from game to game.

      You can’t use JUST foul language and threats of punishment to motivate. On the flip side, I’m glad to hear the D seems to have a sense of unity and energy.

    • abnere says:
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      You forgot to mention that Cav was yelling at the 2s &3s, not the 1st string

      • NCAA_viOlation NCAA_viOlation says:
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        Cav was yelling the whole time, so it was hard to tell who it was directed towards. I saw him chew out Frahm yesterday, so I wouldn’t say it was totally directed at just the reserves.

  • brownale9000 says:
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    If we were going to go to an air raid offense, we would have needed to get started a lot earlier than now. I think there were just too many injuries to fully implement a new offense like that.

    Hopefully we add some new wrinkles to the existing offense, but a full overhaul doesn’t seem likely. And I don’t think it’s lack of creativity or foresight or whatever else people will sling at the coaching staff. At one point in spring practice we had 3 healthy WR and were without our starting QB. Tough to learn a ton of new stuff with that many guys out.

  • ean says:
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    Anyone think Catching can finally pull together a decent season? Or is he a lost cause at this point… haven’t heard his name much.

    • angry angry says:
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      He’s been getting first team reps due to injuries, but I think Cooks will begin to steal those reps. I’d say Catchings is a lost cause–he doesn’t have good hands.

      • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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        I agree with Angry. The window of opportunity for Catchings closed when Brandin Cooks arrived. In camp so far, after three days, there seem to be a lot of WRs ahead of Catchings (JR, Wheaton, Bishop, Gwacham, Cooks, probably Kevin Cummings, and maybe even Geno Munoz). Unless several of those guys get hurt, I dont’ think Catchings sees the field much this season.

      • ObjCritic says:
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        I have a photo I took of Canfield unleashing a 40-yard bomb to Catchings against Arizona. Catchings had a 3-step lead on his defender and dropped a sure TD pass…..never been impressed with his hands and just hope Riley will move on to the superior talent rather than defer to Catchings seniority and “tough breaks….”

      • Beavocalypse says:
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        Catchings is a giant walking talking misnomer.

  • OStateBro says:
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    Two things I want to know more about.

    1. Running Backs
    2. Kicker

    I have read all of the limited coverage the media has given the running back situation (no clear favorite, freshman have a shot, McCants looks good but has the same old issues that have always plagued him).

    I want to know, who is getting the most reps? Who passes the eyeball test? Any young guys looking good? I am convinced Stevenson and Jenkins are not the answer. So that leaves McCants and the kids.

    Kicker – Is this kid Serna v2.0 or is he a Kahut clone that is going to make me nauseous every time we kick an extra point?

    • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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      I have been getting to practices too late to see the special teams and kicking game drills (which seem to be occurring near the start of practice), so can’t help at all on that.

      As for the running game, Terron Ward and Ryan McCants seem to be getting most of the first team reps. However, until full pads and hitting/tackling start, I don’t think there is much basis for evaluation of the running backs. Since full pads start tomorrow/Friday, that should change soon….

  • beavers4life says:
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    Angry, just so you know, I can’t remember which article and I’m not in the mood to go searching for the exact quote at the moment, but I do know that Katz said to I believe the Oregonian that the WR’s have been running each others routes in the voluntary workouts.

  • beaver in the desert says:
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    Katz did say that. I thought it was in the GT…

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    July 29 Kirkpatrick blog regarding receivers running all routes from all positions…

    • beavers4life says:
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      Thanks for the clarification. I’m home in bed with an upset stomach and chills..no fever..yet. :\

  • beavers4life says:
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    Just found this on the ESPN Pac-12 Blog! OSU #23 in the USA today computer polls pre-season! Not sure if this is a good thing or not considering how many question marks we have on our team.

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt11.htm

    • osbeavs says:
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      USA reporting but not their computer. That is one of 6 bcs computers, doesn’t mean much though until their is data from games to input, that is why bfax doesn’t come out until midseason.

      p.s. the sagarin computer model always favors the pac, especially osu. In ’08 we were number 2 at one point.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Cliff says no news for Castro yet. Riley will likely announce what’s up tomorrow.

    Thomas Tyner is at practice today according to his Tweets.

  • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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    What do you guys think of Eduardo Middleton? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DluuO368DMA

    Beavers are in his top 3

    • NCAA_viOlation NCAA_viOlation says:
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      He looks big and clumsy, but nobody pushes him around in his highlight film. Looks like he can take on 2 guys at once if he needs too.

    • JackBeav says:
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      What’s nice is that sometimes you can watch players on their teammates’ vids:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js5-qSClnl4&feature=related

      That’s Grant Bays, who I think would make an excellent interior lineman. I think Middleton is the same. He has a great first step and keeps low on drive blocks, but he has a slow drop step and hits on top of the shoulders in pass pro.

  • NCAA_viOlation NCAA_viOlation says:
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    Went to today’s practice again. Great weather and a nice way to spend a lazy afternoon if you have the luxury of spending a lazy afternoon in Corvallis.

    Didn’t see the kicking team at all today. Not sure if they were in the indoor facility or at Reser. Been interested to see how things look but didn’t get the opportunity. Saw some punt coverage and return work going on across the field. It was difficult to see much from where I was sitting because they were 2 fields away.

    Up close was the receiving squad. Again, they looked pretty good for the most part. The quarterbacks were throwing well too. Saw Catchings drop a couple of easy ones. Cooks looks like he has speed after the catch that will serve the team well. Rodgers had by far the quickest footwork in the cone drills and he also ran pretty confident and crisp routes. Don’t think he dropped a pass all day. Bishop looked decent. I know the ankle recovery has slowed him up a bit but he’s coming along nicely. Hi did get chewed out by Brent Brennan at one point for doing something wrong in the 2 minutes drill but I couldn’t tell what the problem was. Brennan was pissed. Quacham is a beast. First time I’ve seen him up close. He’s maybe a little clumsy running his routes, but he’s a good 6″ taller than any other receiver out there and looks like he’d be hard to tackle after the catch. He also had a highlight real over the shoulder leaping grab against the D that had the crowd cheering. (when I say crowd, I mean 40-50 people tops. not a lot of people at practice but I highly recommend going if you have the time) Saw some good grabs by Mulaney and Trosin (i think?) but they also were getting alot of 1 on 1 coaching during drills because of bad technique. Wheaton looks great. Catches almost everything thrown his way and very fast up the field after the catch. Katz was throwing bullets and was on the money all day. Didn’t get to see him with much defensive pressure so it’s hard to say if he keeps the accuracy up in game time situations.

    Saw the O-line a little but didn’t get close enough to pick up on who was playing well and who wasn’t. Really hard to tell until they start hitting at full strength. Again, Isaac Seumalo was attentively standing by and soaking up everything. By the time he’s a freshman, he’ll have the mental experience of a Sophomore or better. Really looking forward to seeing him this year. Jackson wasn’t visible for much of practice but I did see him on the field in the final hour observing. Frahm was doing a pretty good job of getting the O linemen pumped up between drills it looked like. He would yell at the group as they ran to the next station and the rest of the group would chant something back. Still, not much fire with these guys but I saw some improvement in body language over yesterday.

    Didn’t get to see the D much at all because they were on the opposite side of the second field.

    Also, didn’t see much of the running backs either unfortunately. Probably won’t get a good idea for what they can do until they start getting into full contact drills. I did see Ward being used in short passing plays on a few occasions. The guy looks to have good hands and speed. Other than that there was really not much else of not I could pick up on the RB’s today.

    Seeing Brennan up close makes me realize the guy has a way of communicating with his players and the players listen to every word. He’s encouraging when he needs to be but he also gets on there ass when they’re not performing to the best of their abilities. Good hire so far.

    Another observation, saw Thomas Tyner out there with his girlfriend. He had a nice looking OS jacket. He pretty much just watched the offensive scrimmage portion during the 2nd half. Didn’t see him in the first half. He shook hands with a few of the coaches but for the most part was just a wallflower out there. Still, encouraging to see such a talented guy excited to be involved with the Beavers.

    Saw Coach Casey briefly at the end of practice. No other sighting of note. Probably the last practice I’ll get to see before the season starts which is too bad because I’d like to see them with pads.

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      @NCAA_viOlation: Thanks for the report! I couldn’t make it to practice yesterday, but hope to attend part of today’s — the first practice with full pads.

      • oneoldbeav says:
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        ss and viOlation: Please keep up the good reporting. Many of us aren’t able to attend practice and your reports are such a refreshing balance to what the paid media puts out. Thank you both!

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      I’m heading down to practice today from Beaverton. Practices occur at Reser and that field next to the Truax building correct? I’d really like to see the kickers in action.

      • NCAA_viOlation NCAA_viOlation says:
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        Yes, there’s seating alongside the Truax center and most of the players are practicing in that field. There’s a small section of bleachers along the building, about 3 steps tall. You might want to bring your own camping chair in case the bleachers get filled up. Also, there’s plenty of parking in the Reser stadium lot, but they require a $3.00 parking pass. I didn’t have any $1 or $5 bills on me yesterday and didn’t buy the pass. Didn’t get a ticket. Not sure if they police the parking when school is out? You should probably ask about where the kickers will be because I haven’t seen them on the main field much the last 2 days.

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        I don’t think they are ticketing right now. I parked in the Reser lot Mon-Wed without paying, and did not get ticketed. I’m going to keep doing this (including this afternoon) and I think it’s safe to do so.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Tyner was also seen in Riley’s office for a while with his *not* girlfriend (apparently she’s an OSU football groupie).

  • beavers4life says:
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    Is it Sept. 3rd yet?! I’m ready to get this season underway already! I’m itching to get back to Reser!!!

  • ObjCritic says:
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    Wow, WIlson claims he’s been putting in 12 hours per day on the Wisconsin playbook. He graduated in 3 years “for a reason” – he’s a quick learner. He’s surprised/impressed with the size of the o-linemen….none of this is good news for OSU, particularly if guys like Fafita end up playing at DT::

    http://www.oregonlive.com/collegefootball/index.ssf/2011/08/wisconsin_preview_russell_wils.html

    • Afghanbeav Afghanbeav says:
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      I don’t really understand how this guy is allowed to play for them? He graduated from NC State, then signed a minor league baseball contract? Yet he can legally transfer to another division 1 school and play? Without having to sit out? Can someone explain the loop hole used?

      • NCAA_viOlation NCAA_viOlation says:
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        He graduated so therefore, he was able to transfer, without sitting out a year, to a school with a masters program that NC State didn’t offer. Similar to the Jermiah Masoli situation last year with his “Parks and Recreation” masters program being offered at Ole Miss. Wonder what Ron Swanson thought of that?

      • JackBeav says:
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        They’re closing it (or modifying it) as we speak because of this specific transfer and a couple others. But the jist of the rule is that you go to college for school, and if you finish school before your eligibility is up, you can go to graduate school and play without penalty. At least that was the intent. I think as the rule is written now you can just do some post-bacc work and play.

        I’d be fine with the rule so long as the players and prospective teams/coaches can’t talk to each other until the student is admitted into an actual graduate program.

        • Afghanbeav Afghanbeav says:
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          What about his signing of a pro contract? Does it only apply to the sport you signed for?

          • Afghanbeav Afghanbeav says:
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            Thanks for the info guys.

          • JackBeav says:
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            Yup, unless it comes with any kind of endorsement deal which plays on the athlete’s fame as an athlete. Then s/he’s done in college, regardless of sport.

            That’s why Under Armor never showed Cam Newton modeling their apparel while he was still a student-athlete (during last year’s football season. But as soon as the BCS CG was done, they ran with that ad campaign in the open.

            It’s a good thing Cam has never been accused of taking money for going to Auburn, because one might think he had an agent and an endorsement deal throughout last season as well. Silly me for even thinking such a thing.

          • mckalk mckalk says:
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            Also, the Duke basketball player did the same thing and played QB for Syracuse a couple of years ago for one year.. I can’t remember his name (too lazy to google right now). He had an ok season.

          • osbeavs says:
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            Greg Paulus

  • OStateBro says:
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    Cliff’s article about Jordan Jenkins. He says that Riley sees McCants and Jenkins as the best options at RB on 1st and 2nd downs. That’s really concerning – Jenkins is not a every down Pac-10 back. Hopefully this is more of Cliff’s conjecture and Riley’s view changes as fall practice continues.

    http://www.gazettetimes.com/sports/article_ae62c688-c43f-11e0-b871-001cc4c03286.html

  • Afghanbeav Afghanbeav says:
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    I don’t really understand how this guy is allowed to play for them? He graduated from NC State, then signed a minor league baseball contract? Yet he can legally transfer to another division 1 school and play? Without having to sit out? Can someone explain the loop hole used?

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      He graduated from NC State, so he enrolled in a post-grad program. If you have your bachelor’s degree, you don’t have to sit out a year because you’ve completed the undergraduate acedemic requirements from that school (not a transfer – a graduation).

      Playing minor league baseball does not affect college football elegibility.

  • OStateBro says:
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    Masaniai sentence reported – Attempted coercion gets him $1,100 in fines and fees. 180 days in jail with 177 days suspended upon successful completion of 18 months supervised probation AND the domestic violence intervention program.

    Who thinks Riley lets him stay on the team?

  • JackBeav says:
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    Buker Tweets:
    OSU DT Castro Masaniai sentencing this morning: 2 charges dismissed, pled guilty to attempted coercion, $1100 in fines and fees …
    ..180 day jail sentence, 18 mos supervised probation. However, 177 jail days suspended upon successful completion of probation and ..
    ..the domestic violence intervention program. This info. comes from Benton County Courthouse. Waiting for Riley to give his status w/team

    • JackBeav says:
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      I wonder what Benton County law enforcement would do about this:

    • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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      Guys get no breaks on those domestic violence things. Comeon, Riley — give the man a break.

      • JackBeav says:
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        I kinda loathe an incident where manhandling a woman is involved. There are Duck deniers out there who constantly want you to read LMJ’s police report, as if there was nothing there. Then they blame the victim, call her all sorts of guano loco, and deride her for turning him in.

        Well, LMJ was turned in by his neighbors, and the police were going to just drop the case until they went to interview the girl (the next day), who denied anything serious happened. But those pesky cops saw physical evidence on her person that scared the shit out of them. The bruising on her neck and body was (as one cop friend told me) so bad that they couldn’t ignore it, and it couldn’t be explained away by “I fell” or “a door hit me”… both of which she tried to explain.

        This incident was done in a crowded place, and who knows how bad it was. But there was manhandling going on. I just question how it would be handled if it was John Wayne instead of Darky McDarkskin. I don’t think anyone at McDonald’s was giving Castro a stick with which he could beat the non-compliant woman.

        • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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          There was some domestic manhandling up here (near Corbett) a year ago … wife took a chain saw to hubby and dismembered the sumbiich. Never said why.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Just in via Buker Tweet:
    Riley verdict on Masaniai: He will miss one game. He is supposed to be back at practice TODAY

  • ean says:
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    From a football standpoint it is good to see he will be on the team. It is always nice to have size in the middle but I only recall being impressed with Massiani for like one game then he kind of faded away. With this incident I got to wonder how committed he was to improving in the offseason. Hopefully he is ready to play and in decent shape.

    Sounds like the guy needs some help to get through some issues on a personal level. Even if the accusations were exaggerated it is still not cool what happened.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      I agree, I can also do without the quotes from players about his “being a brother and I don’t know the details”. He’s a teammate, ask him the damn details and also ask him how he could be so stupid as to jeopardize the gifts he has been given by doing some dumb crap inside a McDonald’s.

  • ObjCritic says:
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    Check out Wisconsin’s two-deep for the o-line – listed weights range from 313 – 343 pounds:

    http://collegefootball.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1250804

    Across the line, I’d guess OSU is going to be averaging 270-280 range? The linebackers and safeties are going to be very busy, particularly with a QB who can run. OSU will need some TO’s to stay in this one….

  • JackBeav says:
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    Off topic…
    Jake Rodriguez has been somewhat sub-par over the summer for the Falmouth Commodores of the Cape Cod League. But since they began the playoffs, he’s been on a tear. They begin the best of three championship series tonight.

    His stats for the league and playoffs:
    http://www.pointstreak.com/baseball/player.html?playerid=142717

    Susac signed to play with Falmouth as well, but he never showed. With the signing deadline on Monday and Susac being drafted by his favorite team, I expect him to sign with them on Monday and be gone. The 85th pick got a $417k bonus, and the 87th pick got one of $405k. About a month ago I saw a report that Susac was expecting a number close to what the Giants paid their #29 overall pick ($1.1-1.2m). The Phillies offered him somewhere in the neighborhood of $750k two years ago, and all the prognosticators say he would be a top ten pick next year if he stays healthy. So the Giants have a bigger incentive to get him signed than he has in just wanting to play for his boyhood team.

    • BeaverBeliever20 says:
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      I actually don’t expect Susac to sign. I think he will be back. I saw Jake has finally got it going, good to see. I also saw that Ryan Gorton has really swung the bat well for the Knights. He’s hit over .300 and his defense behind the plate has really improved. He really has been impressive. If Susac does actually sign, Gorton would be a good fit behind the plate.

  • JackBeav says:
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    Anyone have a live stream for Miami @ Atlanta?

    NFL.com keeps a live game center running. Quizz hasn’t done anything yet, and Moore will be the #2 QB for Miami (competing against Henne for the starting job).

    • JackBeav says:
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      I found this:
      http://p2pstreams.eu/nfl2.html

    • JackBeav says:
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      Several drives for both sides:
      Chad Henne sucks.
      Matt Moore looks like an NFL back-up with some upside, but nothing magical.
      Atlanta looks really good this year.
      Julio Jones was worth the move on draft day.
      Turner and Snelling are already sitting, but Gartrell Johnson and Antone Smith but getting reps in Atlanta’s backfield… no Quizz. Apparently Quizz doesn’t need any practice getting tackled. 🙂
      And wow! Johnson and Smith are not very good at any one facet of the game… except maybe running into the line and falling down.

      • JackBeav says:
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        So Johnson blows the read on a double blitz through the C gap, and JP Wilson loses the ball on the sack at his own 28 with :21 on the clock.

        Matt Moore steps in and hits his man, who was wide open due to blown coverage, for a TD.

        Gotta love pre-season football.

        Quizz finally came in and lined up as one of two deep backs for the ensuing kick-off, but the other guy took the ball and got torqued down and sideways on a good tackle.

      • JackBeav says:
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        Quizz’ first run goes inside the LT for 8 yards… five of those yards with a defender on his back. He was blown up on his first pass pro, but he’ll learn to gain leverage for those hits.

      • JackBeav says:
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        Ha! Quizz needs to realize that whenever he gets near a defender they’re going to put a shoulder into him. On 3rd and goal, he ran a chip and release to the right, except the D-lineman put a shoulder into him and knocked him on his butt.

        Rookie!

      • JackBeav says:
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        Moore bounces back after an INT with a perfect throw to the back of the endzone on theird and goal from the four. THAT was a pretty toss.

      • JackBeav says:
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        Miami really has no running game to speak of. They drafted Daniel Thomas at the end of the second round, and he looks like an undrafted rookie out there. Kory Sheets had one nice run but nothing since. Lex Hilliard has been as effective as the other two with three yards on two carries.

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    Just back from Beaver football practice Day 5 (first day with full gear). Lots of fans at practice today, probably because there is a Beaver BBQ with Mike Riley right after practice (sorry I couldn’t stay for that….might have gotten to ask MR a question about how he plans to take advantage of the depth at WR…)

    Castro Masaniai was at practice today (no pads or helmet) and did some light work on the sleds. He also participated in a quickness/agility drill inside Truax, and looked surprisingly agile for a guy of his (huge) size.

    The defensive linemen worked on technique a lot today, including getting under the O-line’s pads, getting past/over cut-blocks, and beating double-teams in the “A” gap. The group is working hard, and looks to be taking their jobs seriously. Kevin Frahm is pushing everyone along in a good-natured but loud way. I also saw Frahm trying to help out the O-line with some tips during a shared drill (good to see this type of teamwork).

    In the 11-on-11 drills, there was genuine hitting on the line, and I thought the defensive line — overall — had the better of the play. There were numerous “hurries” on the QB, a few sacks (without actually taking down the QB, of course), and also some tipped passes. The O-line did not seem to be getting much downfield push on the d-line, and also struggled to form and maintain a pocket for the QB on passing plays.

    However, when the QBs had time, they were often able to hit open receivers in the secondary. Brandin Cooks continues to impress, and is becoming a favorite target of the QBs. Kevin Cummings made some nice catches in traffic, too. Obum Gwacham had some drops today (including a bad drop of a touchdown pass where he got behind his defender way downfield in 11-on-11 drills) but also made some nifty catches. Trosin also dropped some balls again today (seems to be a recurring problem with Trosin) but was getting open with a series of nice, quick moves. When Trosin starts catching the ball better, I think he will be dangerous.

    The flip side of this, of course, is that receivers too often found themselves open downfield. The defensive backs made some good plays, but too many times were two steps behind their men. It’s still week 1 of camp, but there is reason to be concerned about pass coverage by our CBs and safeties (other than Poyer).

    The RBs finally got a chance to show something today, but none of them stood out, at least in the time that I was watching. Certainly didn’t see anyone ready to be the next Quizz, or anything close to it. But, again, it’s very early.

    • KC says:
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      What can you say about the linebackers? Puker noted that R.R. looked really good at OLB. I doubt that very much, but he even called him FAST. Hmmmm I’d like for that to be true… it’s hard to believe though.

      Great stuff SS. I enjoy reading your summaries.

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        @KC: I was trying to watch the linemen today. Next time I’ll watch the linebackers more closely. I didn’t see RR do anything so great today, but again I wasn’t really watching him….

  • jasonthebeaver jasonthebeaver says:
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    Riley’s response about the receivers was pretty vanilla, like every other answer. He said they have some good up & coming receivers. He also seemed less than excited about kicker Trevor Romaine’s possible performance this season, but said that he should become an excellent kicker.

  • Warren says:
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    Riley will be informed of another commitment tomorrow. No clue who it is as of yet.

  • HopefulBeav says:
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    What all did James Rodgers participate in, and if he was in full pads, how did he look?

    • HopefulBeav says:
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      This was directed to Silverstream.

      • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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        As usual this first week, James Rodgers participated in the non-contact drills, including running routes and catching the ball in drills where there were no defensive backs. James then goes to the sideline and sits out the rest of the drills where the receivers are playing against defenders and there is contact.

        James was in full pads yesterday/Friday. And of course he was wearing his knee brace (3d day with the brace). James looked good in the drills and looked more solid catching the ball than he did at the start of the week. If one didn’t know about last season’s serious knee injury — and the two operations in the off-season — one would not suspect that anything was wrong with JR when watching him in the non-contact drills. After the non-contact drills ended yesterday, James spent the time on the sideline watching the contact drills, and talking and smiling with teammates and trainers. He did not take off his brace or put a cold pack on his knee. So far, very good, as best I can tell….

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          With Wheaton and others do they really even need to risk having James fly sweep this year? It’s seems like the fly sweep has reached saturation point anyway.

          • VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
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            In practices so far, Brandin Cooks has gotten a reps running the fly sweep. And of course Wheaton has, too. I hope this means that the coaches are thinking of running fewer fly sweeps with James, to reduce risk.

          • sparkyd73 says:
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            I understand the concern of running JR, but if we don’t use JR for the fly sweep and limit him on kick/punt returns, then you really hurt him overall in his draft status. He is either back or he is not, maybe start the season a bit conservative but by the time Pac12 starts I would like to see them use his skillset if he has it to use. I like Wheaton – but I don’t think he has the same vision or decision making when running the fly sweep. I am very impressed with the little film that I’ve seen with Cooks – he looks very much like the frosh JR.

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    Some additional notes from Friday’s practice:
    *They ran 3 FG plays for each kicker Trevor Romaine and Max Johnson(who is left footed). They were on the far field so it was hard to see but I saw Romaine nail a 45 yarder with at least 10 yards to spare, then miss the next one wide left.
    *We know WR Gwacham is tall at 6′-5″, but he appears even taller. The contrast of seeing him and James Rodgers is funny. Saw Gwacham drop more than his share of passes and it seems from some others close to the team that this is normal. If he gets his hands right we could have a world-beater.
    *Noticed they had the TE’s running 25 yard routes. Also TE #89 Connor Hamlett at 6′-7″ was running crisp routes for such a big guy. Looked better than my favorite TE Joe the Tank! I like Hamlett’s future if the staff will utilize our TE’s in the passing game more. I would say the weakest looking TE was freshman Kellen Clute. Looked very much like a freshman and unsure of himself. Let’s hope he grows in confidence.
    *Watching the off and def lineman hit each other during drills doesn’t really reveal much to me because you can tell they’re not really going full speed for any length of time. They’re working more on technique from Coach Cavanaugh.

    Most other practice observed was too far away for me to really discern much.

  • ???? ????? says:
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