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Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Spring update: Oregon State

By Kevin Gemmell

Maybe Mike Riley is sending a message to Sean Mannion. Maybe not. Maybe Cody Vaz just looked good and the coach wanted people to know it.

Most of the questions surrounding OSU's first spring practice Tuesday were about the running game and Mannion, OSU's second-year quarterback. Riley said Mannion looked good, but also made a point -- a couple of times -- to stress that Vaz looked solid as well.

"I thought Cody Vaz had a real good day," Riley said. "I thought it was good give and take. Good football considering it was pretty much vanilla stuff the first day."

Ok, not exactly grounds for a quarterback controversy, but still worth noting that twice, Riley brought up the back-up.

"Sean has always had a great demeanor," Riley said. "Easy to talk to. Not flustered, I thought that was evident, even more so today in the first day of spring ball. He's always well prepared, makes mostly good decisions. We want to do a better job of being able to protect him and being really precise with our routes. And let him continue to grow in decision making and then I think we have a chance to be real good.

"Again, I'm encouraged by what Cody Vaz did today too. I don't want to leave him out. I think like last spring, he looks good to me."

Day 1 also saw lots of new (and old) faces at practice. Some of those include former Beavers Kyle DeVan, Mitch Meeuwsen and Trent Bray, plus new secondary coach Rod Perry who comes to the team with a wealth of NFL experience.

Riley said there was a "good vibe" as the team worked specifically on fundamentals.

"We've been so disappointed the last two years," Riley said. "We went back, spent all of our offseason, a lot of research. What are we going to do? Now we know a lot of these players. What are we going to do with them? We came out here and it was just step-by-step detail, one inch by one inch.

"... Every minute we get to play with these guys out here is super-important. There are a lot of rules surrounding coaching in the offseason and you can't do this until spring practice. It's real important for us when we get out here that we can utilize this time to the utmost."

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