Day 8 of spring football for Oregon State was highlighted by a live scrimmage - complete with referees, a DJ and a small crowd - that took place during the last 45 minutes of practice.
"It went pretty well," said head coach Mike Riley. "The scrimmage was about letting our players finish plays and hit a little bit, so it was good."
On Thursday, Riley guessed the starting unit would see little time during the scrimmage, with the younger, inexperienced players getting the majority of the playing time. Much to the delight of the crowd in attendance, the first and second units received the majority of the repetitions.
The offense looked good across the board, with big plays from a number of different players.
Junior wide out Obum Gwacham stood out from the receiving corps, catching both balls thrown his way for 42 yards. The second reception was a 25-yard touchdown on a short slant route over the middle. Gwacham snagged the low pass from senior quarterback Cody Vaz and then broke a tackle en route to the end zone.
The biggest play of the day came from sophomore running back Storm Woods, however. Woods only touched the ball twice in the scrimmage, but made the most of the opportunity, taking his second carry 80 yards down the left sideline, outrunning the entire Oregon State secondary, for a touchdown.
The touchdown was the result of sound blocking from an offensive line that has impressed so far in the spring.
"There have been some real big signs that they're improving," Riley said. "The offensive line is better and has a chance to be deeper this year."
A stout run defense shut down junior Terron Ward. Ward gained three yards on five carries during the scrimmage.
Redshirt freshman Chris Brown was also bottled up for most of Friday, racking up 22 yards on 11 carries. Brown did look better in the passing game, however, making a couple tricky grabs for short gains.
Junior Sean Mannion and Vaz both looked sharp in the scrimmage, combining for only 5 incompletions and zero interceptions. Vaz threw the lone passing touchdown of the day on the 25-yard score to Gwacham.
Vaz got the majority of the first team reps - though Mannion and Vaz seem to switch between first and second team every practice and edged out Mannion statistically, completing eight of nine passes for 91 yards and a score compared to Mannion's 10 of 14 for 57 yards and no touchdowns.
"They both looked good I thought," Riley said. "It's nice to have two guys back there that really know what they're doing."
Defensively, junior safety Ryan Murphy continued to impress with his play. Murphy had an excellent spring camp last year, and is having a good spring once again. Murphy made a circus, juggling interception of Mannion in the 7-on-7 period prior to the scrimmage, and was good in coverage and run support all day.
"Murphy has had a great spring," Riley said. "He's really stepped it up. He's setting a great example for every player on this team."
Senior receiver Kevin Cummings and senior defensive back Jovan Stevenson got into the only fight during the scrimmage, wrestling after a play for approximately 10 seconds before being separated.
"I don't like [fighting], but we have so little of it. I think whatever happened is done now," Riley said.