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OSU defense honing in on Colorado State

CORVALLIS — There's a lot for the Oregon State defense to get done before making the trip to Fort Collins to take on Colorado State next week.

The Rams return quite a few key offensive players, so the Beavers will have their hands full.

"We've got to stop their run game, we've got to take care of a lot of little things they do," OSU defensive coordinator Kevin Clune said. "They've got two running backs coming back, two quarterbacks coming back, receivers coming back.

"They've got a really skilled, veteran group and at the end of the year last year they were scoring a lot of points, so we've got to step forward a be able to find a way to stop."

On Wednesday, the Beavers concentrated on third-down and red-zone situations.

"And all the little things they do that's special that our offense hasn't even run against us, so we've got to prepare for that," Clune said. "There were a couple plays down in the red zone that we weren't exactly sure, we've got to shore that up by the time we play."

POSITION BATTLES: There are still some position battles between players at both safety and inside linebacker.

Clune said the coaches are trying to find the best combinations at those spots.

"There's a young guy like David Morris who is going to see a lot of time (at safety). Is he going to break into that starting unit or not, or just going to rotate? We'll see," Clune said.

"The rover 'backer position, there are still three guys that are bangin' around. The D-line, I really felt good about those three D-linemen I kept talking about (Paisa Savea, Kalani Vakameilalo and Titus Failauga) and the Elu (Aydon) has taken a major step forward and now who's the next guy? We're going to need six guys and we've got four, I think, maybe a fifth that's kind of showing up, and who's going to be the sixth? Those guys have got to show up."

NEW LOOKS: The Beavers have shown some different defensive sets than in the past. There's been some two-down sets and some with three safeties.

Clune said the Beavers are able to delve into some new looks because they are further along in the basics of the OSU defense.

"We're trying to get the best guys on the field, and there is a lot better understanding of things than there was last year," he said. "It's hard to quantify, it's hard to define.

"There's a lot of communication that we don't have to have because we've had it before."

LINE SHUFFLE: Gus Lavaka has moved to left guard to allow Trent Moore to move inside to right tackle and Fred Lauina to move outside to right tackle.

The Beavers went with this combination for the scrimmage Saturday and it could be the how the starting lineup shakes out for Colorado State, along with Sumner Houston at center and Blake Brandel at left tackle.

Offensive line coach T.J. Woods said he wants to play the five best players at their best positions.

"We want to put them in the spots where we feel like they have the best chance for success," Woods said. "Right now, from a pass protection standpoint, moving Fred out to right tackle solidified that position a little bit better in our view. Moving Trent in, Trent's like the Swiss army knife, so he can do all five, which is awesome. And Trent will be fine inside and I think that gives us the best chance right now."

KELL INJURED: Safety Drew Kell left practice on crutches with an undisclosed injury to his leg.

Kell, a junior who graduated from Crescent Valley High in Corvallis, has been a mainstay on special teams and was in the mix at safety for the Beavers.