THE BEAVS JUMP right back into the fire with a Thursday night game on the road against a team ranked No. 15 in both polls. Mike Riley on Monday talked Beaver injury status, unsung players and plays from the USC game, the status of Simi Kuli, whether 37 carries is too high a workload for Jacquizz Rodgers. The QB transfer reported last week becomes official, plus more.
Justin Kahut kicked in practice Sunday night, consider him probable barring any setbacks this week. Also considered probable are three key players who did not practice Sunday -- S Al Afalava (groin), CB Brandon Hughes (hamstring) and WR Sammie Stroughter.
In Utah, (5-0, No. 15), the Beavs will face a team that gives the opponent a lot of different looks on both offense and defense. The game is being televised live by the Versus Network with kickoff slated for 6 p.m. on Thursday. Mike Riley said, coming out of a big win against the No. 1 team in the nation, the challenge will be as much as mental as it will be physical for OSU.
"We are not a finished product by any means in any phase of the game," said Riley.
ALL THE i's are dotted and the t's are crossed, clearing the way for transfer QB Peter Lalich to join the OSU program. Lalich has enrolled for classes, which start today in Corvallis. The BF.C story on Lalich can be found here.
The Simi Kuli situation, one way or the other, looks to be resolved by the end of the week as far as this season is concerned.
"We have a drop dead date so to speak on when he might be able to arrive even though classes have started, and that will be known by the end of the week," said Riley.
If not, Kuli could join the team in January and go through spring drills. Kuli has 3-to-play-2 so if he were to miss this season, he would have 2-to-play-2 starting in '09.
RILEY SAID HE has never been averse to giving a back 30-plus carries a game and while it's something to be cognizant of, it's also worth noting that Jacquizz Rodgers has been a workhorse in the past. Rodgers had 37 carries against USC.
"It is a lot of carries but I think that he's done it and he's done it before in his life...Yvenson Bernard, he's not a lot bigger than Quizz and he had many moments like that. I think it's something for us to be aware of but I think it's also something that has been real -- he's done it. He's a highly conditioned, very strong athlete. I'm not going to say we're going to give him the ball 37 times more this week but if we're going and we need that to win the game, I think he's very, very capable of it," said Riley.
Riley said Bernard also used to say it took him a long time to become familiar enough with Oregon State's inside zone running plays before maximizing his potential there. As good as Quizz was on the inside zone runs on Thursday at USC, Riley said he will also become more familiar with the nuances as time goes along.
"The beautiful thing about Quizz is I don't know if he even knows where he is -- he's just playing ball," said Riley. "...Hopefully he just gets a better feel for what we do and hopefully we get a better feel for how to use him."
RILEY SAID THREE unsung moments from the USC win came early crucial to setting the tone. One was on the opening kickoff, where CB Brandon Hardin and S Austin Hall combined to drill the Trojan kick returner at the 16-yard line.
The others were on the third down stops on USC's first two possessions. The first, on third and one, Brennan Olander drove his man into the backfield and disrupted the play to the point three Beavers, led by Keith Pankey, were able to stuff the ballcarrier for no gain.
The second, on third and three, saw Slade Norris in the backfield and disrupting that run enough that Victor Butler and others stopped the ballcarrier short of the line to make again.
TWO BEAVERS -- safety Greg Laybourn and Rodgers -- were named the defensive and offensive Pac-10 Players of the Week on Monday.
Laybourn had a team-high 11 tackles, four solo, and made the interception that led to the Beavs' final touchdown in the 27-21 win and was part of an Oregon State defense that limited USC to 86 yards rushing, 313 yards of total offense and a 2-of-10 third-down conversion rate.
Rodgers rushed 37 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns against the No. 1 Trojans, along with with two receptions for 27 yards to account for 213 all-purpose yards.