Oregon St. head football coach Mike Riley shared updates on the status of a number of Beavers today, less than a week before fall practice starts.
Starting quarterback Ryan Katz was amongst a number of players who were going through an informal workout on the Reser Stadium turf while Riley was addressing the press, and so was tight end Joe "The Tank’’ Halahuni.
"That's Pretty cool,’’ Riley remarked. "This is an off day, and they’re still out here.’’
Riley reiterated that Katz is 100%, after being limited all spring, and longer than expected, which has further raised all kinds of concerns, recovering from a broken bone in his throwing hand.
Halahuni is progressing well after shoulder surgery at the end of spring ball, but may not play until Pac-12 games begin, on Sept. 24, when Oregon St. hosts UCLA.
"Joe’s going to play this year, but it might not be until after the bye week,’’ Riley said.
It makes tight end and H-back another of the many serious concerns that Riley has, because of the limited depth.
"The thing that’s most worrisome to me of all the questions is this tight end deal,’’ Riley admitted.
Redshirt freshman Connor Hamlett, who excelled in the spring game, will play H-back, while Colby Prince will strart at tight end, and back each other up, until Halahuni returns.
It's hardly the end of the list of question marks for Riley, though, who said he’s got so many contingency plans he can’t keep track of them all.
One of the biggest needs for a contingency play is at wide receiver, where James Rodgers is rehabbing after two major surgeries on his left knee after injuring it in last year's Arizona game.
Rodgers, above, has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow in Palo Alto, at the Stanford Medical Center, to determine how much he will be able to do.
"We’re just going to let James play according to what the doctor says,’’ said Riley.
At least at kick returner, with Jordan Poyer, Riley has a good alternative to Rodgers. How much Rodgers can play will probably directly determine how much 6'5" Obum Gwachum will play this fall.
The good news at receiver is that Jordan Bishop, below, is fully recovered from off season surgery to repair damage from a broken bone in his ankle suffered in a pick-up basketball game.
You could tell Riley is looking forward to unleashing the combination of Rodgers, Bishop, Marcus Wheaton, and Halahuni, which he declared to be "as good a receiving corps as there is in the conference.’’
Rodgers isn't the only Beaver making another visit to the doctor this week. Tailback Jordan Jenkins, below, has a doctor appointment on Thursday to evaluate where he is after surgery for a torn labrum in the spring.
Riley also addressed a couple of the cornerstones to the defense who have had some groin issues, but fortunately for the Beavers it appears they will be ready to go come the opener against Sacramento St. on Sat. Sept. 3.
Starting outside linebacker Cameron Collins recently had an abdominal surgery, but Riley said medical personnel indicate Collins will be available by the start of the season.
"He will be limited at first,’’ Riley said of Collins.
Collins' initial limited availability had to have been a factor in Reuben Robinson moving to outside linebacker as well.
Starting safety Lance Mitchell, below, also continues to have groin issues, but elected to not have surgery similar to what Collins underwent. Mitchell is used to playing that way Riley said, noting he’s "full speed ahead.’’
Several others who aren't full speed ahead include freshman defensive tackle Fred Thompson, who is out with a shoulder injury, freshman offensive lineman Darryl Jackson, who had hip surgery this summer and is likely to redshirt, and back up center Roman Sapolu, who has a foot injury.
Another player originally in the mix, offensive lineman Colin Lyons, is also out of service, having suffered what Riley characterized as a "head trauma’’ in an incident where he tumbled off a railing in a bar, and hasn’t gotten clearance from the doctors to play football yet.
This is in addition to the loss earlier in the summer of safety Dax Dilbeck, who didn’t want to play anymore according to Riley, after his recovery from a knee injury was disappointing, and middle linebacker Michael Bibbee, to a grades problem. Bibbee hopes to return to the team in winter term, after getting his grades back up.
Another potential grades casualty is starting defensive tackle Dominic Glover, another star from the spring game, who wasn’t even on the depth chart as of Tuesday. Glover must pass summer school classes to regain eligibility. This makes the interior of the defensive line highly problematic, as the listed starter at left tackle, Castro Masaniai, who also suffered a season ending shoulder injury against UCLA last year, isn’t yet back in Riley’s good graces after the May incident with his girl friend that resulted in Masaniai being arrested.
Riley said he’s "not sure if Castro will be participating in Monday’s first practice. His situation is still pending."
The depth chart at this point lists Colin Kelly ahead of Michael Philipp, formerly a starter, at right tackle after spring ball.
"That wasn’t so much a knock on Philipp as a testament to Kelly reaching some potential.’’ Riley said. "Now, we need Michael Philipp to step up and be ready to play.’’
(Photos by Andy Wooldridge)