DAY 13 - It's All Beginning To Come Into Focus
Aug. 23, 2010
CORVALLIS, Ore. - There are certain dates during fall practices that alert coaches and players to the fact their first game is getting close. For some, it's as simple as the first day of practice, and for others, maybe it's the first day in full pads or the first scrimmage.
For those who observe practice, it's something that might be even simpler but just as significant, and that little happening was noticeable on Monday morning. The quarterbacks, cornerbacks and wide receivers were dressed very similarly to the rest of the team, but not in every way. Those offensive and defensive groups sported the Beaver Head logo on each side of their helmets, signifying that the last pieces of the puzzle are beginning to be put together.
It's simply not possible for the equipment staff to put the decals on every helmet in one day, so it's traditionally done by groups. So, starting on Monday, a few helmets looked to be in game shape while the rest were still all black.
In time, they'll all look the same, but for now, just having a few with the Oregon State logo was a good enough sign to sideline observers that the season-opening game against TCU is less than two weeks away.
Those who were in attendance at Monday's morning workout noticed a good, spirited practice that lasted approximately 90 minutes, with the first 30 dedicated to special teams. It's the second-to-last two-a-day for the Beavers, who will scrimmage again Tuesday and have their final two-a-day on Wednesday. Wednesday's two-a-day is likely to be similar to Monday; two 90-minute practices, one in the morning and one at night.
"What we want to do is get a lot of good, fast work accomplished," Oregon State head coach Mike Riley said. "We want to be a little fresher for practice and play fast. We have plays in, and now we have to be able to react to every possible adjustment that has to be made. We have to do it quickly and play fast."
Is the end in sight for the fabled college football tradition of two-a-day practices? University of Georgia head coach Mark Richt has already ended the tradition and Oregon State head coach Mike Riley thinks it is a real possibility that it becomes a rule at the Football Bowl Subdivision level in the near future.
The theory behind the thinking is that today's players stay in condition throughout the year, with offseason workouts, structured strength training, etc. OSU had a record 84 student-athletes stay on campus during the summer to prepare for the 2010 season - that was not the case just a few years ago.
"I like two-a-day practices, and the guys like them quite frankly because we don't have as many meetings," Riley said. "What I would hate to see is the lengthening of August camp by a week so we could still get the same number of practices. The year is long enough for the players; we don't need to add another week to it."
With that - the fifth of six two-a-days continues Monday night at Reser Stadium. The practice will be considerably shorter than the previous week's workouts, as was this morning's. Riley and his staff are easing up a bit on the workouts to get the players refreshed for the season.
On a media note, make sure to tune into KPAM 860 Tuesday morning at 8:10 a.m. for Bob Miller's interview with Riley.
There was a strong media contingent at Monday's morning practice, with Paul Buker (The Oregonian), Cliff Kirkpatrick (Corvallis Gazette-Times), Bob Clark (Eugene Register-Guard) and Steve Andress (KEZI-TV) all in attendance.
Although it was not as long as a typical practice, there were certainly still some highlights from the workout Monday morning. Ryan Katz was spot on in pass to Jacquizz Rodgers and Aaron Nichols, and he found Brady Camp in the end zone in a short yardage drill during 11-on-11 play. Cody Vaz also made a couple nice throws during the workout, finding Darrell Catchings and Markus Wheaton in separate plays. The pass to Wheaton was lobbed perfectly as the wideout streaked down the left sideline.
Off the practice field Monday, the Beavers got some great national press. The first comes for Jacquizz Rodgers, who was named as the nation's No. 10 player by Rivals.com. He is joined by defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who is at No. 26, and his brother, James Rodgers, who is 33rd.
Jacquizz Rodgers was also named by Rivals.com as the nation's fifth-best running back, and he is listed as one of the top 10 candidates for the Heisman Trophy.
James Rodgers also checks in at No. 5 on Rivals.com's top wide receivers list, marking him as the best in the Pacific-10 Conference. Sophomore offensive lineman Michael Phillip was also named as the No. 12 tackle in the nation by Rivals.com, which, according to the list, makes him the best in the Pacific-10 Conference.
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