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Vikings offense is ahead of the defense

Tribune staff

Halfway through spring football practices, the Portland State Vikings have been predictably sharp on offense and under construction on defense.

'We need to get tougher as a defense,' coach Tim Walsh said after Saturday's scrimmage.

'Defensively,' he said of the scrimmage, 'the speed we played with and the aggressiveness was very good.'

The Vikings gave up 28.5 points and 448.1 yards per game last year. Eight defensive players are skipping spring practices for various reasons, including senior safety Tanner Cole (back). Linebacker Tolo Tuitele, defensive tackle Justin Tutka and safety Benjamin Tucker have been spring standouts.

Offensively, Walsh gave QB Juston Wood's backups most of the snaps in last weekend's scrimmage, but he says Wood will get work during the next scrimmage Saturday morning. A battle brews at running back, where 1,600-yard rusher Ryan Fuqua has been pushed by redshirt freshman Joe Rubin and two others.

The Vikings' spring game will be May 11 at Lake Oswego High School.

NFL update

Joey Harrington's introduction to the NFL wasn't very sexy last weekend. His five practices at the Detroit Lions minicamp were limited to individual and group drills Ñ simple stuff like throwing to receivers running routes, taking snaps from centers and leading 7-on-7 drills Ñ and studying the Lions' playbook.

The former Oregon quarterback plans to return to Detroit on May 16 for more work.

'There are a lot of things I need to learn, but that comes with experience,' he says on the Lions' Web site. 'A lot of it is starting to click. I feel very encouraged.'

Mike McMahon and Ty Detmer got most of the snaps in full-scale drills.

'I don't have unrealistic expectations for what I plan on doing,' Harrington says. 'The NFL is a very competitive league, and it is extremely tough to come in as a rookie and produce.' É

PSU's Terry Charles, a fifth-round pick by San Diego, tore an ACL in his left knee while running a pass route and will have surgery May 6. 'At this juncture, we're not quite sure how long he'll be out,' Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer says. 'It's really unfortunate because he was doing quite well. Nobody touched him. He just put his foot in the ground and cut.' É

OSU's James Allen, the Portlander drafted in the third round by New Orleans, will be reunited with Mike Riley in the Big Easy. Riley now coaches Saints defensive backs and serves as Jim Haslett's assistant. Allen 'is an extremely athletic linebacker,' Haslett says, 'who will help us right away on special teams.'

Beavers return

Fresh off a .500 road trip, the Portland Beavers returned home this week for four games with Calgary, starting Monday. The Beavers travel to Edmonton on Friday.

Junior Herndon, John Snyder, Jason Middlebrook and Kevin Pickford are slated to be starting pitchers this week for the Beavers (12-12), who are 6-2 at PGE Park. É Rich Gomez had his eight-game hitting streak stopped Sunday. É The Beavers have a staff ERA of 1.87 over the past 10 games. É Closer Dave Lundquist has seven saves. É Catcher Will Nieves had two homers on the road trip and Sunday's only RBI on a double.

Boxing

Mexican junior middleweight Francisco Mendez won a 10-round split decision over Salem's Tony Martinez in a boxing card held Saturday at Multnomah Greyhound Park.

There were no knockdowns, but the final round featured triple trips to the deck, with the pair alternating between slipping and dragging each other down.

Portland's Reggie Davis, 154 pounds, improved to 4-1 with a fast and flashy performance against rugged and absorbent Manuel Reyes. Davis won a unanimous four-round decision.

Other winners were Rafael Ortiz, 135 pounds; Alex 'The Technician' Bunema, 162 pounds; Neil Stephens, light heavyweight; and Chris Huntwork, 151 pounds, who won by technical knockout over Virgil Bohnenkamp in a battle of Portlanders.

Elsewhere

Alyssa Laux hit a two-run homer as Oregon upset No. 5 Arizona State 4-2 in softball play Saturday, ending the Ducks' 32-game Pac-10 losing streak. É The No. 16 OSU softball team fell to 35-18 overall and 6-9 in Pac-10 play, after losing to No. 2 Arizona 2-1 Sunday. É The Portland baseball team swept Pepperdine 11-2 and 9-8 to win a three-game series for the first time against the Waves. É The OSU baseball team won two of three against No. 4 Stanford.