MONDAY NOTEBOOK: Thompson's return

THE BYE WEEK gave a handful of players a chance to heal up while the younger players got the added snaps. An excited Tavita Thompson returns to the offensive line while Jacquizz Rodgers gets more national attention.

TOOK IT EASY: A number of players took it easy in practice during the bye week due to various injuries.

Starters DT Pernnell Booth (ankle), DE Victor Butler (ankle), Brandon Hughes (hamstring), CB Keenan Lewis (toe), DE Slade Norris (knee, back), OG Gregg Peat (shoulder) and RB Jacquizz Rodgers (both ankles) took all or most of the week off while S Al Afalava (groin), S Greg Laybourn (stinger), WR Shane Morales (quad, back) and LS Marcus Perry (finger) practiced through the pain.

No players are expected to miss Saturday's game against Arizon State.

Due to a number of starters sitting out many of the younger players received extra repetitions.

“Our guys worked hard," coach Mike Riley said. "We got into the game plan a little, but we got a lot of just football in and young guys work. And we kept some guys out to get healthy. We wanted to just get guys feeling better for the next part of the season.”


BEST SINCE 2000: With a 3-1 Pac-10 record the Beavers are off to their best conference start since 2000 when they finished 7-1.

If Oregon State wins the rest of the their games they will finish with an 8-1 conference record which would be their best conference record in school history.


JUST TWO MORE: Oregon State is just two wins away from being bowl eligible for the fifth time under Mike Riley and for the eighth time in the last decade.

At the moment beating Arizona State is priority number one, but Rose Bowl is on the lips of the Men in Black.

The Beavers must first take care of business this Saturday before heading to Pasadena where they could clinch a postseason birth in hopefully the place they will be playing in January.

As you probably already know Riley is a perfect 4-0 in post season play at OSU and is the first coach in the program's history to win more than one NCAA sanctioned bowl game.


BACK IN BLACK: Although senior OT Tavita Thompson hasn't played in a football game since Oct. 13 when the Beavers knocked off No. 2 Cal on the road 31-28 the coaches are mulling over the idea of putting the 6-foot-6, 308-pound player in the starting lineup.

“The interesting part of this is he stayed ready,” Riley said. “He did not fade away. His offseason workouts were very good. His fall camp was very good, and his work with the team has been very good.”

Thompson, who started the first seven games of 2007, was ruled ineligible by the NCAA after taking an over the counter banned diet pill last season.

During the bye week he became eligible and immediately started practicing with the first team scout offense.

With the left side of the line locked down by senior Andy Levitre, Thompson will be challenging for redshirt freshman Mike Remmers' spot.

While it is unlikely that Thompson will start against the Sun Devils, expect him to see plenty of action and possibly take a starting role when the Beavers travel to Pasadena.


NATIONAL LOVE: In the parking lots of Reser Stadium, in the Beaver flag clad automobiles traveling down I-5 and in the offices of the City of Roses Beaver fans have cautiously mentioned Heisman and Jacquizz Rodgers in the same breath - but usually those sentences also have junior and senior in the sentences as well.

Don't look now though as Sports Illustrated's Gene Menez moved Rodgers into his top 10 Hesiman Watch list last week at No. 7. Menez says, "In Oregon State's games this season against ranked foes Penn State, USC and Utah, the 5-foot-7, 193-pound Rodgers has rushed for a combined 386 yards and five touchdowns. No other back can match that production against ranked competition."

Besides the national attention from Menez, Rodgers is the leading vote getter on CBS Sportsline's freshman watch list. Sportsline stated, "Rodgers is proving not only to be one of the best freshman in the nation, but one of the best running backs in the nation.

Rodgers is the nation’s top freshman rusher, ranking No. 12 overall, with 812 yards and nine TDs in seven games.


DEFENDING THE DEEP BALL: Before the Washington game the Oregon State secondary had only given up seven passes that went for 25 yards or longer, but against the Huskies the secondary was exposed giving up four completions that went for 28 yards or more.

Throw in two pass interference penalties, one long pass that was caught just a few inches out of bounds and another deep pass that was called back due to a holding penalty and that adds up to a difficult day for what is regarded as one of the top secondaries in the conference.

But they did pick off three passes and did not give up one passing touchdown.

Despite their "average" performance defensive coordinator Mark Banker is confident his players will bounce back.

“Any time you have to contest the ball and you don’t win your percentage of them, it’s not a good day,” Banker told The Portland Tribune. “But we were pleased with the interceptions, and the fact that we kept them out of the end zone.”


SOME OF THE BEST: Several players lead the conference or rank in the top 5 of a statistical category.

  • QB Lyle Moevao leads in passing with 1,779 yards, 254.1 per game, second in total offense (244.0) and third in pass efficiency.
  • RB Jacquizz Rodgers leads in rushing with 812 yards, 116.0 yards per game and third in scoring 7.7 points per game.
  • WR Sammie Stroughter is third in receptions (38), fifth in receiving yards per game (70.9) and fourth in punt return average (9.4).
  • WR Shane Morales is tied for fourth in receptions (36) and tied for second in receiving yards per game (71.1).
  • WR James Rodgers is fourth in kickoff return average (23.8) and third in all-purpose yardage per game (143.6).
  • S Greg Laybourn leads in tackles, 62 for an 8.9 average.
  • DE Slade Norris is tied for third in sacks (5), tied for fourth in tackles for loss (8.5) and leads in fumbles forced (3).

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