Oregon St. is in good shape at running back with senior Storm Barrs-Woods and the emerging junior Chris Brown, but not as good a shape as hoped. JC Transfer Tim Cook was expected to contend for carries, especially between the tackles and in short yardage situations, where the 232 lbs. on his 6'1" frame was expected to produce a decided "thumper" effect.
However, at today's local media day, head Coach Gary Andersen announced that Cook will miss the season due to an undisclosed injury.
Cook is a red-shirt junior, so unless there is an appeal that is granted for an additional year of eligibility, Cook may be limited to a single season as a Beaver.
The need for a big back will mostly now fall to sophomore Damien Haskins, who is a fire-plug of a back, at only 5'9", but bulked up to 223 lbs. according to the pre-camp roster.
Another option might be to switch 6'2", 255 lb. red-shirt freshman TE Ryan Nall, who worked at fullback last year, back to the back-field, though his total weight might make this a less than optimal option.242 lb. junior TE Ricky Ortiz, who played fullback last year, might be an option as well.
As Andersen's preferred spread system is relatively light on use of multiple backs, or big ones, all the fullbacks were switched to tight ends.
Brown is still on the mend from an off-season injury, but Andersen expects Brown to be ready for the opener against Weber St. on Friday, Sept. 4.
Andersen for some reason has been highly unwilling to discuss injury specifics, so it will be hard to fully evaluate these issues.
The news dampened the otherwise rosy outlook on the injury front, that included announcements by both defensive tackle Jalen Grimble, injured in the USC game last year, and offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo, who has been out of action since the 2013 Hawaii Bowl, that they are 100%, and ready to go when practice starts tomorrow morning at 9 AM, one of three Saturday practice sessions the public will be allowed to attend.
Coach Andersen also announced the Beavers will be holding open tryouts for Oregon St. students on Labor Day, Sept. 7 in the Truax Center. The timing is quite bizarre, as the first game, and one of only 6 home games, will already have been played, and if there is a day when students are least likely to be in town, this is it. While this is a welcome event, in spirit with various teams that have had walk-ons from open tryouts not only make the team, but make a contribution, why this wasn't scheduled for at least a couple of weeks earlier, which would have gotten anyone selected into practices prior to the first game is unfathomable.