Fall Camp, Day #8: Seeking definition on cornerback depth chart
Aug. 14, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Take a look at the depth chart and you see experience at cornerback. Examine the roster and you find a lot of bodies to man the position. But one plus one doesn’t always equal two.
There are a surprising number of questions with this position group but while the answers may currently be a bit of a mystery it doesn’t mean those answers will turn out to be bad.
Dealing with the obvious first, senior Jordan Poyer, a preseason all-everything nominee, and junior Rashaad Reynolds are back in the fold after starting all 12 games in 2011. Poyer, a dynamic kick and punt returner, garners the majority of the headlines while Reynolds quietly toils in the shadows. Reynolds showed steady improvement throughout the 2011 campaign and registered his only interception in the end zone to secure the victory over Washington State.
The question marks start to arise as soon as you look past the known starters. In 2011, junior Sean Martin began the season as the third corner making six tackles in the season-opener including forcing and recovering a fumble. But a foot/ankle injury limited Martin to three games and no other player filled the void leaving the starters to handle virtually every snap the rest of the way.
There are 10 other players listed at cornerback on the roster and new secondary coach Rod Perry appears to be making a concerted effort to give all of them ample reps before he makes decisions regarding the depth chart. Thus far in fall it has been Martin and senior Ryan Handford receiving most of the second team snaps but they are by no means assured of their spots.
In recent practices young players such as Larry Scott, Steven Christian, Tyler Hasty, Mishawn Cummings and Malcolm Marable have had their moments in the spotlight. Scott, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the opening days of camp as a true freshman last year, in particular has played with increased confidence this week breaking up a handful of passes. Junior Jovan Stevenson, who moved from tailback to corner last week, appears to be working with a steep learning curve and looked more comfortable today. Stevenson has brought a physicality to the position that was evident today as he refused to let receivers get off the line more than once today. Christian, a senior transfer from Hawai’i, enters the fray following an injury-plagued career for the Warriors, but also brings size and experience to the battle for playing time.
With so many players available for Coach Perry to choose from it may become a question of which players offer the most to the special teams units as all of these relatively new guys try to make the travel squad for the first trip of the year Sept. 22 to UCLA.
The Oregon State sports video dream team was back on the field today and had Coach Perry mic’d up to concentrate on the corners. Wednesday is scheduled to feature the wide receivers with coach Brent Brennan.
The Beavers will be back on the field Wednesday for the third of six double-day practices. The first practice will be at 11 a.m. with full pads, while the evening drills began at 6:30 with the team in shells.
New OSU communications intern Matt Franzblau picked up a copy of the most recent Sports Illustrated and noted that Poyer and sophomore Scott Crichton have been chosen as preseason first team All-Pac-12 selections.
Poyer deflected 12-passes for defensive coordinator Mark Banker during the 2011 season, while intercepting four passes. He is described by SI as a 'fine cover corner who also gives run support'. Poyer heads into fall listed as the No. 2 senior cornerback in the country by ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. He was also named as one of the team's four captains prior to the start of the 2012 campaign.
Crichton was an impact freshman for Oregon State in 2011, making 14.5 tackles-for-loss, including six sacks, while forcing a half-dozen fumbles. He was selected to the Freshman All-America First team by multiple media outlets, including CBSSports.com, Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele, College Football News and The Sporting News.
Both Crichton and Poyer are listed as key returners for OSU in 2011 by Sports Illustrated, along with senior wide receiver Markus Wheaton and junior linebacker Michael Doctor. Redshirt freshman running back Storm Woods was named the team's breakout player for 2012 with true freshman offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo, it's top recruit.
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