Talking Beav TEs with Kyle Devan ahead of USC

CORVALLIS – With all the uncertainty surrounding the OSU tight ends, spoke with the man in charge of that group, graduate assistant Kyle Devan, this week. And with the availability of Connor Hamlett and Caleb Smith questionable, might the Beavs change their offense a tad? Devan answered that question, and had a lot more to say…

Mike Riley and OSU say it remains unknown whether sophomore tight end Caleb Smith (back spasms) and junior H-back Connor Hamlett (knee) will be available for Friday's tilt with USC. Should the duo remain sidelined, the spotlight will shine again on junior Tyler Perry and sophomore Kellen Clute.

DeVan said regardless of who lines up, don't expect the Beavs to change their offense.

"Shoot, it's a great opportunity for them," Devan said of Clute and Perry. "The one thing I learned from playing for Coach Riley and at the next level - just because you lose one guy, he's not going to go out and create a whole new offense.

"We are going to train the next guys, and they've been the program for a long time, so it's the next man up."

We've heard that ‘next man up' a lot this season, and for the most part the Beavs have fared pretty well in the face of the injury bug.

"I don't know what's going to happen Friday night – they all might show up healthy," said Devan. "Then we've got to put together a plan and play whoever is ready to play. If (Smith and Hamlett are out) then Tyler and Kellen are going to go out there and have a great game."

Clute has some goof hands – he has 14 receptions for 87 yards and two scores this season in a reserve role. He is beginning to round into a decent blocker as well. Perry has been a solid blocker since I've been going to spring and fall camps in covering the Beavs, but a lack of game experience has not given him much opportunity to display it.

"They've been improving every week," Devan said of Clute's and Perry's blocking. "That's kind of what you ask for as a coach. Can you get better from Week One to Week 10? I think they have been. I think they have been paying attention to the details and focusing on things that we all lack as tight ends – we're not the big physical guys like the O-line. So being able to get down there in the trenches and block people up is something I think every tight end is going to struggle at some point in their career."

Blocking was certainly a problem last time out, as the Beavs surrendered eight sacks to Stanford and relentless pressure all night. Would having had Hamlett and Smith available helped changed the outcome of that 20-12 loss?

"Some of the times we are running routes, so we can't really affect the penetration of the D-line," Devan said of his tight ends. "I thought (Clute/Perry) did okay. I think the game was a big physical game that obviously we did not come out on the winning end of and whether Connor or Caleb would have been in there, would it have been different? I couldn't tell you. I don't have that answer."

With a win on Friday night (ESPN2, 6 p.m.) the Beavs can prove they are strong on the rebound and move to 7-2. Lose, and the crystal ball becomes cloudier. Either way, it will take a huge offensive effort to derail a surging USC defense, and the Beaver tight ends are going to play an integral role in the outcome, one way or the other.

BeaverBlitz Top Stories