Friday, October 9, 2009

New post on the new blog

As we posted before, the Stumptown Sports Hook is merging into an all-in-one Vanguard blog.

New posts are up, including Allison's thoughts on this week's football game against Northern Colorado, Theo's take from a show at the Doug Fir and video of Lenny Kravitz in a hockey fight (not entirely true).

So, go check it out.

Seriously. Do it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stumptown is moving!

Hello everyone!

This post is to let you know that the Stumptown Sports Hook will be changing location to the Vanguard's new and improved blog.

Check us out!

"This Week in Big Sky Football" and coaches conference call podcast, Oct. 7

The weekly conference call with Portland State football's head coach Jerry Glanville is available. This week he's the third coach on the podcast after the head's of Eastern Washington and Sacramento State.

The newest installment of "This Week in Big Sky Football" is also up. The guests this week are Northern Arizona's coach Jerome Souers, Montana State safety Kevin Retoriano and David Coulson, the executive director for the Sports Network.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Live blogging: PSU hosting Sacramento State

It's an October afternoon at PGE Park and we are ready to see some college football. The crowd is bundled up and--well, sparse to say the lease. But that--and the fact that we here at the sports desk maintain the Internet is a fad--aside, I'm going to try and give live blogging the game a shot.

As we get ready for the coin toss and kickoff, I'll provide a little background. Portland State, 1-3 on the season and 1-1 at home, is coming off a disappointing last-minute loss against Weber State, and Sacramento State, 0-3, is still looking for their first win this year.

Coin flip:

Portland State wins and elects to receive.

More after the jump.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Weekly media call and "This Week in Big Sky Football"

That's right folks, it's that time of the week!

Audio from the conference call with Portland State football's head coach Jerry Glanville is up. The file starts off with the end of Eastern Washington's Beau Baldwin taking questions, but then includes the head coach from this Saturday's game--Sacramento State's Marhsall Sperbeck--before Glanville fields questions.

Guests on "This Week in Big Sky Football" include Sperbeck, Idaho State wide receiver Jaron Taylor and David Coulson, executive director of FCS football for the Sports Network.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Viking recognized nationally

Portland State wide reciever and kick returner Aaron Woods was named as both the Big Sky Special Teams Player of the Week and the Sports Network's National Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Saturday's game against Weber State.

The press release says it best:
Woods returned five kickoffs for 202 yards and a 97-yard touchdown to keep Portland State close in its 36-29 loss to No. 11-ranked Weber State at home. His kickoff return for a touchdown helped the Vikings climb back from a 28-10 deficit late in the third quarter. Woods had five catches for 128 and two TDs, his second scoring catch on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Drew Hubel gave the Vikings the lead with 1:15 remaining.

Woods finished with 330 all-purpose yards. Woods leads the Big Sky Conference with an average of 192.8 all-purpose yards per game, ranking third in the nation in that category. This season, Woods has jumped all the way from 10th to second in career kickoff return yards (1,387) at Portland State. Woods set a school single-season record with 908 kickoff return yards last year.
Mike Lund
Assistant Athletics Director
Portland State University


Sunday, September 27, 2009

It Came Down to One Play

Vikings fall to Weber State, 29-36
by Allison Whited, Vanguard Staff

Sad. Deflated. Empty. All of these describe the looks on the faces of the football team after the game Saturday against the Weber State Wildcats.

They should have been proud. They lost by only a single touchdown to last year's conference title holder. They kept running back Trevyn Smith, the conference's current rushing leader, to 30 yards when he came in averaging 115.7 yards per game. They played well after the Montana game, something they have struggled with historically.

Head coach Jerry Glanville said it all after the game: “No comments, just disappointment.”

So what happened?

As the clock wound down to 1:12 in the fourth quarter, the Vikings were ahead by one point, 29-28. Less than twenty minutes before the Vikings had been down 10-28. It had been a scrappy comeback, with special teams, defense, and offense scoring to edge out the Wildcats by that one single point.

All day, Wildcat quarterback Cameron Higgins had been picking on the left side of the secondary. Glanville had originally lined up cornerback DeShawn Shead, who is almost always lined up on the right side of the field, against receiver Tim Toone, but, as Glanville put it, “he kept getting into trouble.”

When Shead couldn't answer the call, Glanville put him back on the right where he's comfortable and called Tracy Ford's number to replace him. According to quarterback Drew Hubel, Ford is a team leader who practices more than anyone else on the team and is heavily laden with heart and soul.

When the Wildcats began their run that would eventually lead to a victory, they did what the defending champs would do. In six plays and 47 seconds, they drove from their own 16 to the Portland State 38, aided by a Vikings' pass interference penalty.

After a Viking timeout, Higgins hit Toone in the end zone for a touchdown. That pass looked like a pick to everyone; Ford jumped up to the ball, was in perfect position, and somehow, someway, the ball sailed through his hands.

“I thought we had a pick,” said Glanville.

Even the Wildcat head coach and quarterback thought it was an interception.

With 55 seconds left in the game, the Vikings were emotionally and physically done. The game ended on an incomplete pass to Aaron Woods.

In a game with so many positives, including Hubel going 17 of 26 for 353 yards and two touchdowns, Ray Fry tearing it up for 196 receiving yards, and freshman fullback Ben Bowen rushing for 100 yards and garnering a gaudy 6.7 yards per rush average, the only thing Glanville's men will be thinking about today is that last play.

Like Hubel said after the game, it shouldn't have come down to that one play to win the game. Bowen had fumbled on the goal line and lost possession. Kicker Zach Brown missed two field goals. The team was penalized ten times for a total of 104 yards. Adjust just a few things, and that's the game.

But sometimes it does come down to just one play. It's a lesson that the Vikings and the Wildcats would do well to learn. 


Friday, September 25, 2009

Game Thought About Weber State

by Allison Whited, Vanguard Staff

Not that my opinion means much, but from now on, before Saturday's football game, I'm going to write a brief article about how I think the game is going to play out. I will provide some analysis of the opponent and mention what I think will be the key aspects of a Viking victory.

This week's opponent is Weber State. They shared the conference title with Montana last year, so this game is a biggie. In his media call this week, coach Glanville sounded a little bitter about this week's match up. He again and again reiterated that the Vikings have never played well in the game following last week's opponent Montana. Traditionally, the schedule has seen Glanville's men face Montana State after Montana, so this year Glanville asked for a change. This adjustment to the schedule leaves Portland State playing the two conference title holders from last year in consecutive weeks. Ouch.

Weber State has a record of 1-2 with their sole win coming over Big Sky competitor Idaho State. They entered the season with the league's top returning rusher, passer, and receiver.

Opponent Analysis

It will be all eyes on No. 25, running back Trevyn Smith. He is currently fifth on the Big Sky Conference's all-time leading rushers board. He needs just 110 yards tomorrow to move into third. He enters the game averaging 115.7 yards per game. He has also racked up 117 receiving yards so far.

Receiver Tim Toone will be quarterback Cameron Higgins's main target, but I would look for Cody Nakamura to have a good day. He has only 79 receiving yards less than Toone's 263, but twice as many touchdowns. I believe he will have to step up because the Viking secondary is going to put the squeeze on Toone.

The Wildcat defense doesn't strike me as overly stiff. They give up 373 yards of offense per game, and have only registered five sacks on the season. Their strong man on defense, at least statistically, is middle linebacker Taylor Sedillo who has 24 total tackles on the season. That's a respectable, but not mind blowing, 8 per game average, and he has not had a game in which he made more than 10 tackles.

Their secondary also seems a little thin with only three interceptions.

Viking Analysis

Enough can't be said about run defense in this game. If you take away Smith, there is no Wildcat running game. The next leading Weber State rusher is Bo Bolen who has had ten carries for a net 35 yards on the season. The run defense did look good at practice this week, I have to say.

Taking away the run would also force the Wildcats to the air where Higgins does make mistakes; he has thrown seven picks. I've said it many times, but I really like the Viking secondary. It is steady and has big play ability on every snap.

Offensively, the Vikings need to just play their game. Weber State allows an average of 221.7 yards through the air and 151.3 rushing yards per game. I don't want to say specifically what I saw the offense doing this week at practice, but I will say I don't like it. If you have a quarterback you can trust, and I think Hubel is certainly trustworthy, I say take the training wheels off and do it often.

The offensive line will stay strong, despite Moses Punzal's absence and Adam Kleffner's undetermined status. Kyle Ritt did a good job filling in this week, but Manual Rojas missed some stuff and was chastised on a couple of occasions. Lucky for them, the Wildcats don't appear, at least numerically, to have a severe pass rush.

In the End...

For the Vikings to win, they have to play perfect football, something they have not as of yet showed an ability to do. I'm more hopeful than Glanville seemed this week during the media call, but, at the end of the day, it will probably go the Wildcats. Their offense has all three parts working together like a machine.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tonight's the the Stott

As a part of new student week, Campus Rec is hosting their annual Night at the Stott event this evening from 7:30 to 10 p.m.  The event is free and features a shrimp boil as well as a laundry list of activities, including rock climbing, personal training, yoga, basketball and soccer.

As part of the fun, the aquatics program is sponsoring a "Dive in Movie," where they will project Yes Man on the two-story wall of the pool.

So, bring your Speedo and feed your Zooey Deschanel addiction while getting your swim on.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

This Week in Big Sky Football

Another edition of "This Week in Big Sky Football" is up on the Interwebs. Guests on the show this week include Weber State running back Trevyn Smith, Montana State coach Rob Ash and Big Sky Conference Assistant Commissioner Jon Kasper.

Portland State head coach Jerry Glanville's conference call with the media is also available. Sacramento State's Marshall Sperbeck is on the call before Glanville, so unless you want to hear about the Hornets' bye week, fast forward to the half-way point.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's (almost) game time!

  Portland State @ Montana, 12:05 p.m.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Weekly conference call with Jerry Glanville

This week's conference call with the media and Portland State football's head coach Jerry Glanville is up.

There's also a new edition of "This Week in Big Sky Football" with Commissioner Doug Fullerton, Northern Colorado's head coach Scott Downing and David Coulson of the Sports Network.


Monday, September 14, 2009

Fradella earns fifth Player of the Week

For the second straight week, Vikings' setter Nique Fradella has been chosen as the Big Sky Player of the Week.

Press release, take it away:

Portland State’s Nique Fradella has claimed her second straight Big Sky Player of the Week award for matches played the week of Sept. 7-14.

The Vikings won the Circus Circus Invitational in Reno, Nev. last week and Fradella was tabbed the MVP after notching 11.00 assists per set, and hitting .429 over the tournament. Portland State defeated Sam Houston State, UC Davis and host Nevada to take home the title. Earlier in the week, the Vikings took No. 12 Oregon to four sets before falling on the Ducks’ homecourts.

The senior setter notched 151 total assists, 28 digs and seven blocks on the week. She averaged 10.07 assists and 1.87 digs per set. In a 3-1 win over UC Davis on Saturday afternoon, Fradella recorded her third double-double of the season with 43 assists and 10 digs. She connected on 5-of-7 attempts for a .571 hitting percentage, and added three blocks and two service aces.

Fradella followed that up with 46 assists on Saturday evening as Portland State closed out the tournament with a 3-1 victory over Nevada. She started the week with 30 assists against Oregon. On Friday, she had 32 assists, two blocks and five kills as Portland State shut out Sam Houston State.

The native of Lake Arrowheard, Calif. has won the weekly award five times in her career. She was also honored twice in 2007 and once as a freshman in 2006.

Autumn L. Wehr
Big Sky Conference

Brown earns Big Sky recognition

Vikings' kicker Zach Brown was chosen today as the Big Sky Conference's Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Saturday's game against Southern Oregon.

Straight from the press release:

Brown, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound freshman from Keizer, Ore., booted field goals of 52 and 46 yards in Portland State’s 34-10 victory over Southern Oregon. Brown’s 52-yard field goal came in the second quarter and put the Vikings up 17-3. It was the longest field goal by a Portland State kicker in 22 years and was 3-yards shy of tying the school record. Brown added the 46-yarder in the fourth quarter. Brown was also 4-for-4 on extra points and finished the game with 10 points. This is the first Player of the Week honor for Brown.
Jon Kasper
Assistant Commisioner/Media Relations

Big Sky Conference

Also nominated for this week's honors were junior quarterback Drew Hubel and sophomore linebacker Ryan Rau.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Success at Home

Viks pull off overwhelming win over Southern Oregon
by Allison Whited
Vanguard Staff

PGE Park on a warm Saturday afternoon in September was meant to be home to a football game. Head coach Jerry Glanville seemed to think the same thing as he led his team to a 34-10 victory over the Southern Oregon University Raiders.

Though it seems to be a strong win and therefore a good indicator of the team's ability, Glanville had no problem finding fault with his team, and justifiably so.

First, there were the six turnovers. Quarterback Drew Hubel threw two interceptions in the third quarter and wide receiver Aaron Woods had three fumbles on punt and kick returns.

Next was the lack of a score coming from the red zone. Last year, the team ranked last in the Big Sky Conference in red-zone offense.

Penalties? Nine flags for 85 yards, including a boneheaded roughing the kicker penalty on a punt that returned possession to Raiders.

Lastly, according to Glanville, the freshmen played like freshmen. Evidence of this came on the Raiders' only touchdown. Early in the fourth quarter, outside linebacker Joel Sisler blew his coverage and allowed a 75-yard pass to speedy receiver Vance Beach.

Despite the obvious negatives, plenty of positives came out of this game.

The first, as Glanville agrees, is the performance of kicker Zach Brown. Last year he traveled listed as an emergency punter, but after this game, it seems like kicking is his niche. He hit field goals from 52 and 46 yards today that would have been good from several more yards out. He also barely missed a 42 yarder.

“We found our kicker today,” Glanville said.

Second would have to be the overall performance of the defense. They stifled the opposing offense and allowed them to complete just 16 of 41 attempted passes. Seniors Erik Pedersen and Jermaine Jacobs had six and five tackles, respectively, assisted and unassisted, while fellow senior Ryan Pedersen racked up five solo tackles, including two tackles for a loss.

The defense also kept a Raiders rushing attack that garnered 242 yards in their season opener to a miserable 12 yards despite 34 hand offs.

When asked about how he felt the defense performed, Erik Pedersen replied that “[they] did pretty good” considering they had to play through 75 offensive snaps. The defense also allowed the Raiders to only convert on six of their 22 attempts at third down.

Another bright spot in the Vikings' game plan was the ability to convert third downs. Though last year they ranked last in the conference with just a 33 percent success rate, in this game they converted on six of 11 attempts for a healthy 54 percent rate.

Last but not least was the explosive play of the defense. On the first possession of the first quarter, Hubel threw a 96 yard touchdown pass to Woods. On the very next one, he threw a 91 yard touchdown pass over the middle to receiver Lavonte Kirven, who showcased soft, beautiful hands throughout the game.

Next week will be a true test of Glanville's Vikings. They will compete against Montana in Missoula in their first conference game.

Glanville says he will inform the squad on Monday that preseason is officially over and that the one-and-one record they have amassed so far doesn't mean anything.

Erik Pedersen, for one, is happy to be getting such a big game out of the way so early in the season.

Montana is "a team that gains momentum as the season goes along. We're still healthy and have a lot of guys ready to hit,” he said.

Montana is the team to beat in the Big Sky, considering they have won or shared the last 11 conference titles. In last year's match up between the two teams, the Grizzlies controlled the ball for a little over 43 minutes. For the Vikings to have any chance at winning, they will have to keep their defense off the field and have a solid day against the run, preventing another 300-plus yard rushing day for the annual conference favorite.

Senior Lavonte Kirven caught three passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's game against Southern Oregon, including this 42-yard touchdown reception.

Photo by Aaron Leopold,
Vanguard Staff

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Vikings open at home with Family Day at PGE Park

Fans and families alike are invited to PGE Park on Saturday as Portland State football kicks off their 2009 home season against Southern Oregon.

Coming off last week's hard-fought loss to Oregon State on the road, the Vikings look to earn their first win of the season on their home turf as they face the NAIA-independent Raiders from Ashland. The last time the two teams met was in 1975, when Portland State was led by coach Mouse Davis to a 58-7 victory.

The game is scheduled for a 1:05 p.m. kickoff and will feature family-friendly activities and discounted ticket packages. As a part of Family Day at Portland State Football, two adult and two youth general admission tickets will be available for $25 and the Viking Family Fun Zone, featuring three inflatables from Portland Party Works, will be available for kids from noon through halftime.

To purchase tickets by phone, call 1.888.VIK.TIKS (1.888.845.8457) or 503.725.3307.

More information is available here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Viking Athletics Program Teams With Bald Faced Truth Foundation

The Portland State Athletics program and the Bald Faced Truth Foundation have announced a partnership that will allow PSU to aid the all-volunteer non-profit in support of area youth programs and activities.

The non-profit, created by local newspaper columnist John Canzano and KATU reporter-anchor Anna Song, has the stated mission of "inspiring joy and growth in area youth through the support of the arts, education and athletics." Portland State Athletics will work in conjunction with the Bald Faced Truth Foundation to restore funding to these critical youth activities throughout the Portland Metro Area.

The partnership begins with Portland State football hosting the Bald Faced Truth Foundation Day on Oct. 17 at PGE Park when the Vikings play Northern Arizona. Guests can make a donation to the BFT Foundation and receive a complimentary general admission ticket (min. $10 donation per ticket). Proceeds raised from the BFT Foundation Day will be used to fund grant requests for elementary and middle school programs in the area.

"This is a great opportunity for our program to be involved with a worthwhile organization," said Viking football coach Jerry Glanville.

For more details about the Bald Faced Truth Foundation, go to or email The BFT Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Your contributions are tax-deductible.

Mike Lund
Assistant Athletic Director
Media Relations

"This Week in Big Sky Football" and coaches conference call podcast, Sept. 9

The first edition of “This Week in Big Sky Football” is up. On the show are Montana coach Bobby Hauck, Eastern Washington running back Taiwan Jones and Dave Coulson of the Sports Network.

Also, listen to the audio of this week's conference call with coach Jerry Glanville. Eastern Washington's
Beau Baldwin and Sacramento State's Marshall Sperbeck take questions first, so feel free to fast-forward to the final third to hear Glanville.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pod cast of Big Sky Conference football coaches conference call, Wednesday, Sept. 2

Listen to the pod cast of today's conference call with Big Sky football coaches:
  • Sacramento State's Marshall Sperbeck
  • Northern Arizona's Jerome Souers
  • Weber State's Ron McBride
  • Idaho State's John Zamberlin
  • Portland State's Jerry Glanville
  • Northern Colorado's Scott Downing
  • Montana's Bobby Hauck
  • Eastern Washington's Beau Baldwin
  • Montana State's Rob Ash

Friday, August 28, 2009

Football practice: parting shots

This post was written by Vanguard writer Allison Whited.

I have enjoyed my time at practice the past three weeks immensely. I watch so much professional football that it's easy to forget how important raw talent is and how some play the game just to play the game. I have been reminded how camaraderie can exist between two people striving for the same thing and how much we can learn from those teaching us if only we listen.

I'm very shy, so it takes a lot for me to get comfortable enough to talk to someone, but I would like to say that every time I have had contact with someone associated with PSU Athletics, it has been a very positive experience. I even met the athletic director one day and he was so genial that I instantly felt comfortable. I just want to say thank you to those few people I worked up the nerve to talk to between the beginning of spring ball and now. I have utmost respect for the coaching and training staff, the players themselves who work so hard and the folks who work in the athletics department.

Now just a few parting thoughts on what I've noticed in practice the past three weeks:

I love the secondary. The starters seem set to be Tracy Ford and DeShawn Shead at cornerback and Cody Worthen and Jordan Brown at safety. They are good, intelligent athletes and they create a stifling backfield for anyone under the gun. Even the players behind them in depth chart, guys like Mshaka Mitchell and Michael Williams and Denzel Davis, have shown plenty of skill, speed and intelligence. I like the way secondary coach Brandon Shelby coaches. He doesn't appear to be anyone's friend, but he's a great mentor. I really think this group will anchor the defense.

I think the quarterback position is solid in Drew Hubel's hands. His height is a great advantage over everyone else on the depth chart at that position. On some plays, and this happens more and more frequently, he has great—which is a word I try not to use frequently—touch on the ball. He puts it where it should be, softly, without letting it float dangerously. He will be called on a lot this year, but he seems confident enough to handle it. I also think Connor Kavanaugh is a good backup. He gives the offense an extra dimension with his scrambling ability and he seems to be settling into his internal game clock.

The freshman fullbacks have been such a pleasant surprise. We will have to wait for the season to begin to get a taste of offensive coordinator Jim Craft's play calling, but with backs like these as well as incumbent backs like Bobby McClintock and Nick Kalpin, it can't hurt to throw some more runs into the mix. Evans Okotcha and Ben Bowen have lit it up at times. The speed on both of them is great and they are good in pass protection. They are going to prove to be good investments in the future.

The linebacker group is solid. With senior linebackers Erik Pedersen and Ryan Pedersen returning as starters, it's a unit that gets things done. They have each spent at last a year under Glanville and know where they are supposed to be and what they need to do. There are rarely mental lapses and they really are too much fun to watch.

I still think the receiving corps needs another leader besides Aaron Woods. Woods is great to watch at practice. He is so aggressive and finds a way to the ball. I have the feeling he's going to get quite a bit of coverage this season and someone will need to show up to draw heat off of him. From all that I've seen at practice, I think Lavonte Kirven is the most likely. He has good hands and good field awareness.

The offensive and defensive lines have improved so much over just the past three weeks. It's difficult to tell what everyone playing those key positions is doing on every play and I know that I did not give those guys as much credit as they deserve. They work together well and the offensive line has gotten stiffer while the defensive line has gotten more punishing.

My final thought is one of thanks. I'm thankful I got to spend time watching such a talented group of athletes. I'm thankful no one trashed me for any negative comment I may have made. And I'm most thankful that anyone even read my drivel. I have to admit that I thought I was only writing for myself, but as time has worn on I have realized that more people read it than just me. Someone actually warned me that other teams could read this junk to scout out the team (do people really do that?). All I wanted to do was show my commitment to covering the team and give people an idea of what the team was doing. I hope that at the lowest level I have achieved that.


Football practice, Thursday, August 27

by Vanguard writer Allison Whited
I found time to attend both morning and afternoon practice yesterday, so there's quite a bit to report. The basic setup for practice was what it has been all week. In the afternoon though, the first offense took on the first defense which provided a better way to gauge the progress made this week.
Lavonte Kirven has been more of a presence in practice this week than he has been previously. He has good hands and runs a clean route. He seems in synch with Hubel and Kavanaugh and this led to some very nice catches.
The defense looked solid today. They were getting good penetration and the pass rush was steady and thrilling. Linebacker Ryan Pedersen got a hand on a couple of balls and even garnered an interception.
Defensive end Dereck Jester stood out today in a couple of ways. On one play, he rushed the offensive line and broke through with little trouble and on drills looked like he had a good combination of strength and speed. He is one of the smallest guys on the defensive line at 240 pounds but he plays heavier than that.
The offensive linemen took turns taking each other on this morning, and it is without a doubt one of the most fun and most informative drills that can be watched. They go one-on-one until one of them puts the other on the ground. The team gets into watching it and there are a lot of cheers. And for the loser of the match, there are a few up downs.
One particularly interesting matchup was between centers Tyler Staley and Jackson Dallas, who outweighs Staley by 30 pounds. Staley is a veteran of Glanville's team, though, and Dallas is a first year transfer student. This gap in experience allowed Staley to get one over on the bigger man. Dustin Waldron also had a good looking match up against Cole Giandomenico which he won.
In the heat of afternoon practice, everyone seemed a little more irritable. There was a bit of admonishment coming from coaches Glanville and Shelby. Cornerback DeShawn Shead got in some hot water for making too hard of a stop and cornerback Matt Ford was strongly chided for not staying with receiver Ricky Cookman and allowing a touchdown.
On red zone drills from about ten yards out, the secondary was everywhere. The quarterbacks had to run with more than a few balls because none of the receivers could shake his defender. When they switched to the long field, safety Cody Worthen had two of the best plays I've seen him make. On two back-to-back plays, he broke up passes from Hubel and one of them was even to receiver Aaron Woods, who is difficult to cover.
Kavanaugh further proved he is adjusting to the speed of the coach Craft's game today by throwing two consecutive bombs up the middle of the field to Woods.
One thing that stands out in comparison to the first week of practice is the decrease in mental mistakes, the biggest of which being off sides/false start penalties. There were more than a few during the first couple of weeks, and the linemen could often be heard grumbling about their mistakes on the sidelines, but that no longer seems to be much of an issue. This speaks to the discipline and commitment that the team has been working so hard.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Football practice, Wednesday, August 26

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

Football practice followed the same structure that it has all week with the first team taking on the opposing second team, yet there has been a shift in the routine from last week. It seemed like last week the focus was really on fundamentals, but this week the focus is clearly on what to do after the snap. It really seems to be making a difference. With so many freshmen on the team, it might be impossible to give them enough looks across the line of scrimmage before the season opens.

Receiver Lavonte Kirven was on his game today and ran two beautiful routes up the defense's left side with a reception each time. He has a good sense of timing and looks for the ball at the right moment. Receiver Ray Fry dropped two balls that had his name all over them. He can be good when he's on, but for the moment, he doesn't seem consistent enough to be counted on.

Defensive lineman Siasu Matagiese got a piece of two balls today. One pass he simply reached up and hit, breaking it up beyond repair. On yet another pass that was low, he caught the ball that the quarterback threw. He is keenly aware of where the ball is after the snap, a skill that makes it difficult to believe that this will be his first year playing at the collegiate level. He is coming from Hawai'i with several accolades and he could become an important part of the line.

The punt/kick return drills today were more involved with more players taking part in them. Linebacker Jaycob Shoemaker was in on them as he was yesterday. On one return, he got to the receiver very quickly and the receiver let the catch go right through his hands and knees. Shoemaker covered it up and if it had been a real game, it would have given his team possession with great field position. It's this quickness and ability to react that would make him a key part of the return team.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Football practice, Tuesday, August 25

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

This morning, in the rain, the first offense and the second defense carried out 11-on-11 drills again and vice versa, just like yesterday.

The first offense is getting better at creating running lanes. Bobby McClintock had plenty of room to run and he had quite a few productive carries. Evans Okotcha and Nick Kalpin, who, in his second year, should see more playing time than Okotcha and fellow fullback and freshman Ben Bowen, both had space to make things happen.

Receiver Ray Fry looked good today, so it can be assumed that a nagging hamstring injury is no longer bothering him. Drew Hubel threw some balls his way and he had a catch for around 20 yards. He also caught a beautifully thrown pass from third string quarterback Nick Green.

Quarterback Connor Kavanaugh showed some progress in his game play patience today. Even under pressure, his internal game clock seemed to slow down and he patiently waited until he found an open receiver in Kalua Noa. Generally in a situation such as this, he scrambles and it was heartening to see him sit in the pocket and wait it out.

Freshmen defensive linemen David Gertson and Dereck Jester played the run fairly well. They pulled together for a great stuff of Kalpin.

Against the first offense, receiver Nevin Lewis had some good catches and even better yards after the catch. He repeatedly burned the defense's right side. Receiver Justin Monahan managed to find a rare hole in the middle of the field and made a great play on the ball.

It seems that there are two players guaranteed to do some blocking down field on kick and punt returns. Linebackers Jaycob Shoemaker and Colton Russi were the two constants during today's special teams drills. They seem to compliment each other well. Shoemaker seems a little quicker all around, but Russi seems to have the big hit capacity. Linebacker Kevin Takeno and fullback Kalpin alternated rounding out the group of three working this particular drill.

I try to keep my opinion out of these accounts, but there is something I have to get off my chest. I really, REALLY want to see a receiver, besides the very talented Aaron Woods, step up and tell Hubel he's the guy. The receivers all work hard at practice and most of them have decent hands and speed, but overall, besides Woods, they lack aggressiveness. I want to see them fight for the ball and push just a little harder to get everything they can out their catches. The offense will greatly benefit should anyone decide to make it happen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Football practice, Monday, August 24

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

The cold temperature this morning really brought it home that football season begins in just 12 days. On cold, cloudy mornings like this one, it's hard to believe there is another place as beautiful to watch football practice as Stott Field.

The first offense took on the second defense and vice versa in this morning's 11-on-11 drills. The first defense and certain members of the second defense are making progress. They move together and help each other out when it's needed. The offense still appears to be a little patchwork at times, but, in all honesty, there is marked improvement from both spring ball and just two weeks ago when practice began.

Currently, safeties Cody Worthen and Jordan Brown are deemed to be the starters and it looks like a good combination. They seem to have very different styles of play. Brown is on the move quickly after the snap whereas Worthen employs more of a wait-and-see strategy. Brown is a constant presence in the ball's vicinity, but Worthen sticks with whomever he's covering.

Both seem to be holding back a bit at practice, which doesn't seem like a bad thing given the smattering of injured players on the sidelines. I have heard Worthen described as the "future of the defense" and Brown as a "team leader"—these two working together for the first time should be an anchor point for the defense.

Also on the defensive side of things, cornerback Denzel Davis did a good job of staying on his receiver, particularly on a pass to Nevin Lewis. Linebacker Ryan Rau also did a good job impeding receivers and had a strong stop on receiver Justin Monahan.

Punter Thomas Duyndam and his presumed back up Zach Brown had good practices. It's difficult to tell how strong their feet are as they only kick for a few moments and from a specific, constant range, but they both looked to have good control of the ball with decent hang time. Duyndam for the most part averaged about six seconds of hang time over a distance of 30-40 yards. He kicks the ball fairly high and seems to be able to put it where he wants it.

Drew Hubel threw a beautiful pass to Lavonte Kirven. On a long field, Hubel's pass was textbook. He put it out in front of the receiver, where only Kirven could get it. It was perfectly placed between the numbers and it came down soft, but didn't for a moment float dangerously. Perfection.

There are still errors made and there is no mistaking that this is a young team, but there have been some good practices recently that left little that was negative to report.

Football practice, Friday, August 21

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

There seemed to be heavy emphasis on the running game Friday morning, both from the offensive side and the defensive side. Early on, the offensive line repeatedly set about creating running lanes after the snap. The offense overall is pass happy and through other practices, the running game hasn't looked threatening.

That is beginning to change a bit though. There are a couple of freshman backs that will compliment returning starter Bobby McClintock very well. Evans Okotcha and Ben Bowen show good field awareness and an ability to make small cuts to gain a few extra yards on each play. They are also fairly adroit when called on to block for the quarterback.

There were two defensive plays that have to be mentioned. Ryan Pedersen is an intelligent linebacker and plays as much with his brain as he does his body. On one snap, the coach handling the ball as the quarterback created some misdirection that looked as if it fooled the entire defense, and, while everyone on his side of the ball went one way, Pedersen went the other and made a beeline to the "quarterback".

Another impressive play was made by linebacker Erik Pedersen. In an 11-on-11 drill where the run was being pushed, Pedersen patiently waited for a hole to open, which the defense created in just a couple of seconds, and drove straight to the running back with the ball. It was a strong defensive play and it showed the entire defense’s ability to follow through.

On the special teams’ side of things, the Vikes look good. There are two competing kickers, Robert Truax and Wade Penner. Both have a pretty good foot and both are usually on target. It seems like they take turns every day looking like the better option. On the whole, they both look good and give depth at a position that can make or break a game. The long snapper is Braedyn Eagle and he is consistently on target with his snaps. He is fairly imposing and should hold up well under pressure.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Football practice, Wednesday, August 19

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

This morning, the team was divided into offense and defense at opposite ends of the field. On the offensive side, it looked pretty good. The offensive line, without the formidable rush from the defense on every snap, was able to work together to keep the quarterback safe and create lanes for the running backs. Ben Bowen and Bobby McClintock benefited from this and as a result were able to get some good runs in. On one particular play center Adam Kleffner got a great block in on his man and gave McClintock miles to run.

Watching the offensive line practice can be challenging at times. There always seem to be numerous occasions when, if they could just stay with their man or get that block in, the whole offense would have the opportunity to run more smoothly. It's just little things here and there that would make a world of difference. Kleffner's block is an example of just what good can come about when there is complete follow through after the snap.

One of the new quarterbacks, Hank Taylor, had a relatively good morning. As I have previously written, he has a problem seeing the field. This morning he was able to find receiver Daniel Wolverton twice in a row on different routes. He did, however, botch a hand off to full back Nick Kalpin.

Punter Thomas Duyndam had company this morning. Coach Glanville had receiver Zach Brown punting with him. Currently, Duyndam is the only punter on the roster, and he is also currently the only international player. Brown was last year's back up punter and will obviously continue in that role this year. Brown did a fine job, but he can certainly benefit from watching Duyndam.

Offense met defense towards the end of practice where third down situations were played out. Quarterback Drew Hubel had a couple of beautiful bombs to receivers Zach Brown and Daniel Wolverton. He retained presence of mind in the pocket and patiently waited for them to get down field and he was rewarded with about 100 passing yards on the two completions. He certainly looked every bit the starting quarterback. Presumed third string quarterback Nick Green had a nice pass under pressure to receiver Ricky Cookman.

The pass rush was successful and relentless. Outside linebackers Ryan Pedersen and Ryan Reardon and defensive lineman Siasau Matagiese all had notable rushes that ended the offense's progress. Rearson and Matagiese are both freshman, proving that Glanville did a remarkable job of recruiting his freshmen defensive class.

The ball wasn't safe when it was out of the pocket either. Kavanaugh was picked by cornerback Tracy Ford and during Ford's return, he lateraled it to fellow cornerback DeShawn Shead and then threw a block for Shead so that he might continue to advance the ball. Teamwork at some of its finest.

In the counter teamwork file, there was some grumbling on the sidelines by the receivers about defensive end Travis Beckley's tendency to get a hand on the face mask. On one play where Beckley slapped a face mask, someone even yelled out, “That's 15 yards number 92!”

On a final note, there are a lot of players on crutches and with boots on. Receiver Ray Fry and offensive lineman Moses Punzal are the latest to walk the sidelines.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Football practice, Tuesday, August 18

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

The offensive and defensive lineman practiced single man coverage this morning and it was intense to watch. Going against each other one-on-one, the defensive lineman would attempt to push his way past the offensive lineman to get to where the quarterback would hypothetically be.

During these drills, a couple of players really stood out on the defensive line. Freshman Shea Prince was lined up against center and fellow freshman Jackson Dallas. There is a 90-lb. disparity between these two in Dallas' favor, but to watch them you wouldn't have known it. Prince put himself in great position and got under Dallas' pads. From there, Dallas didn't have a chance and Prince just walked him backwards and out of the way.

Another standout on the defensive line was Conrad Davis. On one drill, he made contact with the opposing lineman and then gave a great spin move and got away. This all happened in a matter of seconds. Currently he is listed third in the depth chart at defensive end, but his abilities should garner him more playing time than that.

A standout offensive lineman this morning was Kyle Ritt. He looked strong through spring training and he continues to perform at a high enough level that he should start. Time again, regardless of his opponents size, he matched up perfectly and held them at bay. With him on the line, the quarterback should be able to breathe a bit easier.

While the lineman were sparring, the rest of the offense and defense set up against each other in mock 11-on-11 drills. The secondary was in top shape with two near interceptions by safety Jordan Brown and two back to back picks of Drew Hubel by DeShawn Shead and Tracy Ford.

One of the new quarterbacks who showed up last week is still having trouble seeing the field. Most of the time, he winds up running with the ball, but without passing, he's not gaining anything. Receiver and obvious team leader Aaron Woods took him aside and threw the ball back ands forth with him after one mean looking play. Hopefully this encourages him to keep progressing in the offense.

Speaking of Woods, what a great day he had. Towards the end of practice, with the team taking on the long field, he was Hubel's go-to guy. Two catches in a row, right up the middle, each for 20-plus yards. The thing that is evident when watching Woods on his routes is that he wants the ball. Whereas some of the receivers run their route and wait for the ball, Woods finishes the route, finds the ball, and then goes to it. This aggressive attitude is part of what makes him so dangerous to opposing defenses. He will without a doubt be exciting to watch this year.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Football practice, Monday, August 17

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

Coach Glanville was running punt/kick return drills again this morning and time and time again, wide receiver Aaron Woods shined. He always keeps one eye on the ball and the other on the approaching defenders and manages to make this level of multitasking look easy. The ball always falls between the numbers and upon reception, he puts on a burst on speed and moves that make your head swim. He should continue to be an important part of special teams like he was last year.

It was not a great day for the Vikings' quarterbacks. Both starter Drew Hubel and the team's presumed number two, Connor Kavanaugh, left a bit to be desired in today's 11-on-11 drills. The drills were conducted on the short and long fields today with much the same results on both.

Hubel consistently overthrew his receivers all morning. One might be inclined to think the routes weren't finished or the defense was getting some good bumps in, but that just wasn't the case. Any receiver he threw to was too far away from the ball to make a genuine attempt at it. There were times when the ball was too low or too high. A well-positioned ball was nary to be seen.

There is no doubting Hubel's talent and this was apparently just a bad morning. He also has some timing issues to work out with his new group of receivers. Seven of the thirteen wide receivers on the roster are new to the team this year.

Kavanaugh didn't fair any better than Hubel at today's practice. However, where Hubel made some mistakes on the physical side of things, Kavanaugh made errors from a mental standpoint that were far more egregious than Hubel's errors.

It seemed as though Kavanaugh kept seeing things that just weren't there. On one particular play, the offensive line was very stiff and gave him plenty of time to find an open receiver and complete a pass. There was no pressure being applied to him, but all he managed was a weak, wobbly pass to receiver Daniel Wolverton that was only a completion because of Wolverton's athleticism. Time in the pocket like that only happens once in a blue moon and Kavanaugh must learn to make the best of it when it happens.

By far the most unnerving situation with Kavanaugh at the helm played out on the short field. All of his receivers were covered and instead of taking off with the ball like he is apt to do or being patient until someone came loose, he threaded the ball through a wall of defenders and wound up with an incomplete pass. If the secondary had been so inclined, it would have been an easy interception. A mistake like that at the goal line has the potential to lose a game.

Kavanaugh is a good athlete and imbues the Vikings' offense with a scrambling ability, but he has a bit more to learn about the game management side of things. It will without a doubt come with time.

Cornerback Michael Williams was a bright spot in the secondary today, breaking up several passes. He never takes his eyes off of the receiver and stays physical throughout the play. Fellow cornerback Denzel Davis also had nice coverage and broke up a pass. Both of these freshman players from Texas, and both at 5-9, look like they could offer some relief during the season to help everyone else at the position stay healthy.

Two a day practices start tomorrow and it will be interesting to see the progression of the team as practice becomes more concentrated.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Football practice, Friday, August 14

This post was written by Vanguard sports writer Allison Whited.

Today's 11-on-11 drills were conducted on a shortened field. It looked as though the team was practicing the red-zone offense. Last season, the Vikings were last in the Big Sky Conference in red-zone offense. Opportunities for progress are minimized in the red-zone. A good combination of running plays and passing plays were called.

It is noteworthy to mention the quarterback situation at practice. With Tygue Howland's injury, the Vikings have less depth at the position, with just Connor Kavanaugh and Nick Green on the roster. At practice all week there has been another quarterback working with the team and today there was yet another. It is obvious watching them that they aren't nearly as experienced as the other three quarterbacks, but offensive coordinator Jim Craft has been very patient with them. After every snap he pulls them aside to explain what went wrong. Time will only tell if they find themselves on the roster, but so far it doesn't look too good.

After a week of practice, it is impossible not to have tremendous respect for what secondary coach Brandon Shelby is doing with the team. He's a quiet presence--he can't be heard yelling like the other position coaches. Though he only joined the team in February, his presence can be felt all over the line. It doesn't hurt that the secondary is heavy with talent, but his impact is undeniable.

When the defense lines up, Shelby comes up behind his players and will slightly move them or point something out to them. With these small tweaks, he sets them up for success. Almost without fail, every time he does this, whomever he was speaking with is either responsible for or in on the stop.

The players buy into his coaching too. After they receive an adjustment from him, you can see them looking for key things indicative of what the offense is doing and they become more productive. The secondary consistently looks good and under Shelby's guidance it seems posed to continue to impress.

PSU Vikings vs. OSU Beavers fan bus & tailgate!

Join PSU alumni and friends as they travel to Corvallis to watch the Viks take on the Pac-10 Beavers.

Saturday, Sept 5
Departure from PSU - TBD
Kickoff: 11:35 a.m.

$48.00 per person includes:
  • Roundtrip transportation to OSU on a deluxe Raz motor coach (personal food and drink allowed on bus)
  • Tailgate lunch with hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, softdrinks
  • Access to private No Host bar (beer $4/wine $5)
  • Reserved private Green & White party area
Game tickets are NOT included in the price.*

Register for the fan bus and tailgate at

*Need a game ticket? Contact Jim at 503-725-8210 or e-mail

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Football practice, Wednesday, August 12

This post was written by Vanguard writer Allison Whited.

There was plenty of rain to go around this morning at practice and it was a good opportunity for the players who have come here from other less rainy regions to get acquainted with the Oregon weather.

On the whole, the rain didn't seem to affect anyone's vision or ball handling skills. There were a couple of exceptions: wide receiver Keitrell Anderson dropped the ball on a punt reception, and center Tyler Staley had a snap to quarterback Drew Hubel that never left the ground. These things are bound to happen, but as the season and rain wear on, the likelihood of a repeat of these mistakes should diminish.

The offensive line looked better today than they have at the last two practices. They were able to stay together and create running lanes for running backs Bobby McClintock and Ben Bowen. Lineman Zach Dias continually stuck with the man he was blocking throughout practice, receiving praise from the coaches. If he can continue to show that kind of focus, it will help to take pressure off the quarterback, who usually seems a bit rushed, regardless of who it is under center.

The defense looked great today and safety Michael Almond stood out in particular. On one particular play, he read the offense like it was a child's book. Watching Hubel's eyes, he followed the pass and came up with a textbook interception. He played as if the pass was intended for him the whole time; there would be no other receiver and that was evident before the ball was even snapped. It was just incredible to watch.

On another play, Almond was lined up on the right, a little behind the line. Secondary coach Brandon Shelby came up behind him and moved him directly onto the line. When the ball was snapped, Almond was able to find a clear lane to the ball carrier and end the play. It was impressive to watch a former player, Shelby, impart his knowledge of offense to a young, very obviously talented player and see the good that can come from it.

Wide receiver Raymond Fry had a good day today as well. The past couple of practices, he has blended into the background a little bit, but today he caught a couple of passes and fought for more yards after and he had a good catch on a punt return. If he can consistently produce, he will be a great asset for the Vikings.

There were a couple of little skirmishes between players here and there, but there were more smiles on the coaches' faces today. Hopefully, there are even more tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

VIDEO: First football practice, Monday, August 10

Football practice, Tuesday, August 11

This post was written by Vanguard writer Allison Whited.

The weather this morning was beautiful and it offered a nice reprieve from yesterday's sun. Practice was quieter today than yesterday and the media hoopla has receded a little bit.

Something I would like to make note of that I did not mention regarding yesterday’s practice was an injury to freshman free safety Justin Lilley. At the end of a drill yesterday, Lilley slipped on the turf and lay there for some time after. I looked and looked for him to see if he came back and I could not find him. Today I spotted him—on the sideline with crutches and his leg in some kind of brace. Before his injury yesterday he looked great and exercised good control when going through some drills.

The coaches were exploring who would be best suited for the punt return team today and it was fantastic to watch. A group of players would line up and once a punt was kicked to the returner, they would take off after him. The coaching staff implored them to do well and reminded them they would be watching video of the drill later on to determine who would make it.

Cornerback Tracy Ford had a great return, as did Aaron Woods. Quarterback Connor Kavanaugh got a piece of the return action too, though he had a pretty ugly drop on one of his two attempts.

Linebacker Ryan Pedersen had a great tackle and strip, and defensive end Joe Ma'aseia had a perfect tackle towards the end of practice, really showing what coach Glanville's seniors are capable of.