The members of the Oregon St. football team aren't the only ones who have been busy getting ready for a busy fall season. A slug of work hasn't allowed me the time for a few days to do more than take a few notes on what's happening, but now its time to empty that notebook.
The Beavers have missed the worst of the heat that's been baking the mid-valley since Saturday, practicing at 11 AM, and again Saturday and Monday evenings at 6:30 PM. But with a forecast for 100 degrees later in the week, and temperatures on the field turf in the range of 130 degrees, its certainly acclimation and preparation for the trip to Tucson in September. UCLA ran into heat-related illness issues in their camp in San Bernadino, and Oregon St. is going to be careful about over-extending their players.
Thursday will see a scrimmage, but with a forecast calling for it to be possibly the hottest day of the year, head coach Mike Riley has already said the 1's will be limited to about 20 plays or so.
The injury/illness bug hasn't bitten nearly as bad as last year, when continual disruptions kept putting the focus on putting a team on the field, vs. putting the best team on the field, and in a position to have a chance to win, but there have been some more problems of late.
Saturday was also "Barbeque with the Beavers" day, following the morning/early afternoon practice. There was even talk of inviting neighbors, but the idea of having Oregon coach Chip Kelly drop by was discarded. Experience has shown that Kelly always burns the Beavers.
One player who is beginning to concern on-lookers in senior safety Anthony Watkins, who has watched practice since contact drills started. Watkins is trying to heal up a hip flexor injury, which can be both painful and lingering. Coach Riley said he isn't to concerned yet, noting that Watkins in improving, and he wants him healthy. And Oregon St. knows what Watkins is capable of.
Monday night saw freshman offensive lineman Garret Weinreich go down with a left knee injury that required him to be carted off the field. Weinrich was scheduled for an MRI today, but the results won't be known until at least tomorrow. Riley told reporters that the trainers initially felt that the injury isn't severe, and hope Weinrich to be back in about 2 weeks.
The other big (as in bigger than 300 lbs.) freshman offensive lineman Oregon St. fans are excited to see is Gavin Andrews, and he's been out of practice of late as well. Both Andrews and freshman tight end Caleb Smith have suffered "concussion-like" symptoms.
Fortunately, aside from Watkins, the dings so far have been to the depth, though as thin as Oregon St. is, that's still a serious concern, and the starters are getting the reps together this year.
Here's a look at the cornerbacks:
Oregon St. also picked up a commitment for the 2013 season over the weekend, but it wasn't much of a splash. Tight end David Ajamu of Shelton, WA, is 6'4" and 238 lbs., and has run a 4.65 40 yard dash, but has not been ranked with any stars by either Rivals.com or Scout.com. Shelton did have offers from Nevada and Wyoming, but Ajamu wants and needs the Beavers, who are well-stocked in the tight end/h-back area, a lot more than the Beavers need him.
In non-football news, there was some buzz generated when Athletic Director Bob DeCarolis announced that Dave Maggard is joining Oregon St. as a special assistant to the athletic director this week.
Maggard has had stints as athletic director at the University of California (1972-91), the University of Miami (1991-93) and the University of Houston (2002-09), among a number of other athletic achievements in his career.
As most Beaver fans know, DeCarolis is dealing with Parkinson's disease, and so there was speculation that this might be a step in response to that situation. And while Maggard will certainly help DeCarolis out (there's no shortage of projects around Oregon St. to work on), this was a case of ripe fruit unexpectedly falling on the lawn.
Maggard is retired and living in the area to be close to family, and looking for something to do with himself. It will be interesting to see what DeCarolis decides to have him help out with.
Practice resumes Wednesday with another double dip, with another 6:30 evening session in shoulder pads and helmets following a mid-day bakery special in full pads, starting at 11 AM.