Defense Dominates Beavers' First Spring Scrimmage

April 14, 2001


Oregon State's defensive unit ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 last year so it was not surprising to see the Beaver defenders dominate OSU's first spring scrimmage at Reser Stadium Friday.

The offensive unit, with four different quarterbacks taking a turn under center, generated only two touchdowns in the 90-play scrimmage.

The first score was on a 51-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman Ryan Kanekeberg to sophomore wide receiver Aaron Hill. That drive covered 70 yards in five plays. The final TD by the offense was accounted for by walk-on tailback Riley Jenkins, a redshirt freshman from South Salem High School, who scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 13-play, 70-yard drive.

Ryan Cesca, OSU's All-Pac-10 kicker, missed wide left on a 52-yard field goal attempt in another scoring attempt and defensive back Terrell Roberts intercepted a pass in the end zone to stop another drive. Redshirt freshman Adam Rothenfluh was intercepted on that play.

'The enthusiasm was good today,' said coach Dennis Erickson. 'T thought defensively we ran around and made a lot of plays, which is what we need to do to be successful. There was a tremendous amount of enthusiasm, and I thought our veteran players performed well,' said Erickson.

'We have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball, but I'm pretty happy with what I saw in the first scrimmage,' Erickson added.

Heisman Trophy candidate Ken Simonton carried the ball 12 times in the scrimmage for 54 yards, which was probably more carries than Erickson would have liked to have Simonton participating in a spring scrimmage.

'I think he can play,' a smiling Erickson said. 'I try to keep him out of there, but he wants to be in there competing. Our problem is we have only three healthy running backs right now. I probably wouldn't have Ken or Patrick McCall in there as much as I do right now typically, but we really have no choice. I am going to try and cut their repetitions back if possible,' said Erickson.

No. 3 tailback Dwight Wright missed the first week of spring drills with a sprained right ankle and he sprained the same ankle again Friday after carrying the ball only one time.

As a result, Jenkins got a lot of work Friday and the walk-on responded with 68 yards on 14 carries.

All told, Beaver backs carried the ball 45 times for 163 yards and a touchdown, an average of 3.6 yards per carry. The four OSU quarterbacks combined for 216 yards and a touchdown, completing 19 of 35 passes.

The Beavers' two redshirt freshmen quarterbacks posted the best numbers Friday. Kanekeberg completed 5 of 9 passes for 77 yards and the 51-yard TD pass. Rothenfluh completed 12 of 16 passes for 98 yards, but was intercepted one time.

When asked if Friday's scrimmage shed any light on who might have an edge for the backup quarterback job, Erickson said, 'I really couldn't make a decision right now about the backup, we have only practiced seven times. Shayne House is still bothered by his shoulder. The injury has healed, but he has only about 50 percent strength in it. He actually did some nice things today, but he really needs to get stronger in his shoulder. Hopefully he will be at full strength by fall practice.'

Oregon State needs to fill all three wide receiver spots this fall and Erickson feels his receivers are making progress.

'This is a key area (receivers) for this team, and I am pleased to see our receiving corps step up of late,' said Erickson. 'James Newson, Mike Payton, Shawn Kintner and Seth Trimmer are all doing some nice things. Our younger guys have also shown they can play, so we will see how that evolves.'

All told, 11 different receivers caught passes Friday with Newson and redshirt freshman Ron Monteilh catching three apiece.

Oregon State will hold its second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m. The Beavers will conclude spring drills on Saturday, April 28 with the spring game at Reser Stadium, starting at 1:00 p.m.

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