Beavs back at it for first bowl game practice

CORVALLIS--Oregon State's first day of preparation for the Alamo Bowl (Dec. 29) began Monday. Typically, the bulk of the bowl practices focus on the younger players getting reps – an early, extra spring session for the youth, if you will. But Mike Riley said the Beavs are also preparing for Texas in the here and now. Three Beavers, however, were not part of that equation on Monday.

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"That's not so true (about the younger guys). We are doing some practice for Texas right now," Mike Riley said. "We are not doing a lot each day, just a fraction of what we would do in a regular game – but we are getting guys involved in parts of game plan each day."

But a trio of players may not be getting involved in that game plan any time soon.

Senior defensive end Rudolf Fifita, junior defensive lineman Mana Rosa and junior ‘backer Dyllon Mafi were not at practice Monday.

"Well it's horrible," Riley said in reference to the alleged incident Saturday where all three were arrested and jailed following an altercation at Impulse Bar & Grill. "I'm not sure (what will happen), they're suspended right now, and it will probably remain that way – I haven't gotten the chance to speak with them yet, so that's all I know."

While Riley is not sure of what he will say to Fifita, Rosa and Mafi when they do indeed meet, he is sure of one thing, and it doesn't sound promising for the players' return for the bowl game.

"These things are always about choices," Riley said. "These guys make their own beds, so to speak. I think if you look at the news you aren't much surprised about anything. I've read a lot of stuff in the last week about the Cowboys and the Chiefs – you know there are a lot of bad choices going on out there."

Fifita would be the most missed among the three on the field. The 26 year-old had his best season to date for the Beavers with 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Fifita's role as a "super sub" during the 2012 season kept the defensive line fresh, and added an element of speed to the front four that disrupted many an opposing run play.

"It (Fifita's absence) will affect the rotation," Riley said. "It hurts us – but somebody else will step in and we will be fine."

CHIEF AMONG THE players who could step in and fill the void are sophomore Devon Kell and junior John Braun. They didn't see a ton of action this season but still present fair options as a substitute for Fifita.

The unfortunate off-field reality seemed to have little effect on the tempo of Monday's practice.

The majority of the day was spent "warming up" – that really might be the best way to describe it.

After players had a week off from standard practice scheduling to finish up final exams, the bulk of Monday's activities involved stretching and drills that stressed the fundamentals.

"I thought the guys came back pretty good," Riley said. "We didn't do a lot today. We are trying to pace ourselves a little bit – we have three full weeks of practice before the game."

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Jordan Jenkins remains incapacitated with an injury to his left ankle he incurred during the Nicholls State matchup.

  • Richard Mullaney did not suit up this afternoon, Riley cited it as a persistent issue with Mullaney's shoulder that won't prevent him from playing - but the training staff would rather be safe than sorry.

  • Brandin Cooks was slightly favoring his ankle during practice. But he took part in drills and all in all seemed fine.