Foots and Hoops on a Crazy Monday

March 30, 2009

Corvallis, Ore. - You're kidding right?

The first day of spring football coincides with the last day of the men's basketball home season? It's never happened at OSU, until March 30, 2009. It's created quite a stir for the local media that are buzzing around trying to find out who is going to replace the likes of Sammie Stroughter, Victor Butler, Slade Norris, etc., and who is going to stop the top scorer in Conference USA basketball, UTEP's Stefon Jackson.

But it's football season, except for 12 basketball teams.

And it will be an interesting 15 days on the football field, culminating with the annual Spring Game May 2 at Reser Stadium. There should be some answers to a lot of questions when the period ends, as the team looks for essentially four new starters on offense and eight on defense.

Monday marked the first day and it drew quite a gathering.

'It was fun to get started, I really appreciate the enthusiasm of our team,' head coach Mike Riley said. 'I thought the enthusiasm was high and the energy was good.'

With quarterback Lyle Moevao on the shelf with his injured shoulder, senior Sean Canfield took all the first team snaps. He looks like a guy running the show for the Beavers, which is a terrific sign. Canfield ran the 'red ball' drill to almost perfection making accurate throws to Darrell Catchings, Casey Kjos, Damola Adeniji and Ryan McCants. A deflected pass at the end of the drill was picked off by Lance Mitchell thwarting the offense's drive to the goal line.

Canfield and the rest of the Beaver quarterbacks had the defense, and at times the offense jumping before the snap - Riley indicated he was switching up the snap count and that was the reason for it, but he also expects that to improve Wednesday.

'I want to develop skills, like back pedaling better, executing the drive blocks - it's a great time for individual skill development,' Riley said of the first day. 'The learning part of it is big, but along with that you want to build the identity of the team.'

Speaking of identities, an old face inside the Truax Center in former Beaver great offensive tackle Doug Nienhuis (2001-04). Nienhuis, who graduated from OSU with a degree in photography, is volunteering his time to coach the offensive line with Mike Cavanaugh.

'I'm exploring if coaching is in my future,' Nienhuis said. 'I took some classes at a community college in Denver when I was playing for the Broncos in hopes of being a physical therapist, but that can wait, I want to look into coaching. I'm done playing football (also played for the Jets and Texans) because of my knees.

Nienhuis and former center Kyle DeVan was also in attendance, and last week former linebacker and New Orleans Saints standout James Allen enrolled at OSU for spring term.

As for current Beavers, sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers did not practice, but may be back on the field later this week or early next week. Receiver Kyle Brown is another Beaver not practicing due to an injury. James Rodgers made numerous catches and appears to be gaining full strength back.

Several players will be testing Nike receiver gloves and shoes Wednesday. Safety Cameron Collins was equipped with a new style helmet Monday, one that doesn't use air, but conforms to the head. The helmet was developed by a former Ivy League quarterback.

A huge cast of media today, including the Gazette-Times, The Oregonian, The Register-Guard, Barometer, Portland Tribune, KVAL, KEZI, KMTR and Ron Callan of KPAM.

It's back on the field Wednesday for another padless practice, beginning at approximately 2:30.

Make sure to catch Beaver Nation Online later today for an interview with Riley and Moevao. In addition beginning Tuesday morning subscribers to BNO will be able to relive the eight regular season victories of last season starting with the home opener against Hawai'i. Each Tuesday and Thursday BNO will add another game to the highlight package.

Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an 'everyday champion.' Follow Beaver Athletics on

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