Oregon St. returned to the practice field today, and is preparing for Saturday's season opener against FCS Nicholls St., assuming that the Colonels will be able to make their way out in the wake of hurricane Isaac.
WR Obum Gwacham and TE Colby Prince both returned to practice, though Prince had to have his sore shoulder iced again part way through practice.
Prince told reporters and anyone else who would listen that he plans to play Saturday, after separating his shoulder last Wednesday in practice, but head coach Mike Riley wasn't so sure.
"I don't know, he's got to practice pretty quick here; otherwise, I wouldn't expect him to play,'' Riley said after practice.
Oregon St. has plenty of depth at the tight end position, and Connor Hamlett will start if Prince can't. True freshman Caleb Smith, one of at least 7 true freshmen that Riley said will definitely play this season, and not red-shirt, will also see some time at tight end.
Gwacham won't start, as the depth chart for the opener indicates that Kevin Cummings will be the third wide out, joining Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks, and though he appeared fine today, whether he will even play is still in doubt.
"We'll see how Gwacham responds,'' Riley said. "If he's not good tomorrow, he won't play.''
Senior safety Anthony Watkins was listed as the starter on the depth chart, but was still not back in full practice action, so there's a good chance nickel-back Tyrequek Zimmerman could see a lot of action, and maybe even make his first career start Saturday.
Riley also announced that walk-on sophomore Keith Kostol from Tigard, OR, will start at punter for the Beavers, having beaten out scholarship punter Tim McMullen, with overall consistency being the deciding factor. In a departure from some recent decisions about kicker considerations, RIley said scholarship status had no bearing on the decision.
In addition to Smith, Riley identified freshmen who will play to include starting center Isaac Seumalo, offensive linemen Josh Mitchell and Gavin Andrews, linebacker/special teams player Joel Skotte, and possibly WR Blair Cavanaugh and linebacker Caleb Saulo.
Unless their is an epidemic of running back losses, Riley plans to red-shirt RB Chris Brown, which means there will probably be no one wearing #1 on the field for the Beavers this season. And offensive lineman Garrett Weinreich, who would have played, will miss the season, red-shirting while rehabbing after surgery for a knee injury suffered in camp.
Malcolm Agnew is listed second at running back, followed by Terron Ward, and then Jordan Jenkins, with no "OR"s in the list. Expect to see Jenkins in some passing downs though, regardless of rotation.