By Kevin Hampton

Corvallis Gazette-Times

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No. 7 Washington at Oregon St.

When: 5 p.m. Sept. 30 TV: Pac-12

CORVALLIS — The learning curve has been steep for Oregon State’s cornerbacks this season.

When the Beavers lost junior starter Dwayne Williams for the season after the defeat to Minnesota, the younger players had no time to get acclimated when the Beavers headed to pass-happy Washington State last weekend.

It was a tough outing. Cougars quarterback Luke Falk passed for 396 yards and six touchdowns, and most of the damage was done by wide receivers.

“At the beginning of that play is the technical aspect of it,” Oregon State cornerbacks coach Cory Hall said. “And depending on what the technique is makes a difference. Those are contested balls. What you’re talking about is an inch. A yard. And in that inch and in that yard, there are certain things that have to be done.”

The corners have to give a game report to Hall, and most of those revealed an admitted problem.

“They knew everything they needed to do before they did it and it was just this technique — I didn’t use this, I didn’t do this,” Hall said.

Sophomores Shawn Wilson and Jay Irvine and Xavier Crawford started with senior Kyle White getting playing time.

Wilson, who had some game experience last season as a redshirt freshman, finished with nine total tackles, two for loss, but did not break up a pass.

“Shawn is a student of the game, he’s very coachable,” Hall said. “When you look to a player like Shawn, you say he’s solid. He’s going to know his assignments, he’s going to know where to align and on top of that, he’s going to know how the offenses are trying to attack the zones or the men that he’s defending.”

Irvine played his first complete game for the Beavers. He was on the rise last season and got his first start against Colorado but was lost for the season with a shoulder injury in the game.

He had five total tackles and a pass breakup against the Cougars.

“He’s still got strides to make. That position’s not for the faint of heart at all,” Hall said. “And so you look at first full game, got some experience and now you kind of see what it takes to play at this level and in this league and now you know how to practice. I think that’s the overall message for everybody. You’ve got to practice at a high level, and so it was good to get him some experience and you’ve got to continue to get more.”

Hall said the corners are very aware of what they face in the rest of the season.

“I would say awakened,” he said. “And I’m not saying that they weren’t before. But now it’s more of a fight, not flight, and it’s more of a play, not think.”

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