A crowd of 8,263 turned out on a warm evening at Reser Stadium to see Oregon St. scrimmage to wrap up spring football. The first couple of series were 7 on 7 exercises, and at least 3/4 of the playing time went to a variety of players who will be 3rd string or lower on the depth chart come fall, but several things could be gleaned from the evening.
One thing that won't be gleaned is the identity of who will start, though. Sean Mannion took the series with the 1's, and Cody Vaz the 2's, in contrast to most of the reps in recent practices. However, it was Mannion that suffered the red zone interception, when Ryan Murphy picked off a pass from a back-pedaling Mannion who was under pressure (an old problem with Mannion's first reaction to pressure that seemingly hasn't changed), and Vaz, below, who threw a touchdown.
With Storm Woods out, Terron Ward took the "1 reps" at running back, and performed well. Chris Brown and LB Joel Skotte, below, saw as much action as anyone, as they worked most of the night, as head coach Mike Riley clearly wanted both to get all the reps possible. It's hard to envision a scenario not involving an injury in which Skotte shouldn't be the starting MLB come August 31 when the Beavers host Eastern Washington to kick off the 2013 season.
Brandin Cooks continues to be essentially uncoverable at wide receiver, but Cooks was also clearly the best kick returner, below, and punt returner on the field tonight.
As far as who will fill out the receiving corps, Obum Gwacham, above, had a good night, and may, with a strong finish to spring practices, have laid claim to the second WR spot. Micah Hatfield, below, also had a good evening, and Richard Mullaney, who missed spring ball rehabbing, has his work cut out for him come August if he wants to beat out Hatfield.
Other observations from the evening include the fact that Riley, with 6 serviceable tight ends, has more depth at TE than some conferences, and the Beavers appear to have unprecedented athleticism, though essentially no height, in the secondary (tall receivers are going to present problems). However, there are only 6 offensive linemen that appear to be ready for Pac-12 football at this time. Last year, that worked out, and its going to take some time before reinforcements are ready again this season.
With Trevor Romaine out with a concussion, placekicking was something of an adventure, but Riley Harper did show some range.
Riley and the staff will have plenty of video footage of specific things for each individual to work on between now and August, and for that reason, there was a fair amount accomplished tonight, but in fact, several recent practices were sharper than most of this evening's proceedings.
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)