Seth Collins might return -- next year -- as wide receiver
CORVALLIS Notes and observations as Oregon State looks ahead to its Saturday date with California at Berkeley.
I think Beaver fans have seen the last of Seth Collins on the field this season. And next year, the true freshman could be at a new position.
Collins, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury, will not play Saturday against the Golden Bears and seems unlikely to return to action this season. With his speed, hands and ability to run in the open field, the 6-3, 180-pound San Diego native would be an ideal receiver in Andersen's spread offense.
Such a position switch happened not so long ago at Oregon State. During Mike Riley's second season at OSU in 1998, starting quarterback Tim Alexander was moved to receiver for his senior season. Alexander wound up being the Beavers' No. 2 receiver with 52 catches for 620 yards and two touchdowns. He also became one of the top kickoff returners in the Pac-10 with a 29.6-yard average.
Collins' absence means that Nick Mitchell, the starter the last two weeks at QB, will be at the controls against Cal, with Marcus McMaryion as the backup.
Redshirt freshman Datrin Guyton was dismissed from the team Monday for what is being called a violation of athletic department and team rules.
Guyton was sent to the locker room early in the third quarter for attitude problems during last Saturday's Oregon State's 41-0 loss to UCLA at Reser Stadium. It was the culmination of a series of problems with Guyton as coach Gary Andersen emphasizes making his players accountable for their actions.
The 6-5, 205-pound redshirt freshman from Austin, Texas, had seen increasing playing time in recent weeks, starting three games. Guyton was third on the team in receiving with 14 catches for 178 yards.
"I wish it wasn't this way, but it is," Andersen told the media Monday. "He is a good kid. Kids make mistakes. That's where we're at. The goal is to help Datrin get somewhere where he can start his next journey."
Oregon State's injury list has piled up at two key positions -- running back and cornerback.
Storm Barrs-Woods will start at running back at Cal, but Ryan Nall -- who suffered a concussion just before halftime and didn't return -- will not be available. Coaches are hopeful they might regain the services of running backs Damian Haskins (quad) and Chris Brown (knee), who have been out for several weeks.
The Beavers were missing their top three cornerbacks -- Larry Scott, Treston Decoud and Dwayne Williams -- by the end of the UCLA game. Decoud sat out his second straight game with a concussion. Scott started but couldn't finish the game on a gimpy ankle. Williams suffered a concussion in the third quarter.
Decoud and Scott could be cleared for duty Saturday, but Williams is unlikely to play. That leaves converted receivers Kendall Hill and Malik Gilmore and sophomore Charles Okonkwo as others in the mix for cornerback duty. Safety/nickel back Devin Chappell could also move to corner in an emergency.
"When you go down to two corners at the end of that game, that's a little bit scary," Andersen said. "If you have another one go down, I don't know who it is (as his replacement). Coach Odom (Derrick, the secondary coach) is definitely not in shape to go out there and play corner."
Andersen was asked to single out players who exemplify the toughness he seeks in his players.
"(Center) Josh Mitchell is the first guy who would jump out at me," the first-year OSU coach said. "That kid, he doesn't waver. There are a number of those seniors who have battled through this year. (Defensive tackle) Kyle Peko has faced a lot of adversity throughout his career, but he is going as hard as he can in the games."
Andersen was asked about the focus of Oregon State's 2016 recruiting class. The first thing he mentioned was balance between offensive and defensive players. This year's team has considerably more scholarship players on offense than defense.
"We want to even out our numbers," Andersen said. "It's moving in that direction."
Of the 17 recruits who have verbally committed, 10 are ticketed for duty on the defensive side of the ball.
The next emphasis, the coach said, is with "pass rushers," particularly at outside linebacker.
"If there's JC need," he said, "it's at that spot. Everywhere else, it's the best (athlete) available (regardless of position), whether JC or high school. But we'll be heavy in the high school area."
The Beavers have only 13 scholarship seniors, but Andersen said he expects to take a class of between 18 and 25 recruits.
One of the benefits of qualifying for a bowl game is gaining an additional 15 practice sessions that can be used to help develop young players for the following season. Oregon State will not finish this season with a bowl appearance, but Andersen has been extending his practices and will continue to do that the next three weeks for that very purpose. FBS programs are allowed 20 hours of practice time per week.
"We had a couple of (extended practice sessions) last week, and we had a scrimmage (with the young players) today," he said. "We will get those 15 (extra) practices in that way. This time of the year we can do that; practices are not as long as they were 2 1/2 months ago. We're within the rules, and we're going to take advantage right up to that 20-hour mark."