Stormy weather prompted the Oregon St. football coaching staff to move Saturday's scrimmage that concluded the second week of the split spring practices inside the Truax indoor facility. This also resulted in closing the event to the public, and restricting general media access, similar to other practices, over space issues (even though we all managed to get through countless sessions inside Truax previously without incident). This limited assessment of progress since last Saturday, but glimpses we did get, and information pieced together, indicates that freshman early enrollee Seth Collins is emerging as the quarterback for the Beavers, at least if he can survive long enough to do so.
Collins, recruited to fit into new coach Gary Andersen's preferred spread offense, utilizing the quarterback's ability to run as well as pass, ran for the second most yards in the scrimmage, behind only Storm Woods, who ran for 92 yards on 11 carries.
Collins carried 8 times, for 72 yards, and 2 touchdowns, in addition to completing 5 of 10 passes, for 30 yards. Collins rushes also noted 2 touchdowns, including this one, after getting "helicoptered" on a diving leap for his second score.
It wasn't the only time Collins got launched by defenders either, as seen below.
"We've got to be able to put the quarterbacks in the situation of a real game, and that's part of Seth's game is his ability to be athletic and make those special plays," Andersen said. "It puts him at higher risk, especially when decides to helicopter his way into the end zone, and it makes me a little nervous, but it shows his competitive nature. I like our ability to be able to make plays with the quarterback with his legs, but he's also got to learn to take calculated risks as he continues to grow and develop, but that youthful excitement showed today, that's for sure."
After the first week of practice, Andersen narrowed the quarterback competition to 3, Collins, Luke Del Rio, and Nick Mitchell, and its apparent Collins is emerging from the group. Del Rio did throw for more yards, 63, but only completed 5 of 13 throws, and threw the only interception of the day, a pick 6 to Dashon Hunt. Del Rio also had 3 carries, for a net loss of a yard, due to a sack.
Mitchell completed only 4 of 12 passes, for 23 yards, but did pick up 26 yards on 3 runs.
Andersen said he does not anticipate making a choice for the starting job until fall camp.
Former quarterback Brent VanderVeen began working at the tight end position this week, and Tanner Sanders, who was absent from this week's practices, being with the men's basketball team at the Pac-12 Tournament, followed suit Saturday.
The other quarterbacks, Kyle Kempt and Nick McMaryion also got some reps Saturday, but appear to be headed for the category of insurance policies. But if Collins continues to get lit up, and Del Rio continues to throw pick-6s, it entirely possible an insurance policy might be needed.
Curiously, images of LB Kyle Haley operating at QB have also surfaced, though the context of that remains unknown.
It was good to see Woods have a productive day, as he was limited behind Chris Brown in last week's action. Brown had 12 carries, for 37 yards Saturday. The Beavers will need both Woods and Brown.
"I thought we ran the ball well, consistently, which was great to see," Andersen said. "The defense gave up some yards, but stiffened at the end of drives, so red zone defense, I thought, was very good."
Jordan Villamin, with 3 catches for 24 yards, Hunter Jarmon, with 2 catches for 32 yards, and Victor Bolden, also with 2 catches for 26 yards led the receivers, as expected, and Xavier Hawkins also had 2 catches, for 15 yards.
There were only a few balls thrown to the tight ends, and WR Richard Mullaney continues to be a no-show.
Defensively, a lot of players seem to be rotating, which will ultimately be good for depth, but not too much else is can be concluded so far.
The Beavers will take the next two weeks off for final exams and Spring Break, before returning to the field March 31 for the last 3 weeks of spring practice, with the Spring Game on April 18 concluding the action.