Spring Practice -- Day 2 -- They Like the N Ball

March 31, 2010

Corvallis, Ore. -

“The `N’ ball is the best,” Beaver freshman-redshirt quarterback Cody Vaz said.  “That’s the consensus among the quarterbacks.”


Okay, what exactly is an “N” ball? 


Nike is testing three different footballs during spring practice at OSU, and only Nike officials know how the balls are produced.  There is the aforementioned N, but also an “E” and a “K”.


“One is the ball from last year, another has different leather and another a different air bladder inside,” OSU football equipment coordinator Arnold Alcantar said.  “I don’t even know what ball has which unique characteristic.”


At the end of spring practice Nike will take the balls back after surveying each of the quarterbacks. OSU’s kickers and punters are also experimenting with the new footballs.


On to the second day of practice, which was again held inside the Truax Center as threatening weather to start, then just flat out hail later, deterred practice at Reser Stadium and the soggy fields at the Prothro Football Complex prevented much activity there.


The media has started to move away from the quarterback battle as the unexpected departures on defense have moved to the top on the interest level.  Paul Buker from The Oregonian and Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Corvallis Gazette Times caught up with injured linebacker Keith Pankey at lunch  and later Dwight Roberson; Pankey indicated that his rehabilitation from an Achilles injury is moving along swiftly and he still predicts he will be on the field in August.


Linebackers ‘Uani and Feti Unga, and Rueben Robinson are guys who have suddenly been pushed into a more expanded role, and Tony Wilson will be counted on right away to be a starter.


The offense and the defense interacted Wednesday, even though they weren’t in pads.  It’s hard not to notice just how tight of a spiral Ryan Katz can throw, and that’s not being very fair to other quarterbacks specifically Peter Lalich, who in his own right, throws a very nice ball.


“I thought they played fast,” OSU head coach Mike Riley said.  “They reacted very well.  Obviously we didn’t have gear on today (that changes Friday), but we need to play a lot right now and have interaction as we have new guys who need to play – like our quarterbacks who need a ton of work.”


Junior wide receiver Darrell Catchings was sidelined today with an eye irritation, according to Riley.  Sophomore offensive tackle Michael Philipp hurt his left knee about midway through practice, but Riley predicted that it wasn’t serious.


A couple of old faces at practice today, as former defensive end standout Inoke Breckterfield and offensive guard Jeremy Perry attended.  Perry says he is going to be around this spring and could return to school later this year at OSU. Breckterfield, now the defensive line coach at the University of Montana, is here due to spring break for the Grizzlies.  Speaking of Grizzlies, it’s OSU in the Big Sky so to speak --  Breckterfield is joined on the Grizzly football coaching staff by former Beaver quarterback Jonathan Smith, cornerback Aric Williams, assistant coach Dick Arbuckle and strength coach Rob Oviatt.  The Griz even have ex-OSU volleyball assistant coach now head coach Jerry Wagner and former Beaver player now assistant coach Gina Schmidt. 


We invite you to catch more of Coach Riley’s comments from today on Beaver Nation Online, the official audio/video source of Beavers Athletics.  Also today on Beaver Nation Online paid subscribers can view last year’s season opener in its entirety as the Beavers beat Portland State 34-7, which included a Sean Canfield to James Rodgers 87-yard touchdown pass on OSU’s first play from scrimmage.  BNO subscribers will also be able to recount the seven other wins from last season during this year’s spring practice session.


On the media front, in addition to Buker and Kirkpatrick, today’s contingent included KEZI, KVAL, the Daily Barometer, the Official Sports Report, BeaverFootball.com and BeaverBlitz.com.


Full pads for the first time on Friday at 3 p.m.  See you there.


Did you know: Every senior on the active roster, including non-active player Casey Kjos, has either graduated or are on track to graduate in either June, December or March (2011).  That includes Wilder McAndrews and Aaron Nichols, who have been accepted into OSU’s Doctor of Pharmacy program.


Live Media Events (as of 5 p.m. Wednesday)



12:05 p.m. – Mike Riley on “Wheels at Work” on 95.5 The Game in Portland

12:15 p.m. – TBD on the Joe Beaver Show at 1240 KEJO in Corvallis



12:15 p.m. – TBD on the Joe Beaver Show at 1240 KEJO in Corvallis

5:15 p.m. – Ryan Katz on “Primetime with Isaac and Suke” on 1080 The Fan in Portland





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