April 23, 2007

Safeties look to experience to fill void

Practices have been a little quieter for the Oregon State secondary this spring.

Welcome to life without Sabby Piscitelli.

Not only was the safety a tremendous talent on the field for the Beavers, but
also the undisputed vocal leader of the defense last season.

Defensive coordinator Mark Banker, however, isn't that concerned about
someone stepping up vocally for the Beavers. He would rather see a player become
the complete package Piscitelli ended up being.

"I am about improving the overall play at the safety position," Banker
explained. "Just his (Piscitelli) actions at this point in time from the
standpoint of doing the right things: in the weight room, with the academics,
on the field, his understanding of the scheme and the way he's been playing
consistently is the main thing."

Yet, there does appear to someone emerging as a vocal leader for the defense
this spring - senior strong safety Daniel Drayton. He, however, isn't
a loud one like Piscitelli was. That's because he has become a mentor to his
fellow safeties.

"Who helped me big time was Daniel Drayton," said junior free safety
Al Afalava. "He always helps me out and I always ask him for help.
I am still learning and I am trying my best to be more of vocal leader. I try
to help the younger guys out as much as I can."

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