Spring practice continued Monday and Tuesday at Oregon St., but today's damp action unfolded without head coach Mike Riley. Riley had to leave for Canada, where his father Bud Riley is in the hospital. M. Riley is not expected to be back for Thursday's practice either.
Slade-Matuatia's departure isn't of tremendous concern, as TE is a position of abundance, with highly anticipated freshman Caleb Smith joining an already solid group consisting of Colby Prince, Tyler Perry, Connor Hamlet, and Kellen Clute.
However, the loss of 2 linebackers could be a bit of a concern, despite several incoming red shirt freshmen, should last year's rash of injuries at the position reoccur. Te'o saw action in several games late in the season as a junior, after being one of the banged up linebackers mid-way in the year. A repeat of the trip to Seattle with only 5 total healthy and available linebackers in the program is not something anyone wants to see repeated. Egan is a sophomore-to-be.
Whalen's departure would seem to settle the battle for the long snapper job, but should something happen to Michael Morovick, a red-shirt sophomore in the fall, a sudden problem could develop at an unsung, but highly important, position, one quietly handled quite well in recent years by the graduating Marcus Perry. Whalen would have also been a sophomore this fall.
In better news, WR Micah Hatfield, out all last week with a concussion, has returned to drills. And a couple of injured linemen are continuing to progress ahead of schedule.
Offensive Colin Kelly continues to participate in more of practice, as his foot injury seems to be healing well. And DT Castro Masaniai, originally not expected to do anything but watch until fall camp, is also starting to work on some light duty things in practice.
Oregon St. will work again Thursday, and then on Saturday to complete the 3rd week of spring drills.