Oregon St. cornerback Jordan Poyer did not practice again today, and his strained knee still has not been cleared by the doctors. Head coach Mike Riley did not rule Poyer out of Saturday's game against Arizona St., though, noting that there is still a day and a half, with the Sun Devil contest being a night game. A decision may or may not come before game time on Poyer's participation in one or more of his multiple roles.
Markus Wheaton did return to practice in a limited manner today, and he is expected to play Saturday, though his role could be an in-game decision as well. Wheaton would normally replace Poyer as the punt returner, but Riley said he wanted to talk to Wheaton further before making that decision in this case. If neither Poyer nor Wheaton are up to punt return chores, either CB Rashaad Reynolds or RB Terron Ward would be Riley's next options.
Whether Wheaton will start remains unknown, but Wheaton did confirm he will play, and feels better than normal, having had the week off physically.
Sean Martin, who plays in the Beavers' dime package, and some others, would primarily fill Poyer's role in the defense. The greater impact could be a reduction in the amount of dime package play Oregon St. uses, but since Arizona St. does not throw down field that much, opting for much more read option and short passing plays, and a lot of throws to backs, more linebackers and mostly nickel (vs. dime) packages could be in order anyway.
Running back Storm Woods, who eased into practice as the week has moved along, did go at full speed today, and will start Saturday.
Oregon St. is otherwise healthy heading into Saturday night's Dad's Night game at 7:30 PM.
Here's coach Riley's remarks post practice today:
The Beavers will be without one key contributor, though. Graduate assistant Kyle DeVan, who has been instrumental in the improved performance of the offensive line this season, has been recalled by the Tennessee Titans for the second half of the NFL season. The Titans cut DeVan at the end of training camp.
"We're sad to lose him, but very excited for Kyle to be headed back to Tennessee," Riley said.
With Riley likely around Corvallis for some time to come, you have to think of this as more of a loan, with DeVan welcome back to the Beavers anytime he's free.
In news from the opposition, both DT Will Sutton is considered likely to play, and DE Junior Onyeali will play Saturday night, according to Arizona St. head coach Todd Graham. Right guard Andrew Sampson and tackle/tight end Tyler Sulka have been a little slower to recover, but have been practicing, and both "may play" against the Beavers, according to Graham.