Anticipation is building for Saturday's season opener against Eastern Washington at 3 PM, and you can expect to hear plenty more about chain saws at that time, as well in Kurt's next Dam Links.
Somebody even let Coach Mike Riley have one of the saws. (They didn't put a chain on the saw, so not too much damage can happen.)
And there are reasons for excitement, as we approach game day. Sean Mannion looked quite sharp at practice today, and Storm Woods has left all traces of the sore hamstring he was resting last week behind him.
Center Isaac Seumalo even strapped on his shoulder pads today, and Riley said he's hopeful Seumalo will be able to play Saturday; see Riley's video below:
Seumalo didn't do much though, and went to the trainers' table early again, but at least instead of attaching the entire contents of an ice chest to his left knee, he just had it taped up, put his brace back on over the tape, and headed back to the field.
Riley said its more about Seumalo getting comfortable and confident again than anything; we'll know more tomorrow. Josh Mitchell still looks likely to get a lot of work Saturday, though. Ideally, Oregon St. gets out to a comfortable lead, allowing the Beavers to get Seumalo out of the game, and freshman Sean Harlow in at tackle.
Chris Brown looks highly doubtful to make it into the running back rotation though, as he was still walking with a boot on his left foot today. With Woods, Terron Ward, and now Jovan Stevenson again in the rotation, Brown's absence shouldn't hurt.
Things look good for OLB D.J. Alexander to be back by the Utah game, probably at the latest. Alexander is sporting a brace on his right knee, but was able to beat linebacker coach Trent Bray (who could still suit up and play if he had any eligibility to do so) in a foot race.
Frankly, if Saturday's game was against Washington or USC, I think Alexander would play, but Riley is going to be ultra mega cautious at this point.
In another "program change", is was announced that Steven Nelson will wear #2 instead of the #7 those who have been attending practice are used to, and is printed in some depth charts and rosters already released.
The reason is Nelson and Brandin Cooks may both be on the same special teams units at the same time, and as such, can't have the same number.
Oregon St. also announced that they will wear their new black uniforms and helmets, the ones that are reminiscent of the original Giant Killers of the 60's, Saturday, and in 3 more home games this season, with the orange unis coming out for 2 games not yet chosen. The all-white uniforms (and dark-era reminiscent helmets) will be for the road games, though I wouldn't be surprised if they do something more colorful for the Civil War. The popular fan call for mixing colors was dismissed, at least for this season.
Fans are still encouraged to wear orange Saturday, which isn't a bad idea, relative to a black out, given that temperatures are expected to be in the 80s at kickoff time.
In other Oregon St. news that broke today, the Beavers' women's basketball team will host national power Notre Dame on Sunday, Dec. 29. It's believed to be the first time any Notre Dame team will have ventured onto the Corvallis campus. Tip time is still to be announced.
The choice of date for what will be one of the marquis women's non-conference games ever at Gill, never mind this season, is a bit of a head-scratcher, given that its the day before both the Alamo and Holiday Bowls, and 2 days before the Sun Bowl. It's unlikely Oregon St. will be back in San Antonio, due to the no-repeat guideline for Pac-12 bowls, but its not impossible, and both the Holiday and Sun Bowls are ones the Beavers could certainly be in the running for. And the Kraft bowl is another, and is 2 days before, so there's a sizable possibility most of Beaver Nation won't be in town that weekend, and nearly none of the students will be in any case. It would have been good to see a game of this magnitude scheduled further away from an event that will divert most of what would have been its audience.
Of course, beating Eastern Washington first would be a good thing to take care of before getting that far ahead of ourselves.
Football season starts tomorrow, with Oregon St.'s next 2 opponents in action, and kickoff at Reser in only 3 days away!