WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: At this point last season P Johnny Hekker had already played in his first collegiate game averaging a less than stellar 32 yards a punt with his first attempt being partially blocked. Granted, he has played in only one game this year, but Hekker has already shown marked improvement.
Last week he averaged 45.7 yards per boot which is the second best average in the Pac-10 and the 15th best in the nation. Plus, he was recently added to the Ray Guy Watch List - a first for a Beaver since Sam Paulescu in 2005.
MOVING UP: QBs Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao are both sliding up the school's career passing and touchdown lists. Moevao is sixth on the career passing list (3,410 yds) while Canfield is tenth (2,857 yds). Moevao is eighth on the career touchdown list (21) while Canfield is ninth (18).
INJURY UPDATE: DT Brennan Olander (knee) is questionable for the game, but will be available for the Cincinnati clash. CB Keynan Parker (shoulder) will be used on special teams - likely returning punts, kickoffs or both.
IT'S BEEN AWHILE: A win Saturday night would give OSU its first 2-0 start to the season since the Beavers defeated Portland State and Boise State to open 2005. OSU hasn’t won its first three games since 2002 when it won four in a row.
A PLAYMAKER: Senior Damola Adeniji is expected to make his second career start Saturday, but the staff is trying mightily to get Markus Wheaton up to speed as soon as possible - but not to replace Adeniji in the lineup. The coaches want Wheaton to be able to give James Rodgers, who is also returning punts and kicks, a break. The staff loves Wheaton's skills in open space as they envision him having a similar role as James.
NICE WORK BOYS: With a true freshman, a current walk-on and a former walk-on starting on the offensive line there was, and is, some nervousness. In their first test, the first teamers didn't allow Sean Canfield to be sacked or touched for that matter while opening up holes for Jacquizz Rodgers to eclipse the 100-yard mark. Coach Mike Riley praised both Grant Johnson and Michael Philipp for doing well in their first starts.
BOTH CLEARED: WR Darrell Catchings (hand) has been cleared by the doctors and will start practicing next Tuesday. QB Lyle Moevao (shoulder) has also been cleared by the doctors and will make the trip to Nevada as the emergency backup quarterback.
HOMEBODIES: The Beavers will stay close to the dam this year as the team does not have a road game that is played outside of the Pacific Time Zone (Oct. 3 at Arizona State is a Pacific Time game). The last time that happened was 2003 – since then the program has made trips to LSU, Boise State (twice), Louisville, Penn State, Utah, Hawai’i, Cincinnati, Arizona (in 2002) and two Sun Bowl appearances in El Paso.
STARTING WITH A BANG: As expected eight true freshman played last weekend - it is the most in modern OSU history as up until the1980's true freshman played in junior varsity games. Out of the eight perhaps the most impressive were the Unga brothers, specifically Devin Unga who registered six total tackles, at linebacker and on special teams.
“I joked they must have been playing some football while on the mission," coach Mike Riley told The Gazette Times. "They looked like prototype linebackers. I never envisioned they would play right away. Sometimes it takes a whole year of playing on the scout team to get back to football shape.”
ANOTHER COMPARISON: From Barry Sanders to Ken Simonton, sophomore Jacquizz Rodgers has been compared to several great running backs. This week UNLV head coach Mike Sanford compared Quizz to the University of Washington's all-time leading rusher.
"Great player - dynamic," Sanford described Quizz as. "I'll tell you who he reminds me of: Napoleon Kaufman. He's a little guy, very similar speed, very similar quickness, very similar feeling when he gets the ball."
POY: RB Jacquizz Rodgers and K Justin Kahut were nominated for Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.
STINGY: Oregon State’s defense has allowed just seven points (Portland State) in its last two games, dating back to last season. The Beaver defense was the only unit in the nation last season to hold its bowl opponent (Pittsburgh/Sun Bowl) scoreless. Unfortunately Oregon State is just one of 21 defenses that didn't register a sack in week one.
100-PLUS USUALLY A W: When a Beaver rushes for 100-plus yards it usually equals a victory. OSU has won 14 of its last 15 games when a rusher gains 100 – the only loss in that period was Oct. 2, 2008 at Utah (Jacquizz Rodgers 101 yds). Quizz, his brother James Rodgers, Yvenson Bernard and Matthew Sieverson are the individuals who have accounted for the 100 yard outings.
WR DEPTH: It's way too early to start talking about next year, but the receiving group will be returning everyone except seniors Taylor Kavanaugh and Damola Adeniji. Riley says it is just a matter of time before they are three deep at each spot.
"This is an outstanding receiving corps," Riley said. "if they could stay together for a couple of months the depth would be great."
TIGHT ENDS: One part of the offense that never got off the ground last week was the tight ends. Due to the nature of the game there were limited opportunities for the tight ends as sophomore Joe Halahuni was the only tight end with a catch- a 35-yard gain in the fourth quarter. The staff would love to get them more involved this weekend.
"We never got to do things with the tight end that hopefully we can do," Riley said.