A perfect morning for football had Broncos, Falcons, Bears, Packers and Raiders scouts on hand to scout OSU's draft eligible players and one of them put on a show.
There is a name change to report, the linebacker formerly known as Kevin Unga and then later Feti Unga, will now be known as Feti Taumoepau. Unga is honoring his mother by taking her maiden name.
Players continue to be added to the injury list as Blake Harrah had his hand wrapped with a brace on it, possibly wrist or hand injury. Peter Ashton did not participate but seemed fine and was up and walking the sidelines. Micah Hatfield was out with what Coach Riley called "head symptoms" and Derek Nielsen was out again today.
Tough for Nielsen to miss so much time as he is much like former OSU guard Adam Speer and can fill in virtually anywhere along the o-line.
Jordan Poyer took the second half of practice off as he is still nursing a tight hamstring. At this point there's no need to risk your best defensive player's health. Ryan Handford stepped in for Poyer for the remainder of practice.
The good news is that starting safety Anthony Watkins was fully dressed down and ran around with the first team defense. Also returning to full speed was tight end Caleb Smith. After missing roughly a week, Smith looks refreshed and made a couple nice catches over the middle.
Smith is beginning to show glimpses of greatness, his explosion up field with ball in hand is unlike anyone OSU has had at tight end. Where he will need to improve is in the run game. Smith went wide to block corner Brian Watkins, only to lose balance and be pancaked by the much smaller Watkins. Smith rolled into runningback Terron Ward and the play went for negative yards.
Today, while taking a close look at the punters in the special teams session, it seems more and more as if Keith Kostol should be the starting punter. He gets rid of the ball quicker and is more consistent than Tim McMullen. Although, when McMullen gets into one it's a sight to see.
Placekicker Trevor Romaine had his best day kicking as he went 4-4 from 32(x2), 37 and 44. All had plenty of leg and split the uprights easily.
General Offensive Overview
With scouts on hand, Markus Wheaton had one heck of a day. Wheaton got deep a couple times and showed his speed, running away from his defender after hauling in the catch. Wheaton does a great job on fade routes, knowing exactly where the sideline is, leaving just enough room to fade at the last moment which causes separation from his defender.
It looks as if Malcolm Agnew is going to be #1 as week one approaches. He took the majority of the first team reps and is finishing runs by sprinting all the way to the endzone. He looks completely healthy and hasn't put the football on the turf yet this fall.
Wheaton's success was due largely to the pin point accuracy of his QB, Sean Mannion. Often throwing into triple coverage, Mannion was perfect and dropped the ball in on multiple occasions just in front of safeties and over the under coverage.
On the other side of the coin, Cody Vaz had a heck of a day delivering the football. Multiple passes were knocked down and he seemed to hesitate more and more as practice wore on. Everyone has bad days, but today Coach Riley took time out to pull Vaz aside and coach him up.
Coach Riley was very vocal today, letting his guys know when he didn't like what he was seeing. There were no "Jiminy Christmas'" dropped, but he certainly raised his voice and seems to be in mid-season mode with his attention to detail and pursuit of perfection on every play.
More and more Coach Riley is including his full backs in the passing game, this time Tyler Anderson released and made a great one handed catch on a ball delivered a little high and behind him. Anderson pulled the ball in and got another 8+ yards. If both Anderson and Clayton York can combine for around 25 catches this offense will be very successful.
On the line Grant Enger stood out, holding off Mana Rosa with relative ease on a few plays. Enger has come so far since his freshman year that it's still hard to believe. He did have a little communication issue and didn't come off his man to pick up an oncoming blitzer. Coach Riley started to criticize and head towards the offensive huddle, only to turn around smiling and say "I'd better not get in there" letting Coach Cav do his thing.
Another noticeable blocker was Connor Hamlett who did a good job securing the edge multiple times. Hamlett flushed Rusty Fernando down the line and opened up a lane outside on one play that got TE Coach Jay Locey pretty fired up. In speaking with Hamlett and Tyler Perry it's clear that there was a heavy emphasis on run blocking in the off season.
In easily the play of the day, Kevin Cummings ran a crossing route as Cody Vaz dropped back. Vaz looked at his first two options and found nothing, then floated a ball in Cummings' direction who was covered well by Malcolm Marable.
Cummings went up high extending his arms above and behind him and ended up being parallel with the ground, landing flat on his back. Cummings held on to the ball to the ooh's and ahh's of his teammates.