Spring Football Recap (April 18)

April 18, 2005

Corvallis, Ore. - The Oregon State University football team held its 10th practice of 15 Monday at the Merritt Truax Indoor Center. Several players departed the two-plus hour practice early due to evening exams. The team returns to the field Wednesday at 3 p.m. and again Friday at 3 p.m. Game officials will be present on Friday. Wednesday's practice will likely be held at the Tommy Prothro Football Complex as pleasant weather is forecasted.

Five players did not participate in practice due to injuries, junior offensive guard Josh Linehan (knee), sophomore defensive lineman Jeff Kruskamp (knee), junior tight end Jason Vandiver (shoulder) and redshirt-freshman cornerback Keenan Lewis (hamstring). Vandiver and Lewis are expected to return to practice in the near future. Redshirt-freshman tight end Zach Hagemeister also will be out indefinitely unrelated to football.

The following are comments from head coach Mike Riley as he met with reporters from KMTR (Eugene), KEX (Portland), the Register-Guard, the Gazette-Times and the Statesman:

Q. It seems all of the quarterbacks have had their moments this spring, can you elaborate on that?

A. 'That is about how it has been all spring. There hasn't been much that would separate any of them right now; we've tried to be even with the turns in every practice. Ryan (Gunderson) and Matt (Moore) have had more turns than the other two guys, but Sean (Canfield) and Brian (Hildebrand) have shown some stuff too. We're just letting them play right now and we'll make some decisions later on.'

Q. Have you seen improvement in your running game?

A. 'Well, it's not very pretty yet, but we are making progress. I'm excited about our line and our backs, so it really is just a matter of execution. It's not easy for our running game, basically it's an uphill battle competing against our defense. Our defense has been at the top of the league for rush defense for a couple of years, and there is a reason for that. It's not the easiest setting for our running game, but we will be better because of an improved offensive line and our backs.'

Q. How has Jimtavis Walker looked during spring practice?

A. 'He has a good opportunity, but Yvenson Bernard is playing very well, and Charles Burnley is very exciting. I don't think I could separate any of those three backs right now.'

Q. You have a lot of depth at tight end, how has their progress been during spring practice?

A. 'Unfortunately we are not as deep as we might be with Vandiver and Hagemeister out. We use a lot of tight ends typically and I don't see that changing this season.'

Q. Brandon Hughes and Charles Burnley have switched positions, was that out of need?

A. 'For Brandon it was a matter of opportunity and for Charles it was something he wanted to do.'

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