OSU NOTEBOOK: How to replace Terron Ward?

IF THE BEAVS have lost running back Terron Ward for the rest of the regular season, and possibly his OSU career, it’s a body blow for the Beavers on a number of fronts, Mike Riley said on Tuesday. Riley said it’s “very likely” Ward will miss the final two games, though it would seem it would take a near-miracle for him to return in time for the regular season finale just 11 days away.

An MRI showed Terron Ward tore the meniscus in his knee late in the third quarter in the win over Arizona State, Ward told the Oregonian.

There are different degrees to a tear and everyone heals differently -- but surgery is often required for a torn meniscus. Jadeveon Clowney this season in the NFL had one of the quicker turnarounds from a torn meniscus... and he missed six games before returning to the field, and at less than 100 percent.

“Missing Terron is pretty hard for our team. Everyone knows he’s a running back…but it’s like replacing four guys on our team,” said Riley.

Ward is on both the punt and kickoff teams, he's a return man and, of course, he's also a co-starter at running back.

But there are also intangibles.

“He brings a special toughness to our team,” Riley said, noting that some other Beavs are going to have to step up into that role with Washington and Oregon next up.

THE BEAVS ARE likely to be reminded all this week about last year’s Beaver-Husky game. Oregon State was a one-point favorite but ended up surrendering over 500 rushing yards in a 69-27 pratfall. UW led 47-0 late in the third quarter.

True, they are both very different teams this year but anyone who isn’t a true freshman on either squad will remember that game at some point this week, as OSU travels to Seattle for the Saturday night tilt (Pac-12 Networks, 7:30 p.m.) So who replaces Ward in the Beaver backfield?

The depth chart lists sophomore Chris Brown behind junior starter Storm Woods, with second-year freshman Damien Haskins the No. 3.

There’s a trust process that goes on with Riley and the running backs, and Brown seems to have earned Riley’s trust in the second half of this season. Haskins might not quite be there yet, with Riley mentioning that while he’s very bullish on Haskins’ future and calls him the Beavs’ most powerful running back, he needs to improve his pass-catching and pass protection skills in the here and now.

That probably translates to a lot of Woods with a healthy dose of Brown against the Huskies. If the Beavs are in short-yardage on fourth down or near the goal-line, then Haskins might get the call.

  • DT Jalen Grimble (knee) is likely to return to action for the first time since Week Five against USC. The Oregonian reported he again practiced fully on Tuesday and even got some first team reps. Against ASU, Siale Hautau and Bud Delva had excellent games. Their presence allowed Dylan Wynn to move from DT back to d-end, where he’s at his most effective. Adding Grimble to the mix can only improve things.

  • Starting cornerback Steven Nelson (undisclosed injury) did not practice on Tuesday but that was expected. Riley said Nelson was likely to be limited early this week but should be ready to go by Saturday. Without Nelson, Malcolm Marable was the No. 1 opposite fellow corner Larry Scott.

    Positional depth chart
    Special teams depth chart

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