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Oregon St. Defense Ahead Of Offense

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The Oregon St. defense was quick to close down most plays in today's practice.
The Oregon St. defense was quick to close down most plays in today's practice.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

Oregon St. offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh hasn't been sleeping well as the Beavers go through their first week of summer drills in preparation for the upcoming season, and based on today's action, Cav will be tossing and turning again tonight.

The offensive line continues to be in a state of churn, and it became moreso toady, after Grant Bays had to take the day off. Bays' back problems that knocked him out of the latter stages of spring ball have resurfaced, adding another issue on top of trying to decide on a left tackle. Both Fred Lauina and Nolan Hansen took turns in Bays absence with the first string at right guard.

Meanwhile, Cav decided to try planned right tackle Gavin Andrews on the left side, and move converted tight end Dustin Stanton to the right side.

"We want to see it, and put the guys in the best spots," Cav told reporters. "I would just like to have that progress a little bit. And we always have to have that versatility, because you never know what's gonna happen. We want to see how it looks, and if that's their best spots, Stanton at right tackle and Andrews at left tackle, then we'll flip it."

Compounding the issue for the offense, Connor Hamlett watched practice, still awaiting an x-ray on his foot, and head coach Mike Riley said Hamlett's knee could also have an issue. He was walking around at practice showing no ill affects, but then he wasn't doing anything taxing. Diagnostic plans have been included to schedule an MRI as well.

Caleb Smith was also showing affects of the heat and all the extra work as well, which means extra reps for Kellen Clute, and makes the arrival of transfer 5th year senior Jacob Wark suddenly very important.

Having already moved Stanton from TE to the o-line, and just this week moving Ryan Nall to RB, Riley moved 5th year transfer Iona Pritchard from fullback to tight end.

All the upheaval led to a lot of issues in the 11 on 11 drills, and right now, whether its would be sacks of Sean Mannion, deflections, interceptions, or quick shut downs of both running and short passes, the defense is currently way ahead of the offense.

The veteran defense has their assignments down pretty well, whereas the mix and match o-line isn't operating as a single entity yet, too many routes aren't being run right, and the tight end position isn't ready to be the antidote for all offensive ills that it normally is counted on to be.

The Obum Gwacham experiment at DE appears to be coming along well, Dylan Wynn is Dylan, and Ty Zimmerman is flying all over the place.

And DT Jason Grimble, who is being counted on to contribute, made a statement with a deflection of a Mannion pass that he almost was able to hold onto for an interception, easily the most athletic play I've seen him make since arriving in Corvallis from Miami.

As a result, there was a lot of hooping and hollering by the boys in the black shirts today.

As my "glass is always half full of sunshine" BTD cohort RVM pointed out, given some of the problems over the last few years, the defense playing well is a pretty good thing.

And Robert as usual is spot on. I'm not so sure Cav or Sean will sleep any better tonight knowing that though!

Other player updates

RB Damien Haskins is still on limited duty, after having his knee cleaned up surgically, but he was running and working with the trainers on ramping up his activities today, and should be back in action before long.

CB Dashon Hunt's hamstring kept him out of action for another day as well. The plan is for Hunt to be held out of action tomorrow and Saturday as well, but is expected to return on Monday.

One player who won't be coming onto the field for the Beavers is 3-star JC transfer CB Demarlon Morris, who has been released from his Letter of Intent, and will enroll at Division II Tarelton St. Morris was not able to qualify academically at Oregon St.

The full pads go on for the first time for tomorrow's 10:20 AM practice, which preceeds the annual Bar-b-que with the Beavers lunch. The post-practice get together will also feature a detachment from the Oregon State University Marching Band, comprised of some of the returning members who are on campus or in town this summer.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com