Oregon St. fans watching practice today got a glimpse of thunder and lightning. Trouble is, it was by Mother Nature, which drove practice inside in the Truax Indoor Facility, and not by the offense, which is still struggling to keep up with the defense, now 9 days and 10 practices into pre-season preparations.
The coolest day of practices, just one day after the hottest day of the year, allowed for a lot more work, rather than a day spent just trying to survive.
TE Caleb Smith was back in action, and so was WR Richard Mullaney, although that didn't last long, as Mullaney re-aggravated the groin pull that put him out yesterday.
Victor Bolden was still out, but was running around more than some of the receivers in full gear, making sure newcomers got aligned correctly, and ran their routes right. The tradition of James Rodgers, Marcus Wheaton, and Brandin Cooks as a mentor is one Bolden has already embraced, and freshman Xavier Hawkins has been one of the primary beneficiaries. Hawkins is looking like the backup for Bolden, especially with Rahmel Dockery out again today with what has become a concerning head ache problem, due to its persistence.
RB Damien Haskins was finally at full speed, and Ryan Nall, who also took some kickoff returns today with Bolden out, looked like he could be a problem to handle with his size.
But RB Chris Brown had to leave practice early, with his left ankle iced, and FB Tyler Anderson did something to his left knee and or hamstring, and had to spend the latter portion of practice sitting on a folding chair.
The defense still has D.J. Alexander carrying a clipboard, so Jabral Johnson has moved back outside, with Rommel Mageo working with the 1st string at MLB.
CB Dashon Hunt was also back in action, and while its an open and unanswered question as to whether he or Larry Scott will land the job of replacing Rashaad Reynolds, the likelihood is both will be on the field a lot, with the one that doesn't get the CB start being the nickel, especially against pass-heavy opponents like California and Washington St.
The offensive line continues to be in a state of churn, and o-line coach Mike Cavanaugh can't seem to settle on a starting 5 he's comfortable with. As the days go by, this is becoming a real concern, because timing and execution as a unit, as well as communication, are the keys to any good line, regardless of the talent level.
Some of the uncertainty on special teams appears to be gone, as Steven Nelson, the fastest Beaver, will probably be the Beaver back on punt returns. Trevor Romaine appears to have staved off the challenges of Garrett Owens, and will remain Oregon St.'s place kicker, and punter Keith Kostol will be Romaine's holder for extra points and field goals.
The team has the evening off, but Wednesday will be another double day, with an evening session at 7 PM to follow the daily 10:20-1 extended lunch break session.
It was also announced today that for the Thursday night game against Utah, Oregon St. will wear their orange jerseys and helmets, though its still undecided whether they will wear the orange or the black pants.