Damn that bug -- Injury strikes Beav WR corps

AS WEEK TWO of fall camp gets underway for Oregon State, the Beaver offense takes an injury hit -- initial reports are that starting wide out Darrell Catchings will be sidelined four weeks with a broken wrist.

The Oregonian and others are reporting Catchings injured the wrist during Saturday night's practice.

Catchings was having a solid fall camp and looked poised to take on some of the big-play load of graduated and Beaver great Sammie Stroughter.

The offense that OSU runs asks the split end receiver to be able to stretch the field, find the holes in coverage and, just as importantly, adeptly block on the fly sweep.

Catchings has certainly shown the ability to stretch the field with his speed. And he was progressing in his route running. The primary question remaining was whether or not he would be as lethal of a blocker as predecessor Stroughter, who oftentimes flattened oncoming tacklers on the crackback and sprung James Rodgers for big gains.

Oddly enough, Catchings injured his wrist during blocking drills Saturday night.

A TRIO OF Beavs will now be looking to vie for Catchings' role -- true freshman Markus Wheaton and redshirt freshmen Geno Munoz and Jordan Bishop.

Wheaton has the wow factor, with ridiculous top end speed and quicks to match. What remains to be seen is how much of the playbook he can assimilate with two and a half weeks remaining between now and the opener, when Portland State visits Reser Stadium.

Munoz has had a good first week-plus of camp and has become one of the best route runners for the Beaver wide-outs.

Munoz is further along in system recognition, but may not have the same raw athletic ability as Wheaton.

Bishop was highly regarded by the coaching staff coming out of West Salem High and has great top end speed. He can also catch nearly anything in his vicinity. Like Munoz, Bishop has a year in the system and has progressed well through the spring and fall.

All three have showcased reliable hands.

SO THE QUESTION facing the OSU coaches is this: Do you take a chance on someone who has all-world potential and athleticism, but may not know the entire playbook, and may potentially hurt you at times than the guys with more time in the system? Or do you plug in a guy who's been steadily improving, has a year of practice with OSU under his belt, and may have less "what was he thinking" moments than the youngster?

What also comes into the discussion is the relationship each has with quarterback Sean Canfield--who by all accounts will be the starter versus PSU.

The OSU coaches will have a few weeks to assess the situation and see who will fit their scheme best.

Until then, Catchings will rest and hope to make a speedy recovery. Four weeks out, if initial estimates hold true, would put Darrell back in the lineup for the Cincinnati game on Sept. 19.


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