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Oregon St. Puts The Pads On

WR Malik Gilmore and CB Steven Nelson square off in practice Tuesday in Truax..
WR Malik Gilmore and CB Steven Nelson square off in practice Tuesday in Truax..
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Day 3 of spring football practice at Oregon St. saw the Beavers in full pads for the first time, and action that looked a lot more like football, though nothing earthshaking was observed.

My impressive player of the day was LB D.J. Alexander, who was night and day different than at the start of the week. Quarterback Sean Mannion seemed to notice the same thing, working on his "throw the ball away to a patch of green" form multiple times when the play being practiced seemed to be blown up, with Alexander in the middle of it.

Offensively, while its still likely that Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith will get the starts and most of the downs at TE, right at the moment, I could argue that Kellen Clute and Tyler Perry are the best tight ends on the team. Head Coach Mike Riley won't mind that; despite the presence of new offensive coordinator John Garrett, Riley has made it known that he will be calling the plays when the season starts against Portland St. on Aug. 30, and Riley loves very little more than good tight ends.

And we saw all 4 of the Beavers' TEs with difference making plays last season. Look for that trend to continue.

In the all-too-early-to-jump-to-conclusions category, the good news is the defensive front 7 seems to be ahead of the offense, and where they were much of last season, when it comes to the run game between the tackles. It will be worth watching to see what might change next week with that, after the reformed offensive line has a chance to digest what they learned.

If Wednesday was characterized as something akin to a fire drill of a practice, today looked and felt much more "normal", like some of the pieces to the jig-saw puzzle are beginning to fit together.

One player not present was sophomore WR JC Grim from Bend, who has left the program for personal reasons. That puts a bit of a hole at Split End, where Grim was listed 3rd behind Richard Mullaney and Malik Gilmore, who also is listed at the slot, but redshirt freshman John Carroll, also from Bend, has looked good to date.

A possible future player was also on hand, as former California quarterback Zach Kline, who has committed to be at Oregon St. for summer camp and fall term, but will have to sit out the 2014 season before using his remaining 2 seasons of eligibility, timed an NCAA "Official" visit to coincide with a contact practice.

Practice continues each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the rest of the month, beginning at 10 AM, with the Spring Football Game Showcase event Saturday, May 3 at 1 PM.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com