"We've Got It All Installed, Now We Need To Get Better"

Obum Gwacham is trying to capitalize on others' misfortune by getting in a lot of reps. - (Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

So said Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley after Tuesday's 10th practice of pre-season preparations, referring to having all of the offensive formations and plays at least introduced to the team. The defense is supposedly about there as well, though hopefully there are some blitz packages still to be mastered.

The need to get better, and as Riley said, sharper, was evident though, in one of the less impressive sessions so far. Part of that can be attributed to the shuffling of players in and out as the Beavers work around injuries, and also to some of what was run today being brand new to at least some of the players. But on a number of plays, I couldn't determine what was supposed to be happening, and neither could a number of those on the field. Predictably, a lot of it didn't work, and that led to a fair amount of yelling and arm waving by the head coach. It wasn't exactly "golly gee" he was saying either.

The good news was the return to action by WR Richard Mullaney, and increased action for WR Kevin Cummings, who made his return yesterday. Cummings split his time between sets with the "1s" and "2s", while Mullaney was mostly with the "2s".

Today's single session was Cody Vaz's turn with the "1s", and Sean Mannion took the reps with the "2s", as coach Riley continues to alternate practice to practice between the candidates for the starting QB job.

Other good news included the return to practice of TE Tyler Perry and reserve safety A.J. Hedgecock, both of whom had been sidelined for multiple practices, and also an increased number of reps for S Steven Christian. Not so good news was CB Rashaad Reynolds being back on the sideline, barely after getting back on the field after his late last week absence, and CB Malcolm Marable joining him there.

WR Micah Hatfield is still reduced to taking notes as well, and offensive lineman Garrett Weinreich is still sidelined as well.

"Right now, (freshman Sean) Harlow and (redshirt freshman Nolan) Hansen are backing up tackles, but if we had to move other guys, we would," offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said.

Riley did share that while the MRI on freshman TE Will Hopkins wasn't pretty, it did allow the medical staff to determine it won't require surgery, just time to heal. Expect Hopkins to redshirt.

The benefactor of all the disruption at in the receiving corp could be Obum Gwacham, who has not only stayed healthy all camp, he's getting a lot of reps, and with more than one group.

Riley also announced tentative plans for a scrimmage with officials Thursday, but also added that most of the veterans will sit it out, in order to minimize injury risks. With double practices scheduled for both Wednesday and Friday, its likely those regulars will need the break to rest sore muscles.

"We've got a lot of hamstrings (and), groins," Riley said. "It's unfortunate, but typical."

At least Oregon St. fans are getting updates on player conditions, as well as the opportunity to see for themselves what's going on. It's a stark contrast to today's news from up the river. Oregon is one of a majority of teams to close practices, and the Ducks have also been notoriously uninformative about injuries. But today it reached a new low, when Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich moved beyond the insulting "no comment" response to blatant lieing, declaring freshman TB Thomas Tyner 100% (with cameras rolling), this after Tyner was observed on crutches, and with a foot in a boot.

Whether one agrees or not with any given decision coach Riley makes (and there are plenty that fall on both sides of the scale), at least things are uncommonly out in the open for everyone to see.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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