Oregon St. Takes Advantage Of Bye, And Doesn't Deny It

Reser Stadium will set idle for the next 3 Saturdays, but Beaver Nation knows what's going on with their players during the bye. (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

This week we saw another couple of episodes of injuries impacting Pac-12 teams, and their coaches trying to deny the obvious. Almost simultaneously, USC's Lane Kiffen and Washington's Steve Sarkisian tried to stifle reports on the injury status of Trojan center Khaled Holmes and Husky offensive lineman Colin Tanagawa, and spawned a firestorm of debate in both the media and the fan bases of their teams. The reporting bans on facts that ensued are the latest episodes in an era of widespread attempting to "manage the facts" to avoid any that are inconvenient.

The backlash was sufficient that Kiffen even had to back down a bit, but in the end, both programs still took steps away from being accountable to their customers, commonly called fans, who pay the bills for them, and from having a favorable relationship with the reporters who cover them. Which could become inconvenient as well, when said coaches/athletic departments need coverage of their star player, or a boost in national perception come bowl selection time.

While Buildingthedam.com, and UWDawgbound.com for that matter, couldn't officially confirm it, there are reliable sources that Tanagawa did in fact comment on his knee.

"OW!" was what he said.

Fortunately, at Oregon St. we don't have such silly problems to deal with, as Beavers head coach Mike Riley has not only always allowed access to his practices, he's been open about the status of his team.

Therefore, BTD can report that freshman center Isaac Seumalo did in fact not participate in the physical aspects of practice this week, resting his hip. Seumalo could have practiced in the latter portion of the week had it been necessary, but with it being a bye week, the most sensible approach was to allow Seumalo the rest, and after the 3 day weekend break the players get while the coaches head out to watch high school games Friday and JC contests on Saturday for recruiting, he will be back at practice Monday.

Running back Storm Woods is also expected back in action Monday. Woods hurt his foot in practice Tuesday, and though he returned Wednesday, had to shut it down early, and spent Thursday watching drills, as Oregon St. split time between an early start on specifics in preparation for UCLA and working on polishing the fundamentals.

Both quarterback Sean Mannion and offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh commented at different times about the usefulness of the extra time to work on the Beavers' base plays, formations, and execution.

Safety Anthony Watkins was back practicing some this week, and we will see next week how well his hip is coming along.

And before anyone panics about defensive end Dylan Wynn's absence from practice, meetings, and everything on Thursday, Riley advised that Wynn was excused for a family function.

Notre Dame Non-News News

Ever away from the practice field, there's news and then there's pseudo-news when it comes to college football. This week, Notre Dame announced a new alliance with the ACC. The Irish are moving all their programs except football and hockey (hockey is a different animal, with leagues of its own exclusive of the Big 10) from the Big East to the ACC, and that Notre Dame football will play 5 games per year against ACC teams.

This isn't really non-news, as its another blow to the Big East, and an opportunity for the ACC to expand their reach, but it isn't going to cause major upheaval in football scheduling, which is the whole reason Notre Dame is doing this.

Scheduling during October and November specifically is becoming more and more difficult for independents, and Notre Dame and BYU can only play each other so often during that time, so this will be a big assist in the Irish avoiding the potential horrors of playing Miami of Ohio instead of Miami of Florida at some point.

The fact that the university will be making a move into the eastern seaboard and southeast that will aid in general student recruiting doesn't hurt matters either.

But its not as though the schedule will be changing all that much; for example, Notre Dame plays 3 ACC schools this year, plus Pitt, who will be an ACC team by the time the new arrangement comes into play.

And Boston College is a permanent rival for the Irish, much like USC is, so that game will just continue and simultaneously satisfy one of the five game requirement the ACC must meet.

Speculation was that this could end some of the other of the Irish's schedule regular features, and specifically Stanford, which would impact Pac-12 scheduling, specifically problems with moving the "Big Game" around every other year. But don't expect that to happen; the USC series will continue (its the most watched game of the year for both programs world-wide because of the size of the cross-over audience), and the Irish want to keep Stanford as well, so that they are assured of an appearance in one of the two largest markets in the west every year.

But the long standing Michigan series is already slated for a 2 year hiatus later this decade, and Purdue has been talking about taking a break as well. If the Big 10's 12 teams do move to a 9 game conference schedule, as has been discussed on several occasions, a permanent non-conference opponent really begins to eat into a school's option, as we have similarly seen with Utah in the Pac-12.

So if the Notre Dame-Michigan St. is one of the games you will be watching on your bye weekend, worry not, Notre Dame is going to be the same Notre Dame going forward.

(Personally, I'm much more interested in the USC-Stanford game as the centerpiece of the weekend's schedule, and a good way to fill the second "off" week in the first three weeks of the season.)

So take a break and get caught up Beaver Nation; next Saturday starts a run of 11 straight games, something Oregon St. has, well never, faced!

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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