Beaver Football Notebook

STANFORD WILL BE missing a key tight end, Zach Ertz, when they play Oregon State. But the Cardinal has two others at the position who regularly play plus some solid options to replace Ertz. Meanwhile, the injury situation at Oregon State is not as easily defined.

Ertz is the third leading receiver on the Cardinal, (22 catches, 308 yards, 3 TDs), and has been used most often in short- and middle-range passes but he's out with knee injury. Fellow tight ends Coby Fleener and Levine Toilolo often join Ertz on the field together in a jumbo formation -- 30 percent of the snaps is not uncommon. Stanford coach David Shaw has been tight-lipped on how Ertz' absence will be dealt with against the Beavs.

One theory, advanced by beat writer Jon Wilner, is that the Cardinal will use fullback Ryan Hewitt, who began his career at TE, at the third tight end spot when Stanford goes to the formation. But will Hewitt become Andrew Luck's primary receiver on certain plays, too, or might that fall to someone like Fleener? We should find out at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ABC) .

Geoff Meinken is likely to see more time at fullback, if Hewitt shifts over to tight end.

Chris Owusu has been cleared of concussion like symptoms and will play but strong safety Delano Howell (hand) is out. Offensive tackle Cameron Fleming (undisclosed injury) is questionable and could be a game time decision. If Fleming can't go, look for senior Tyler Mabry to start in his place.

THE BEAVERS are a bit banged up headed into Stanford. Center Grant Johnson (ankle) has been in a walking boot this week and is doubtful. So is right guard Burke Ellis (back). That means two-thirds of the starting unit could be out. Kind of.

Josh Andrews, the starter at LG before being injured, is ready to return full time. He is likely to slide into his old spot while Grant Enger, who has played well in Andrews' absence, would slide over to right guard.

At center, Geoff Garner replaced Johnson when he was injured and would get the start if Johnson can't go.

Tailback Jovan Stevenson (knee) is doubtful, which isn't as urgent a prospect now that Malcolm Agnew appears to be back close to 100 percent. But middle linebacker is a different story.

It appeared earlier in the week the Beavs would have three options there – Feti Unga (knee) might be able to return, Tony Wilson has played in his spot before Rueben Robinson got the nod during the game against Utah. But now Unga and Wilson (concussion-like symptoms) appear questionable at best. Robinson looks the most probable to get the nod at this point.

Starting safety Anthony Watkins (shoulder) didn't practice yesterday and backup RCB Ryan Handford is doubtful after breaking his middle finger in Tuesday's session.


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