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Can We Clone Isaac?

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Oregon St.'s Isaac Seumalo will start at RT this week against Utah, but could show up anywhere on the line before the night is over.
Oregon St.'s Isaac Seumalo will start at RT this week against Utah, but could show up anywhere on the line before the night is over.
Photo by Andy Wooldridge

Oregon St. offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh might have to clone Isaac Seumalo Saturday, or at a minimum, head coach Mike Riley is hoping he can.

The depth chart on page 15 in this week's release has Seumalo backing up every starter on the offensive line except himself. It has to be the first time someone has been listed in the 2 deep in all 5 positions on the line, or any other 5 spots for that matter.

Other notable nuggets include the shuffling of the linebackers. D.J. Alexander is back as the strong side linebacker starter, and notably, Darrell Songy, who suffered a concussion, but has been progressing through the protocols, is shown as his backup.

Caleb Saulo, who stepped in for Michael Doctor when he went out of the Hawaii game with a foot injury that will keep him sidelined for at least 6 weeks, was mentioned by the coaches as the probable starter at the weak side linebacker slot, but shows as the #2 on the depth chart, as Jabral Johnson, who filled in well for Alexander, is not penciled in to start on the opposite side against the Utes.

"Penciled" is the operative term here, as its likely the combination of elevation (Rice-Eccles Stadium is just over 4,600 feet above sea level) and Alexander being in his first game back probably means a rotation, and Johnson will probably spell Alexander at times, as well as need a break himself, and Saulo will get downs in both situations.

Though Alexander wanted to play last week, it was midweek this week before he worked for the entirety of a practice with the "1s".

One scare from earlier in the week has been relieved, after Cody Vaz returned to practice, after missing a day, to get an MRI on his non-throwing shoulder, which he had surgery on in the off-season. The MRI revealed just a bruise, and Vaz has returned to practice, and is rated 100% in the event something happens to starter Sean Mannion.

Riley did say Vaz probably shouldn't be running on 3rd and 14 situations, which is where he got the hit that caused the bruise, something coach thought was "unnecessary" with the Beavers up 33-14 at the moment.

Oregon St.'s other personnel disruption for the game will be the absence of RB/Special Teams player Jovan Stevenson until the second half.

Even with Chris Brown slowed by a foot injury, with Storm Woods and Terron Ward rotating at RB, it shouldn't be a problem there, but Stevenson is on every special teams unit.

"It will take 4 or 5 guys to replace him," Riley said.

Stevenson was suspended for the first half by the Pac-12 Conference on Tuesday, after review of video of the play on the Hawaii sideline that resulted in Stevenson getting a personal foul penalty for an out-of-bounds hit. (All personal foul penalties are now reviewed by the conference.)

It was the same over-exuberant event that prompted the Mt. West Conference to suspend Hawaii special teams coordinato and safeties coach Chris Demarest for the Rainbow's game next game, which will be next week at Nevada, for his "inappropriate actions", when he went after Stevenson in a demonstrative manner after the play.

In the secondary, Oregon St. is again showing Sean Martin OR Steven Nelson at cornerback, but expect to see a lot of both, with both normally involved in nickel and dime packages, as was the case against Hawaii, which gets Nelson's speed on the field as much as possible.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com