BEAVER NOTEBOOK: Riley looking for balance

MIKE RILEY IN a wide ranging news conference on Tuesday talked Penn State, injuries, returns and more. A pair of linemen unavailable for Stanford will be making the trip to Happy Valley, the head man of the Beavs comments on the hit Lyle Moevao took, the Beavs may have a different No. 3 quarterback making the trip and what's the playing time expectation between Ryan McCants and Jacquizz Rodgers.

Some in the Beaver Nation expected to see more of running back Ryan McCants at Stanford. Although listed as the starter, the 240-pound McCants had four carries and played less snaps than did true freshman Jacquizz Rodgers.

Mike Riley said McCants got off to a "slow start" at Stanford, but that he plans on both running backs seeing action at Penn State.

"We will determine that as we go for sure but I anticipate both of them playing," said Riley.

RILEY SAID THE "missing link" in the Stanford game offensively was the lack of a running game, something the Beavs will need to correct if they are to come out of Happy Valley with a win.

"We don't want to play in those games where we're passing 54 times," Riley said.

Quizz has a slight ankle injury that's slowing him in the early part of the week, said Riley, but he anticipates him being ready to go on Saturday.

Both OL Marcus Henderson and DT Mitchel Hunt will return this week after missing part of fall camp and the first game with illness. Conditioning could be a factor but having them ready for rotational duty, particularly Hunt on a d-line that struggled at times containing the ground game of the Cardinal, is a big plus, said the head man of the Beavs.

ANOTHER BIG RETURN will be getting starting safety Al Afalava back after Riley sat him down the first game following an offseason incident.

Riley said he was pleased with Afalava's replacements, Suaesi Tuimaunei, Cameron Collins and Lance Mitchell, and stopped short of saying Afalava would have make the difference in run support last week, noting some of the Cardinal's big gainers came where safety play was not a factor. But there's no question the Beavs missed one of their hardest hitters on defense.

"Al is one of our best players and it will be good to have him back," said Riley.

OF THE HIT that Lyle Moevao took that knocked him out of the game for one play, Riley was diplomatic but firm.

"I think it was a cheap shot...and I think it was penalized accordingly during the game," said Riley.

  • The safety, losing the turnover battle, settling for field goals instead of touchdowns, those miscues have all been discussed in the wake of the Stanford loss but one that probably deserves more notice was the number of penalties on the Beavs. Oregon State had 11 penalties and four of them were false starts, something that drives coaches crazy.
  • Riley said the Beavs' running attack is at it's best when they mix their runs inside and outside, something he also said will be a formidable task against a stout Penn State line. Riley said he thinks the game will turn most on who wins the battle on both lines.
  • Riley said he plans on continuing to rotate in at linebacker and elsewhere. Some of the bigger runs surrendered by the Beavs in the opener came against the OSU rotations.
  • Brennan Sim could be the third quarterback rather than Ryan Katz, said Riley. The Beavs want to preserve Katz' redshirt and Sim might be ready to go as the red alert QB as early as Saturday. Justin Engstrom is the Beavs' backup QB.

  • Sean Canfield might be ready to step into the No. 2 slot yet. Riley said he is throwing the ball daily and got good news from the doctors recently, which was to work slowly and work on his range of motion. Riley said it's going to be a matter of conditioning getting that arm ready to play.

  • Guard Jeremy Perry (leg) remains questionable.

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