NOT REDSHIRTING: Several true freshmen are expected to suit up Saturday. OT Michael Philipp will start at left tackle, Jovan Stevenson will backup Jacquizz Rodgers at running back, OT Geoff Garner will be on the two deeps, LB Rueben Robinson, S Jordan Poyer and the Unga brothers will all play on special teams and if WR Markus Wheaton's paperwork gets cleared up he will backup Damola Adeniji at split end.
BACK IN BLACK: The Rodgers brothers will both be in uniform together for the first time since the Arizona game Nov. 22. James and Jacquizz are each chomping at the bit to get back on the field after a long hiatus.
"I'm really anxious," James said. "I've been out so long and finally coming back during fall camp and being with my team and getting better, I'm really excited about the game on Saturday."
IT HAS BEEN AWHILE: With two of their three non-conference games at home and no Top 25 non-league opponent on the schedule the Beavers have a decent shot at sweeping their non-conference slate for the first time since 2002 when the defeated Eastern Kentucky and UNLV at home and Temple on the road.
FIRST TIME STATERS: At least 10 players will be making the first start of their careers Saturday. The offensive players include OT Michael Philipp, OG Grant Johnson, WR Casey Kjos and WR Damola Adeniji while the defense has CB James Dockery, S Lance Mitchell, LB David Pa'aluhi III, DE Kevin Frahm, DE Ben Terry and DT Latu Moala.
"I'm going to prepare like I've always prepared for a game, both mentally and physically," Adeniji said when asked how he will prepare for his first game as a starter.
EARLY BEAVERS: The 11:35 a.m. kickoff is believed to be the earliest in the history of Oregon State football at Reser, formerly Parker, Stadium. The stadium opened in 1953.
The early start doesn't bother quarterback Sean Canfield as he simply stated, "It's just a matter of going to bed early the night before."
BEAVER-CAT?: A plethora of offensive weapons give the coaches a plethora options. One of those options, as many media outlets have reported this week, could be a direct snap to Jacquizz Rodgers or a two back set with the Rodgers brothers in the backfield. Fans are starting to call the set the "Beaver-cat" as the formation is based off of the Wildcat formation made famous by the Miami Dolphins last year.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T: Oregon State enters the year at No. 25 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll, marking the first time the Beavers have entered the season nationally ranked since being No. 12 (Coaches Poll) in August of 2001. The Beavers are the top team receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll (122 votes), essentially No. 26 (No. 10 in 2001 preseason poll).
THE FIRST SINCE 1997: True freshman offensive tackle Michael Philipp will be the first true freshman offensive lineman to start a game at Oregon State since Keith DiDomenico did at right guard in 1997 vs. USC and Oregon.
"He's done a good job through camp; he's had his hands full with our defensive ends which have been good for him," Riley said. "With his ability and work ethic this guy should see weekly improvement once he gets into a game and see what he gets and takes those experiences and go from there."
FOUR IN A ROW?: Can the Beavers finish higher than Pac-10
media predicted for the fourth consecutive year? This year’s media, that
regularly cover the conference, predicted OSU for fourth place. Here is a closer
look at the last three years:
2006 – prediction 7th – actual finish 3rd
2007 – prediction 5th – actual finish 3rd
2008 – prediction 6th – actual finish T2nd
RUNNING BACK U?: Former Oregon State running backs Ken Simonton, Yvenson Bernard (Winnipeg Blue Bombers) and Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams) all rank in the top 11 of the Pac-10 Conference for career rushing. USC is the only other school in the league with more – Charles White, Marcus Allen, Anthony Davis and Ricky Bell. If sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers averages his 2008 total (1,253 yards) for the next three seasons he would finish his career third on that chart with 5,012 yards, trailing only White (6,245) and Simonton (5,044).
BEAVERS UP FOR NATIONAL AWARDS: Sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers enters the year on the “watch” lists for the Walter Camp and Doak Walker awards; linebacker Keaton Kristick is on the Lott Trophy and Bednarik Award lists, and defensive end Stephen Paea is on the Nagurski list.
TEAM CAPTAINS: By a vote of the team, this year’s team captains are seniors Keaton Kristick, Sean Canfield, Lyle Moevao, Gregg Peat and junior Stephen Paea.
WALK-ON U: Wide receiver Mike Hass (2005 Biletnikoff Award winner) was one; placekicker Alexis Serna (2005 Groza Award recipient) was one; punter Johnny Hekker (2008 Sun Bowl Special Teams MVP) was one; quarterback Jonathan Smith (2001 Fiesta Bowl Off. MVP) was one. That is just a small sample of walkons at Oregon State that had or having great careers in the Orange & Black. This season opens with former walkon Mike Remmers (RT) starting, and current walkons Grant Johnson (LG) and Damola Adeniji (WR) slated to start at press time. Senior receiver/holder/punt returner Taylor Kavanaugh also was a walkon until recently.