Erickson Likes Beavers' Improvement

April 21, 2001


Oregon State's offense accounted for two touchdowns and a field goal and the defense returned a pass for an interception as the Beavers' completed what Coach Dennis Erickson felt was a very positive football scrimmage Saturday at Reser Stadium.

OSU's second full-fledged scrimmage of the spring was a 99-play effort that certainly showed marked improvement over the first scrimmage last Friday. The Beavers have four practice sessions left this spring and will conclude spring drills with an intrasquad game at Reser Stadium this coming Saturday, starting at 1:00 p.m.

'I thought we made tremendous improvement today over our first scrimmage,' said Erickson. 'Offensively, we didn't get the ball into the end zone as much as I would like, but we did run the ball a lot better and we threw it and caught it much better.

'I thought we were improved on defense as well,' said Erickson. 'We played very good in the red zone and we got some turnovers. But the biggest thing to me is that we made substantial improvement over our performance last week.'

Redshirt freshman quarterback Ryan Kanekeberg directed the offense on its first scoring drive, a 10-play, 70-yard march that Kanekeberg capped by scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Mike White added the PAT.On the next offensive possession, Ryan Cesca missed on a 37-yard field goal attempt as a drive stalled at the 20-yard line (all drives started from the 30-yard line of the offensive squad).

Senior free safety Jake Cookus from Roseburg, picked off quarterback Nick Stremick's pass and returned it 49 yards for a defensive touchdown two series later.

Another redshirt freshman quarterback Adam Rothenfluh, directed the only other successful touchdown drive of the afternoon as he moved the No. 2 offense 70 yards on only five plays, the big play being a 51-yard pass to Aaron Hill. Rothenfluh wound up scoring on a 1-yard quarterback sneak and White added the PAT.

The final score of the day was a 48-yard field goal by Cesca, the All-Pac-10 kicker from last season as an offensive drive stalled after moving 40 yards on nine plays.

Four Beaver quarterbacks combined to completed 26 of 49 passes for 318 yards. Rothenfluh had the most impressive numbers, completing 12 of 22 for 157 yards, along with one interception. Stremick was 8 of 15 for 110 yards, plus the interception that Cookus ran back for a touchdown. Kanekeberg was 5 of 11 for 45 yards and Shayne House completed his only pass attempt for 6 yards.

All told, 13 OSU receivers caught passes. Tim Euhus, sophomore tight end, had 3 receptions for 49 yards, while wide receivers Seth Trimmer (26 yards) and Mike Payton (15 yards) also caught 3 passes apiece.The Beavers ran the ball 47 times for 122 yards, giving OSU 440 yards of total offense on 96 plays.

Ken Simonton, OSU's Heisman Trophy candidate, carried the ball only 8 times for 49 yards to top all rushers, plus he caught one pass for another 27 yards. Redshirt freshman Riley Jenkins, a walk-on from South Salem, added 41 yards on 13 carries and Dwight Wright, redshirt freshman, gained 31 yards on 12 carries and Patrick McCall added 6 yards on 2 carries.

Several defensive players stood out during the afternoon, especially defensive tackle Eric Manning. Linebacker Noah Happe had OSU's other interception.

'We still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the football, but overall I am very happy with our progress,' said Erickson. 'We need to pick it up in our final week.'

Erickson expressed pleasure with the way that Tim Euhus caught the football Saturday. 'Tim is an outstanding athlete and he ran some good routes and made some outstanding catches, and that is what we need from Tim,' said Erickson. 'He needs to emerge for us at tight end for us to do the things we need to get done, and obviously we need a couple of other guys to emerge as well. Tight end is a very key position for us in this offense.'

OSU made it through Saturday's long scrimmage without sustaining any injuries. Tight end Pat Loney (broken hand) and safety Luke Scott (broken leg) are the only players who have been injured this spring.