For the first time during summer practice,Oregon St. put on full pads Thursday, and coach Gary Andersen gave the mostly green light for full contact. Quarterbacks, of course, were off limits (well mostly), and there were players used strategically (running back Storm Woods didn't strap on shoulder pads, or his helmet, a part of Andersen's plan to keep his only experienced back fresh), but the popping was audible.
And though limited, Chris Brown, who is expected to be Woods' primary relief, did have his shoulder pads on, and saw some action. Most of the running back work went to Damien Haskins and others no one hopes to see in a game this season, though.
Marcus McMaryion continues his drive for the starting quarterback job, and got the first snaps in offense vs. defense action, though Seth Collins alternated with him series to series. Even Andersen may not know what it means yet, but he doesn't appear on the verge of settling on a starter.
Jaswha James closes in on Marcus McMaryion.
With the coming of contact practices, we also must start to discuss injury reports, at least to the extent we can. (If there's an area to be less than satisfied with Andersen so far, its his unwillingness to discuss the obvious, an increasingly disturbing trend among coaches lacking experience at the next level, where disclosure and accountability aren't optional.)
Guard Gavin Andrews is still out, and his status is apparently much longer than day-to-day, but wide receiver Jordan Villamin, who also watched the action again today, fortunately, looks like he is close to coming back. Hopefully we will see him in Saturday's scrimmage, though the extent of action for him could be limited.
The first place an injury might be making a material difference is in the battle for the second cornerback position. Dwayne Williams has been the front-runner since mid-way in spring practice, but was seen at and after practice with his left arm in a sling today, and though there was no explanation given, it looks like he's unlikely to hit the field for the scrimmage open to the public Saturday at 10:30 AM.
It's opened the door for JC transfer Treston Decoud to move up. One of the most eagerly anticipated of the new Beavers, his presence will please many fans, but it would be good to get Williams healthy in time for some side by side action to compare the two, and not have one of the most important positions on the defense (both corners are going to find themselves on islands on a regular basis this season).