Jordan Poyer (14) has quietly gone about the business of becoming one of Oregon St.'s best players. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)
While the old news is new news again news cycle continues down the road at the University of Oregon with the Cliff Harris controversy, and it's spill over to Darron Thomas, and the University of Miami might be looking at the NCAA "Death Penalty" after about a decade of Nevin Shapiro spending his ill-gotten gains from a Ponzi scheme to provide every imaginable illegal extra benefit to Hurricane players, things continue to be comparatively quiet in Corvallis.
One key player almost no one is talking or writing much about so far in fall camp is former safety turned cornerback Jordan Poyer, and the reason the special teams demon hasn't attracted more attention is he just shows up, does everything he is supposed to, and goes off to study video of cornerbacks, including a lot NFL ones, in order to improve his skills.
No getting hurt, no getting in trouble, no getting in scuffles, and therefore nothing that demands he be in the news. That of course will probably change as soon as games start, and Poyer makes plays that earn mention in the stories, just as he has since he stepped onto the campus at Astoria High, never mind Oregon St.
The Corvallis Gazette-Times' Aaron Yost has taken notice of Poyer in practice though, and has a great read today on the Beavers' do everything guy.
"He is one of the best football guys I have ever been around," Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley said in Yost's article. "His football IQ is just ... he just understands the game. He uses every bit of ability he has and his instincts kick in. He could be a slot (receiver) for us. If we were running the spread offense he could probably be our quarterback. I’ve never seen a guy, no matter what level, be the state player of the year on both offense and defense."
The fact is Poyer, who can punt as well as return them, could play any position other than on the line that Oregon St. needed him to. And he was effective as a baseball player, and a high school basketball player, before consciously and voluntarily stepping away from those sports in order to focus on football.
Riley wanted to red-shirt Poyer as a freshman, but he was one of those players that was just too good from the beginning to keep off the field. Now, halfway through his career, he is one of the reasons for optimism for this season.
"He’s a great player," Ryan Katz said. "He’s coming into his junior year, and it seems like he got here yesterday. But the kid’s stepping up and making plays. He’s filling in for that starting role pretty well, and if he continues to play like this, we’re going to have a good secondary."
Starting defensive tackle Kevin Frahm showed up at practice after getting treatment on his knee and ankle, sporting a brace as well as the crutches he was using last night. The initial diagnosis is a "strain", not a "sprain".
Riley said Frahm will have an MRI later today to determine just how serious his knee strain is, but will probably miss at least 2 weeks of work. That makes his availability for the opening game Sat. Sept. 3 against Sacramento St. seem unlikely.
Frahm suffered the injury in a pile up in yesterday's practice.
Masaniai Puts On The Pads
While the Beavers are down one DT for a while, another has begun practicing in full gear. Castro Masaniai, who didn't join practices until after resolving his legal issues last Thursday, has completed the NCAA pre-requisite number of acclimation practices, and donned full gear for this morning's session.
Masaniai may be down the depth chart, and needing to work into shape and out of defensive line coach Joe Seumalo's doghouse, but being the only real size on an otherwise smallish Oregon St. defensive line, and with Frahm out of action, the opportunity to quickly climb into a key role originally planned for him has materialized.
Putting he Punting Pieces Together
Oregon St.'s new punter Tim McMullen watched practice Wednesday morning, but the question about where a scholarship might come from could be answered. Junior safety Josh La Grone from San Diego has retired from football, according to Riley, as a result of on-going knee problems that apparently have become too much to overcome. If La Grone chooses, he can finish his education, but the move may open up an active player scholarship spot (the Beavers were at the NCAA maximum 85 scholarship limit).
It also makes the shift to safety of several other players more timely.
The La Grone family has now seen their second member not be able to make it through their career, as Matt, who was a defensive end, also left early, moving to Reno for family reasons.
Oregon St. will go through a second workout this evening at 6:30 PM, in helmets and shoulder pads only, before having a scrimmage-like practice tomorrow at 2 PM, with game officials scheduled to be present.