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Summarizing The Outlook For Colorado

Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley has made some decisions about who to play Saturday.
Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley has made some decisions about who to play Saturday.
Photo by Andy Wooldridge

It's move-in week at Oregon St., where university Housing services has turned what used to be a weekend of chaos into a week long mass of madness, when over 4,000 new students, not to mention the rest of the returning student body, except for those actually involved in something, like football, volleyball, the band, soccer, and the cheerleaders, all scramble onto campus, jockeying to see what system or street they can choke off next.

On the plus side, the Beaver Dam will be overflowing, and after a pep rally in Reser Friday at 1 (the public is invited), the new recruits will be up to speed on chain saw ops.

Lost in the mayhem are the several shakeups that will affect how the Beavers approach their Pac-12 home opener Saturday at noon. Most of it has already hit the air on twitter, which was doubtless immediately lost amidst 500 "I found my room/car/book list!" messages flooding the bandwidth, so I'll try to hit the high points here.

It doesn't look like reinforcements are on the way for the rushing game, as though Storm Woods has returned to practice, he's still in helmet only, and Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley has said that though cleared, he doesn't think he will play Woods this week anyway.

So it will again be the Terron Ward show, as it was in San Diego.

Fullback Tyler Anderson was still on ice today at practice, for the hamstring issue that made him a scratch during pregame for the Aztecs as well. Ricky Ortiz, a red-shirt freshman got a few snaps in San Diego, and will get the call again this week.

While there's hope that the Beavers may get several offensive linemen back after the bye, including Gavin Andrews, backup Justin Addie, and maybe more, it doesn't look like a deep group for this week. Center Josh Mitchell is still out of practice, after suffering a sprained foot in the second quarter against the Aztecs, and doesn't look like he will be ready for much if any action Saturday, so look for Isaac Seumalo to be back at center, with freshman Sean Harlow at right guard, and Grant Bays at right tackle.

This alignment did do a solid job on pass protection, but the improved rushing game is likely to be a bye project, with this weekend being a hold-the-fort kind of day.

Fortunately, Sean Mannion, who leads the nation in passing yards, and will have encouragement to fire away from this week's honorary captain Derek Anderson, and Brandin Cooks, who leads the country in receiving yards, touchdown catches, total catches, and catches per game, and will get tips and encouragement from T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who is also dropping in this week, plus Richard Mullaney, who was just added to the Biletnikoff watch list, should have the passing game in good enough shape to continue to pick up the slack.

Riley also sorted out for reporters how he plans to use both Andrew Maughan and Harrison Linsky to replace long snapper Michael Morovic, who tore his right ACL trying to avoid running over a San Diego St. punt returner, and is done for the season. Maughan will handle the punts, while Linsky will snap for place kicks, both extra points and field goals.

Defensively, Sean Martin, who sprained his knee against San Diego St., was back practicing today, and will be full speed on Saturday. It was the only real injury on the defensive side of the ball, other than a few burns suffered by the secondary, but it doesn't mean there won't be shakeups on that side of the ball as well.

Riley made the benching of MLB Joel Skotte during the San Diego St. game enduring, naming red-shirt freshman Rommel Mageo the starter for the Colorado game. All 3 LB spots have now had a change in starter before even getting 1/3 of the way through the season. If you are wondering why the Oregon St. defense has been inconsistent, here's a big part of the reason why, even for some problems in the secondary, which has been simultaneously tempted and charged with scrambling behind them.