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April 23, 2013

Day 13 Rewind: Gearing up for the Spring Game

Spring practice on Tuesday was a typical one for Oregon State. The team wore full pads and enjoyed possibly the nicest weather since day one three weeks ago.

With only one practice remaining before the spring game, the buzz surrounded the team's preparation for the upcoming scrimmage.

The game will be different than year's past in that it will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks and will be a night game (7 p.m.). Head coach Mike Riley said he was excited to show the fans the hard work his team has put in this spring, and get inexperienced players some playing time in a game setting.

"There's a little bit of hype with it," Riley said. "Fans come out to watch, so it's good for some guys because it has a different feel than practice. Some of them get a little uptight about it, so it's probably good to experience."

"Guys are really juiced for the spring game," added sophomore running back Storm Woods. "Especially having it at night, the community's talking about it, people on twitter are hitting us up, so we're excited to get out here and show people what we got."

Woods sat out practice on Tuesday with concussion-like symptoms, and is questionable to play in the game on Friday. Woods suffered the injury in Monday's practice during the run period.

"It was a run play," "[Ryan] Murphy came down and hit me pretty hard and they held me out [of Tuesday's practice] for precautionary reasons. They labeled it a concussion."

Woods was the darling of spring camp last season, and knows better than anybody how important it can be for the development of a player.

"Spring is great," Woods said. "It's an indicator heading into the fall of what you bring to the team."

The focus of the Friday's spring game will undoubtedly be around the quarterback play and who's the frontrunner to win the starting position.

Some had speculated that the coaching staff could make a tentative decision on who the fall starter would be after the spring game, but Riley clarified on Tuesday that there will be no decision until the fall.

"[The separation] probably isn't going to happen between now and August," Riley said. "We can't watch them in the summer time, we can't coach them in the summer time. They've both had good springs and hopefully they will have good summers of preparation and we'll see what happens in fall camp."

That doesn't mean Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz can't benefit from a good showing on Friday, however. Both quarterbacks have worked hard in the offseason and spring, and look forward to finish positively.

"It's important to finish on a strong note, everyone wants to do that," Mannion said. "Doing so will put you on the right track for the entire offseason, so it's really important."

Mannion in particular has worked on throwing a tighter spiral in recent practices. His hope is that it will help his accuracy and overall comfort throwing the football.

"It's something that feels accurate if you're throwing a tight spiral," Mannion said. "A lot of it just comes down to not overthrowing, not trying to throw it too hard, put a little touch on it. … Sometimes when I try and gun it in there it will flutter a little bit, but I think for the most part I'm throwing tight spirals and have been pretty accurate."

The Beavers are back in action at practice Thursday, the last practice before Friday's televised spring game.


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