football

Defense ready to hit as week two draws to close

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"I JUST WANT TO HIT SOMEONE!"
It was the saying throughout the night as the defense stood out and is eager to
actually start finishing plays, meaning they really want to hit someone. After
a couple of practices where the team seemed to be tired of the demanding schedule
that they have had to maintain throughout fall camp, both sides of the ball were
jacked up at different times tonight.
The offense started off the night red hot during the 2 minute drills as Sean Canfield led them straight down the field going 7 for 7, while completing passes to Jordan Bishop and Casey Kjos for touchdowns. Damola Adeniji also had several catches
on the drive making up for the couple of drops that he had this morning. Canfield
continues to look better than ever, making good reads and delivering the ball
in a timely manner.
Ryan Katz followed Canfield's performance by going 7 for 8 working with the 2nd
team. His favorite targets were John Reese and Aaron Nichols, connecting on touchdowns
with both players on his drive. Peter Lalich then led the 3rd team down the field.
He also looked very sharp but since he was working with mostly the 3rd team, a
couple of his would be completions were dropped. He showed great touch on TD passes
to freshmen Micah Hatfield and Mitch Singler.
Throughout practice several things caught my eye. Nichols continues to be,
in my eyes the best all around receiver on the team. Granted James Rodgers and Darrell Catchings weren't on the field, but time and time again, Nichols has
shown that not only can he be a possession receiver that moves that chains but
he also is capable of stretching the field by going vertical. I really hope
that he is rewarded for his great camp thus far by getting some playing time
in the upcoming season.
Another part of practice that caught my eye was the fact that freshman Jordan Poyer might have jumped redshirt freshman Anthony Watkins on the depth chart.
Watkins finally was back on the field this evening, returning from his hamstring
issues, but saw a majority of his time with the 3rd team defense while Poyer was
mostly with the 2nd team. Poyer has been an incredible story considering the fact
that many believed he was a strong greyshirt candidate when he was first recruited
and now might see playing time as a true freshman. His play reminds me a lot of
former Beaver ball hawking safety, Jake Cookus.
While the offense controlled the beginning of practice, the rest of practice
belonged to the players on other side of the ball. I think there was a bit of
frustration from many players on the defensive side of the ball because for
almost 2 weeks now, they haven't been able to actually tackle. The turn of the
tide took place during full team, 3rd down drills. The defense said enough is
enough and despite the team only wearing shells, took the physicality of practice
to another level. On one play, Will Darkins got hit so hard his helmet came
off; on the next play Stephen Paea blew through the line knocking an offensive
lineman on his backside to sack Canfield. That was when the defense got amped
up and started to get a bit rowdy.
The next series of plays saw the defense make play after play after play. It
started with a Suaesi Tuimaunei pick six that made the entire defense get loud.
From there on out the defense had a new bounce in their step and for the first
time all camp, there was a swagger on the field and the players started to get
loud. The following pass play was a failure as Tim Clark read it from the moment
it left Canfield's hand and broke it up with ease. The next couple of plays
resulted in another batted ball and several sacks from edge rushers Dwight Roberson, Matt LaGrone and Gabe Miller.
Offensive Coordinator Danny Langsdorf had seen enough of the first team and decided
that the second team offense should try their luck. They didn't fare much better,
giving up 3 sacks. James Dockery also made a great play in coverage, knocking
the ball out of Geno Munoz's hands on what would have been a for sure 1st down
conversion.
With the offense unable to pick up a 1st down during full team drills, the coaching
staff decided to go back to skeleton drills so that the offense could find some
sense of rhythm and try to build their confidence back up. On the 2nd pass, Patrick Henderson literally took the ball out of Adeniji's hands for an interception and
what would have been a touchdown return.
After that play, Canfield finally said that that was enough and it was once
again the offense's turn to take control of practice. He again got red hot throwing
the ball. After completing a slant pass to Kjos that went for a long gain, Canfield
was jumping around trying to pump some life into the offense. It worked as the
offense's next 3 plays resulted in large gains. One was a screen pass to Jovan Stevenson; the other was a slant from Lalich to Munoz that left cornerback James Dockery standing still as Munoz broke Dockery's ankles coming off the
line.
As practice came to a close, the team moved to redzone drills. The series that
followed was how it should be, extremely balanced, with the defense making a play
only to have the offense come right back and convert on the next. Key players
during this series included Lance Mitchell, Anthony Watkins, Brady Camp, Ryan Katz and Kevan Walker.
All in all, tonight's practice left me incredibly excited for tomorrow's scrimmage.
Even though a lot of the veterans won't see a lot of the field tomorrow, the young
guys will get to go and you can count on both sides of the ball letting out some
frustration as it will be the first day of actual tackling. It should be exciting
and it might also be last chance some of the freshmen get to prove that they have
the ability to play this year and forego their redshirt year.
If you're in the Corvallis area tomorrow, stop by Reser and check out the scrimmage.
Start time is slated for 2:00 pm.
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