Kuli talk takes a very pessimistic turn

WHAT A DIFFERENCE a few weeks make. Back on July 8, Oregon State was feeling positive on the prospects of getting Simi Kuli into fall camp on time or shortly after it kicked off in Corvallis. On Tuesday, Mike Riley threw a bucket of cold water on those hopes, saying he doesn't expect the highly regarded defensive end to arrive until -- at least -- after Sep. 1. The Beavers open the season Aug. 28.

"At this time I'm not counting on him for this season," said Mike Riley on Tuesday.

And that is disappointing news indeed.

With Simi Kuli now expected to miss all of fall camp, the possibility of this being a redshirt year this season for Kuli would seem to increase markedly. Why is that such a big deal?

Because with OSU replacing their entire starting front four, Kuli was expected to immediately compete for a starting spot.

Perhaps more importantly, he was to be a key cog in Oregon State's plan to rotate freely and often up front on the defensive line -- as they did last season on an Oregon State defense that rated No. 1 in the nation against the run.

As BF.C's Dan Norz noted here, the maturation and length of time it takes DE Ben Terry, also a junior college transfer, to assimilate to Pac-10 play now becomes that much more important.

Why the delay on Kuli? Riley said Kuli is still working on his academics. Riley said a best case scenario could change the timetable, and that Kuli could still play this season for OSU.

That would require Kuli receiving his AA and gaining clearance -- and then rapidly showing he's ready to play in the Pac-10 after missing out on the benefits of fall camp. .

In other words, it doesn't seem all that probable at the moment.

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