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Oregon St. Shakes Up Receiving Corp For USC

Freshman Xavier Hawkins will play against USC at one of the WR spots, according to Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley.
Freshman Xavier Hawkins will play against USC at one of the WR spots, according to Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

The dislocation injury to WR/KR Victor Bolden's little finger on his right hand suffered in the second quarter of Saturday night's 28-7 win over San Diego St. has caused a ripple affect for Oregon St. as the Beavers prepare to open Pac-12 play Saturday night at USC.

Bolden's injury required surgery, and though he may (or may not) be ready to return for the Colorado game, he's out for this week's trip to take on the Trojans.

Compounding the problem, Bolden's backup at flanker, Rahmel Dockery, subsequently suffered a hip pointer, and was still only jogging on the side at today's practice. Dockery is "probable" for Saturday night, but is also likely to be less than 100%, and also potentially could aggravate the injury.

So this week's depth chart has WR Richard Mullaney moving over to the flanker position, which he did at times in the second half against the Aztecs as well, and red-shirt freshman Jordan Villamin taking the first team snaps at the "X" Split end spot, in anticipation of making his first collegiate start.

And the injury has prompted Oregon St. head coach Mike Riley to announce he has decided to burn freshman Xavier Hawkins' red-shirt, after 1/4 of the year. Riley said Hawkins will play against USC.

Suddenly the most experienced Oregon St. starting wide receiver at their current position (Mullaney, the sole WR with any appreciable starting experience has never started at flanker) is red-shirt freshman Hunter Jarmon, who made his first start last week against San Diego St.!

Fortunately, Jarmon had a co-team leading 5 reception game against the Aztecs, for a game high 76 yards, including the catch that moved quarterback Sean Mannion past Derek Anderson to become the all-time career passing yardage leader in Oregon St. history.

The combination of injuries to Bolden and Dockery, and fumble problems, has also spilled over to the punt return position, prompting Riley to announce that RB Terron Ward would be the punt returner against USC, primarily because he is the "punt catcher", capable of fielding the ball in traffic and retaining it.