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April 27, 2013

Spring Camp Wraps Up with Showcase

The Oregon State football team wrapped up spring camp after four weeks with the annual spring showcase Friday night.

The spring game, which lasted two hours and was aired live on the Pac-12 Networks, was the culmination of four weeks of practice that were viewed in a positive light by head coach Mike Riley.

"There's been constant improvement," Riley said. "What we'll look at really hard is the 20 guys who redshirted a year ago and how they're going to fit in the fall."

One of those 20 players is redshirt freshman running back Chris Brown. Brown saw a ton of action in the spring game with starter Storm Woods out with a concussion and junior Terron Ward seeing limited action.

"I thought it was good for Chris," Riley said. "We let a lot of those guys play a long time. … And that was probably pretty tough for him, but I think it was good for him too. That's really the best way to learn."

Brown had a few highlights of the night, including breaking off a 26-yard run, and making multiple receptions out of the backfield. Brown even lined up as a slot receiver twice.

"It was fun, tiring though," Brown said. "But it was a lot of fun, a lot of good work."

Brown said the biggest thing for him to do in spring camp was to learn the playbook, which can be the hardest aspect for a young player.

The two quarterbacks competing for the starting spot, junior Sean Mannion and senior Cody Vaz, saw the field early on, but were only in for three combined offensive series.

"Other than maybe one play, I felt really sharp," Mannion said. "All in all, it's been a good spring for me. I think I've made a lot of improvements."

Mannion completed eight of 11 passes for 67 yards. He threw an interception in the end zone when he threw a ball off his back foot, the floating pass was caught by junior safety Ryan Murphy. Vaz was 4-for-6 for 59 yards.

After Murphy's interception, the safety went down with either an ankle or calf injury. He limped off the field, but it didn't appear to be serious enough to be concerned about going into the fall.

Like Brown, redshirt freshman Brent VanderVeen saw a lot of action in the second half of the night, after Mannion and Vaz were done.

VanderVeen was 15-for-27 with 153 yards and nice 21-yard touchdown thrown to Micah Hatfield. VanderVeen also showed his improvisation skills when, after he fumbled the ball, he picked it up and completed a pass to tight end Dustin Stanton for a 35-yard gain down the sideline.

With spring football in the books, the Beavers like where they stand as a team, especially compared to where they were this time a year ago.

"When you think about … where we are now versus where we were when spring started, the offense has made a lot of strides," Mannion said.

Mannion added that his attention will turn to the offseason weight-training program, running and getting in a lot of work with the wide receivers.

Fall camp starts on Aug. 5 for the Beavers.


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