Agnew, Ward take lead in OSU's tailback derby
Wheaton has big day in Beavers' first scrimmage session
CORVALLIS - Reflections on the first 'take-to-the-ground' Oregon State scrimmage of training camp Thursday at Reser Stadium:
• Leaders in the clubhouse for the first-team tailback job are true freshmen Malcolm Agnew and Terron Ward.
The 5-8, 190-pound Agnew - a St. Louis native whose father, Ray, played 11 years as a defensive tackle in the NFL - carried eight times for 65 yards and a touchdown. Agnew had the day's two best runs, an 20-yarder in which he broke several tackles and a 25-yarder down the left sidelines for a score.
Ward, a 5-7, 190-pound grayshirt from the celebrated De La Salle program in Concord, Calif., rushed six times for 24 yards, but got much of the yardage on his own.
The other true freshman, 5-10, 190-pound Storm Woods out of Pflugerville, Texas, gained 28 yards on eight carries. Senior Ryan McCants, currently the starter, had four carries for 18 yards, while sophomore Jovan Stevenson rushed twice for 11 yards.
• Markus Wheaton is going to be a major weapon for the Beavers. The junior split end had five catches for 80 yards in the scrimmage and is a breakaway threat every time he touches the ball.
• Ryan Katz was good, not great, completing 10 of 17 passes for 125 yards.
The Beavers had better hope the junior quarterback doesn't get hurt. The backup, sophomore Cody Vaz, sat out the scrimmage with a sore lower back. Third-stringer Sean Mannion (7 for 14 for 57 yards), a redshirt freshman, doesn't yet appear ready for prime time.
• If awards were handed out for performances in the Spring Game and scrimmage sessions, Jack Lomax and Mitch Singler would be hauling in major hardware.
Playing against the third- and fourth-string defenses, Lomax completed 5 of 5 passes for 106 yards and a TD. Singler snared five passes for 95 yards and a score.
Lomax, a 6-2, 170-pound sophomore from Lake Oswego, and Singler, a 6-2, 200-pound sophomore from South Medford, have shined in previous scrimmages, but neither has played a down of real football for the Beavers.
• It's hard to tell in a scrimmage, but the offensive line seems fairly solid, and coach Mike Cavanaugh isn't biting off anyone's head, so that's all a good sign.
Seniors Mike Remmers at left tackle and Grant Johnson at center are the leaders along with promising sophomore left guard Josh 'Juice' Andrews. Junior Colin Kelly appears to have won the battle at right tackle and has impressed everyone with his performance during camp.
That leaves right guard, where incumbent Burke Ellis still holds the edge over senior Michael Lamb. Lamb would seem the first backup at either guard position.
• Connor Hamlett, the 6-7, 260-pound redshirt freshman tight end, is going to be a major talent. He caught one pass for 10 yards and a TD and dropped another ball, but he appears a star-in-waiting.
• With Castro Masaniai (suspension) and Kevin Frahm (knee) out for the opener against Sacramento State, it appears walk-ons Ben Motter and Andrew Seumalo will start at defensive tackle against the Hornets, though Dominic Glover will probably get the nod at one spot once his academic eligibility clears.
• End Scott Crichton has a chance to be Oregon State's top D-lineman as a redshirt freshman. He is big (6-3, 260), fast and around the ball a lot.
• So many players were missing due to injury Thursday, it's difficult to get a good read on where the Beavers will be by, say, the UCLA game on Sept. 24.
Among those held out of the scrimmage: Frahm, Vaz, flankers James Rodgers (knee) and Brandin Cooks (ankle), tailback Jordan Jenkins (shoulder), tight end Joe Halahuni (shoulder), cornerbacks Brandon Hardin (shoulder) and Rashaad Reynolds (knee) and linebacker Cameron Collins (linebacker).
• With Josh LaGrone's decision to quit football because of injuries, the Beavers are very thin at safety. The first backup at both spots is now redshirt freshman Ryan Murphy, who had one of the best licks of the day, breaking up a pass intended for Garett Hall.
• There is some serious speed at outside linebacker with the likes of Collins, Michael Doctor, D.J. Welch and Shiloah Te'o, among others.