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"Zero Separation"

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That's what Oregon St. head coach Gary Andersen says there has been in the quarterback battle between Marcus McMaryion and Seth Collins. Andersen did add that both are stepping up, which is good, though his other comments about the offense continuing to struggle with consistency and execution were less so.

"We're not getting the performance from the rest of the group they (the quarterbacks) need," (to reach their potential) Andersen explained.

Defenses are generally ahead of offenses at this stage of camps, but based on the struggles we saw in last Saturday's scrimmage and Andersen's recent comments, its apparent the more experienced (other than at quarterback) offense is either struggling more than anticipated with the change to an up-tempo, no huddle approach, or the defense that returns only 2 starters may not be in as bad a shape as that statistic suggests.

It is important to note that several of the members of this year's defensive rotation did see significant playing time in rotations, or did until injury, so the experience lag, while significant, may be a little smaller than initially expected.

Andersen's remarks support this to a degree, though they are also cautionary in that regard as well.

"The 2 deep is solidifying back there (in the secondary). We could see some calmness back there. But there are (still) too many 'over the top plays'; we can't complete them right now, but Washington State will," was Andersen's assessment.

The offense isn't a total disappointment though, and Andersen sees the tight end position group as one that will make a difference for the Beavers this season.

"Caleb (Smith) is unbelievable. I couldn't be more pleased. And Brent (Vander Veen) has stepped up and made some plays."

Andersen also had some encouraging words about Isaac Seumalo, who worked for the first time in 11 on 11 drills today, noting "There have been no step back. (Isaac) wants to scrimmage; that's not going to happen for a while though."

With Josh Mitchell entrenched at center, and Gavin Andrews still a ways away with his left foot in a boot, its likely Seumalo will be starting at guard come the Weber St. game.

In a possibly related move, Kammy Delp, who has been at right guard with the 1s, was at left guard, in place of Fred Lauina, who was in gear, but not in action, in the latter portion of today's practice that was open for observation.

The offense should benefit from the return of Jordan Villamin at wide receiver, and Jaswha James was back practicing at his combination of DE & LB, but the running back corp is quickly being reduced to the Ryan Nall show, as Damien Haskins and Deltron Sands have joined Storm Woods and Chris Brown in the "held out of contact" group.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com