Spring Practice Day Three - Finally Time for a Breakthrough
April 1, 2011
By Anthony Casson
Oregon State fans, coaches and players smiled a little wider today in the third practice of spring football as the sunlight flooded every corner of Reser Stadium, allowing the team to get reps outside of the Truax Indoor Facility for the first time of the spring season.
Rodgers and Bernard were just two of the many Beaver alumni enjoying the day. Former defensive tackles Sir Henry Anderson and Stephen Paea were also on hand for most of the day, along with current NFL safety Sabby Piscitelli and former Beaver coach Ron Siegrist. The Beaver family was back in full force.
"It's good to see Coach Riley and his staff," Bernard said. "It's a good thing to have this kind of family atmosphere, and you're able to come back and see these people. I think that's really one of the reasons I do come back. They make it enjoyable and make you feel at home.
"I'm just excited to see what the new Oregon State Beavers are going to look like. It's going to be interesting and exciting at the same time."
While some of OSU's greats enjoyed the practice from the sideline, the 2011 Beavers were busy with drills and quick scrimmages in the final no-pads day of the spring. The passing offense looked cleaner during 7-on-7 and team drills, but the linebackers made their presence known with over five passes broken up.
Sophomore quarterback Cody Vaz continued to take first-team snaps while freshman Sean Mannion handled second-team duties--junior Ryan Katz participated in light drills only (wrist). In a two-minute drill, Vaz brought his squad near the goal line, but threw an interception in the far corner. Senior cornerback Brandon Hardin made a big double-handed grab for his second interception of the week.
Mannion escaped practice unscathed, but third-team sophomore passer Jack Lomax threw an interception just before the end of practice. The defense continues to show its athleticism; the group will have to prove itself in the first string of full-pad practices next week, but it looks impressive nonetheless.
The running back group looks to have gotten stronger, as well. Senior Ryan McCants led the first-team rushing attack; sophomore Jovan Stevenson led the second-team--junior Jordan Jenkins is out for the remainder of the spring (shoulder).
"This team is in very good shape, and there are a lot of guys that are just better-looking athletes, better-looking football players than a year ago," Riley said. "I think it's because of experience and good offseason work."
Five members of the Beaver defense wore new Nike tester jerseys: senior linebacker Cameron Collins, junior safety Anthony Watkins, junior end Andrew Seumalo, freshman linebacker Michael Bibbee and freshman tackle Fred Thompson.