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Odds and Ends from Practice

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I visited today's practice and have some various thoughts and observations from the experience.

  • Andy had discussed how the Beavs had done little special teams and so they spent just short of the first hour working on that. Victor Bolden was very involved in all of returns action and even more when the defense and offenses broke off.
  • Reports are correct about Bolden, he is extremely fast and will probably see some time on the field, although with Brandin Cooks in front of him I question how much he will get. He was running the fly sweep in practice today though and looked very good doing it. All this time with Cooks just observing is really allowing Bolden to get a substantial amount of time witht the first team offense. He also looked excellent with screen passes.
  • Tyler Anderson also was running with the kickoff units which bodes well for his availability, but it does still look he has a little hitch in his giddy-up.
  • Dylan Wynn runs with the 1st team kickoff coverage and punting units. I always come away impressed with him, he works harder than just about anybody out there.
  • Joel Skotte is a stout guy when you see him in person, he definitely looks the part of a middle linebacker. Siale Hautau and Edwin Delva are definitely an appropriate size for their positions as well, they are both massive. Unfortunately I did not get to see much of the defense as they were on the other side of the field and I was primarily interested in the Mannion-Vaz battle. Must be nice to have a press pass.
  • In the kicking game Romaine was automatic on extra points but then shanked a 45 yard kick and I think the other went in, but it was hard to tell. Riley Harper is not going to chase Romaine from his spot though when he clanked an extra point off an upright.
  • After that the defense and Kyle Kempt went to the far side of the field where it looked like they were looking at understanding their assignments. Poor Kempt had to spend the entire day being quarterback for the defense while the offense worked.
  • The offense started working first on handoffs, which went well. The units would then break up for some individual work after that, although the wide receivers and tight ends moved with the quarterbacks mostly as well.
  • Right after the handoff drills the tight ends went to do some footwork drills and Caleb Smith really stood out there, his feet were exceptionally quick. Connor Hamlett was less impressive, but he has proven his mettle in game.
  • When the whole offense reunited there was a mixture of some passing and handoffs. The units broke away agian and then reunited for one more session led by Riley who was getting very far into the route tree. He was detailing how to use the position and routes of others for the running backs to take their options and for the slot receiver. He turned away tot talk to the other side as well though so I missed a fair amount of what he was saying.
  • That wrapped things up and then the players and staff went on the slip and slide as mentioned by Andy, which they had a blast with. It's worth noting that coach Cavanaugh was the first one to go.
  • Mannion and Vaz were even in my eyes today, close to the same accuracy, velocity, and missed passes. They each played better than the other at times, but nothing really made one stand out from the other. Riley has a got a difficult choice this weekend.
  • Malik Gilmore got a lot of reps today although I can only recall one instance where he actually got the ball thrown to him. Gwacham got a lot of time out there and made me contemplate the possibility of a Gilmore-Gwacham-Hamlett unit with likely Brandin Cooks, but that makes for an extremely tall bunch of pass catchers, I imagine just about any defense would be in trouble with that amount of height.
  • Also Gwacham is big, he does not look like a college student and for a wide receiver he is absolutely huge. If he can put it together in games he would be a tremendous boost to the offense.
  • Hunter Jarmon was rocking an awesome flat top.
  • Sean Harlow was running with the 2s at LT, I don't relish the idea of having a true freshman go up against an opponents's top pass rusher.
  • Isaac Seumalo was out with a knee bruise, but Mullaney was back in, although he did not do much that caught my eye.
  • DJ Alexander was getting around without crutches today although he was walking gingerly.
  • OSU practices must have the highest number of dogs of any school. There were several today and I recall last year at a Reser practice one attendee was playing catch with his dog on the steps.
  • The music was also an eclectic mix, with "Call Me Maybe" to Rush to Jay-Z to Daft Punk. There was a chain of 80s music for awhile too. Also "Surfin' Bird" which took home grand prize for bizarre music choice.
This is what I really took away from the practice. There was not a lot of direct competition, the day was spent figuring out the mental aspects of the game. Also it is near impossible to not like this team, when the head coach is a great guy and they have activities like the slip n' slide. The fact they the Beavs are one of the last Pac-12 teams with open practices definitely makes it inviting as well.

Go Beavs!