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Oregon St. Putting The Pieces Back Together

Coach Mike RIley will need to find some good plays in his game plan to get Oregon St. back on track.
Coach Mike RIley will need to find some good plays in his game plan to get Oregon St. back on track.
Photo by Andy Wooldridge

After back to back home losses, afforded an extra week to prepare for their next game at Arizona St., Oregon St. took Monday off from practice to help some of their battered players heal up some.

Even when practice resumed Tuesday, the list of players not participating was pretty long, including LB D.J. Alexander, CB Rashaad Reynolds, OL Grant Enger, DT Mana Rosa, DE Devon Kell, and TE Caleb Smith.

And there was some worse news, as head coach Mike Riley announced that the doctors had determined that senior DT John Braun's shoulder that has been troubling him will require surgery, ending his season, and probably his career.

With WR Kevin Cummings also done with a wrist injury that required surgery before the USC game, Oregon St. has now lost players who, while not big names, were key contributors whose' absence proved to be bigger problems than some might have anticipated by the Trojans.

TE Connor Hamlett was working Tuesday, and again today, and both Alexander, who has been shaking off persisting affects of stingers, and Reynolds, whose' knee had been bothering him, returned to practice today as well.

Riley was asked if he would have preferred to get right back in the saddle, with a game this week, and his answer was a resounding "No".

Given not only the physical problems, but also timing issues plaguing the place-kicking group, and the need to revise game plans and add some innovation, Riley is entirely correct in this case, noting the Beavers need some time to get ready for the Sun Devils.

Rosa will have a brace on his arm, but Riley said with the extra days, he should be be adapted to it by the time game day rolls around again. Rosa is expected to resume practicing on Monday.

The Beavers will practice Thursday, and then take a 3 day break, while coaches spend Friday and Saturday recruiting and taking in high school games involving prospects.

Enger had an MRI, and it was determined that unlike Braun, he won't need surgery, and Riley also felt Enger would be good with the extra week's time.

"We failed. I failed. I failed to get the ball to (Brandin) Cooks more." Riley said of Oregon St.'s performance against USC. "We gave up big plays and we made mistakes we haven't made all year," Riley felt. "We worked on red-zone yesterday, and hurry up situations today."

Riley at least sees a lot of went wrong, encouraging given some of the "we're close" assessments when the Beavers weren't in times past.

"I stayed 'ticked off' all weekend," Riley said.

Motivated Riley has proven to be able to pull out some late season surprises, which will be necessary given the way that Arizona St. is playing. Barring some sort of disaster this week in Utah, Taylor Kelly and company could be double digit favorites in Tempe, where the Sun Devils have averaged 51.2 points per game, and an average margin of victory of 29.6 in winning 5 games.

Even a creative defensive scheme won't shut down Kelly and Marion Grice; its going to take a return to multiple touchdowns nights by Sean Mannion for Oregon St. to compete then, and the following week when the Beavers return home to take on the Washington Huskies.