Everett Hayes is striving for consistency, just like the Beavers; Patrick Herbert makes his return: I-5 Traffic Report
Checking in on football camp in Corvallis and Eugene to start the week along the I-5 Corridor.
CORVALLIS — Everett Hayes has spent his offseason hanging with the locals — his Oregonian teammates, that is.
Oregon State’s kicker, a junior from Granite Bay, California is soaking up what precious time he has left before season’s start. He goes boating on Detroit Lake and often takes day trips to the coast. The city of Newport has become a favorite destination of his.
Noticeably missing from the offseason itinerary is any residual stress from the 38-yarder he missed in double-overtime to seal the Beavers’ fate in a 37-34 loss to Colorado in early November of last season.
“You're gonna remember the misses more than the makes a lot of times,” Hayes said. “You just gotta be able to move on and come back”
That 60-yarder though? The one he nailed to end regulation in that same game, well, he certainly remembers that one. He’s hopeful his coaches will too, because, after being hired in 2017, Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith may finally have a team capable of big things and his 6-foot freckled kicker will be squarely in the fold if they do.
“I’ve kind of always had that,” he said of the 60-yarder, which tied a Pac-12 record. “It was one of those fun opportunities (you get) to either end the half or the game. It's one of those cases where you just go out there, have fun, and let it go.”
Sure, the 38-yarder ate at him for some time. Three of Hayes’ six misses last season came from the 30-39 yard range. It’s impossible to block out all the noise. He heard plenty.
Luckily, Smith is in his corner.
So is Alexis Serna. A placekicker and punter for the Beavers from 2004-07, Serna was named an All-American as a sophomore and senior, and in 2005 was the recipient of the coveted Lou Groza Award as the nation’s top kicker. In 2018, Serna returned to the university, accepting a gig as the Director of the team’s program Beyond Football — an initiative aimed at preparing Oregon State players for post-football careers.
He doubles as Hayes’ mentor.
Hayes said Serna is always in his ear after big kicks and games. He pops in at practice, too. But at the end of the day, it comes down to Hayes himself.
“You really just have to be able to focus in, trust your instincts and trust everything you practice…,” he said. “You just have to let your muscles take over and go back to the basics.”
Last year, a 7-5 Oregon State team proved it was feisty enough to beat the Pac-12’s best. The Beavers also showed they were just inconsistent enough to suffer inexplicable losses to the conferences’ bottom-feeders.
Make no mistake, Hayes will be a very real piece in this season’s push towards something more. In Corvallis, “Pac-12 Championship” is being thrown around for the first time in Smiths’ tenure.
So as Hayes spends his post-practice time engrossed in punting competitions with the punters, and longest-kick challenges with his fellow kickers, he’s doing his best to enjoy it, because soon, every time he lines up to kick, far more will be on the line.
— Shane Hoffmann, from Corvallis
Herbert time in Eugene?
Patrick Herbert is a college graduate now, which makes sense when you think the last time you really heard his name came during the 2019 season when there were still questions about whether or not he’d catch a few passes from his brother, Justin.
Patrick, a tight end, didn’t catch any passes from Justin. He was just a freshman then, still learning on a team deep with experience. Now in 2022, Herbert sees himself as a leader on this team — one of the few remaining who experienced those walk-throughs and locker rooms before big games years ago.
The only weird thing is here, looking older than his brother ever did on the Ducks, Patrick hasn’t really played in any of those games. He’s appeared in one game in three years, with a knee injury during last year’s fall camp derailing what was expected to be a breakout season.
“It’s a tough situation for sure,” Herbert said. “You don’t wish it on anybody, but there’s a plan for everything and I’ll make sure to keep working.”
When hobbled the last year, Herbert did as Herberts do best: He dove into the playbook. He had his coaches put together about 200 pages of different concepts and formations, with Herbert trying his best to learn the how and why of various positions across the field.
Usually when Patrick, Justin and oldest brother Mitchell are home together, Patrick said things can get pretty competitive. But that vibe turned more supportive this summer, as the trio all prepared for important autumns in their careers:
Justin is an MVP candidate with the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mitchell is doing his rotations at Columbia Medical School.
And finally healthy, Patrick believes he can be an on-field leader for a young Oregon tight ends group.
“I just had my top speed that I ever hit a few weeks ago,” he said. “I was pretty excited about that, even after all the issues.”
— Tyson Alger, from Eugene
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