After the first day of practice for the upcoming season yesterday, Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley noted there is a lot of potential talent on the field for the Beavers, but that they have a long way to go to be ready to play a football game.
After day 2, its clear that most of that distance to be traveled is still out there.
That's not to be all gloom and doom on what could be a pretty good season; there's definitely some good stuff happening as Oregon St. goes about piece-meal installation of all kinds of pieces to their system. And I've already seen more productive work on special teams than I saw all of last summer's camp. That included the just cleared Rahmel Dockery, who is either challenging or looking to backup Victor Bolden as a kick returner as well as at flanker.
But once you get beyond some of the veterans, hence the lead photo of Sean Mannion and Storm Woods, who are here to calm Beaver Nation's fears, its clear that timing and precision is still more than a few reps away for many members of the team.
And then there is the matter of the boot on Isaac Seumalo's left foot. The Rimmington and Outland award watch list lineman still plans to play in the opener against Portland St., and be practicing by the start of the 3rd week, but contingency planning is underway in case that doesn't happen.
Seumalo broke his foot against Boise St. in the Hawaii Bowl, and had a screw inserted in January. But the healing process seemed to stall out, possibly by his own admission because he tried to get back too soon, and a second surgery in April replaced the first screw with a second one.
The healing process is reportedly going much better, and even if Seumalo has to miss the first game or two, there is a bye before the San Diego St. game to afford more time. But the redshirt conversation is already coming up in various quarters, and while that's not considered a high likelihood, it is a possibility.
Speaking of red-shirts, sophomore LB Darrell Songy is going to use one this year.
As we tweet-reported earlier today, Songy has been suspended from games for the entire season, for an unspecified violation of an unspecified athletic department policy.
Riley clarified that Songy will continue to practice, and participate in all other team activities; he just won't play in games. It's not an NCAA issue; strictly the school's decision, so they can levy whatever penalty they want to , or don't want to.
It will be a bit of a blow to depth at linebacker, but there is enough depth that unless there are a rash of injuries, it shouldn't be too big of a problem, and linebacker coach Trent Bray echoed that analysis.
It could be a bigger deal on special teams though, as Songy recorded 9 of his 12 tackles on special teams.
In other linebacker news, most of the group have decided to shave their heads, in some kind of effort to build solidarity. We have seen plenty of such before, ranging from baseball players forgetting how to shave to members of the band getting mohawks for the Civil War, and if it is what the kids want, so be it. But I've never been particularly fond of such momentary fits of questionable judgement, which can turn into a side show of a distraction.
There was another roster shakeup today, as sophomore safety A.J. Hedgecock has elected to pack in his efforts to see the field as a Beaver. Slowed last season by a shoulder injury, Hedgecock has battled to try to get above 3rd string on the depth chart.
And no Oregon St. report would be complete without a mention of the still ineligible JC lineman transfer Kyle Peko. Today's report is that he will find out on August 17 if he will be eligible. That date doesn't make sense, being that its a Sunday, and no "official" decision is going to be made on a Sunday by anyone in an academic or compliance role. But I was unable to identify a better date, and so its possible that what it really means is some decision will be made about long since completed course work by the end of next week. What is supposed to happen between now and then that could alter the outcome is totally unclear. My bet would not be on Peko being the silver bullet to the offensive line issues at hand, but perhaps we shall see.
Practice continues daily at 10:20 AM, with full pads going on for the first time Friday, which is also the day practice will be followed by a bar-b-que for lunch with the team and coaches.