OSU NOTES: Beavers seek special teams improvement
CORVALLIS -- Oregon State's special teams were average at best in last Saturday's 49-46 loss to Eastern Washington.
Most noticeable were kickoff returns -- there were eight of them -- that produced an average of only 20.2 yards. True freshman Victor Bolden averaged 19.8 yards on his six returns.
"Seemed like every time, there was one guy who didn't quite get his job done (blocking) and his guy made the tackle," OSU special teams coach Bruce Read said. "A lot of it's timing on the block. Some of it is we have moved some people around (on the kickoff return until). Blocking in space is not an easy thing to do. But we have to do a better job as a group."
Last year, the Beavers averaged only 18.3 yards on 35 kickoff returns. The longest all season was a 39-yarder by Terron Ward.
With regular punter Keith Kostol sidelined due to a sprained ankle, senior Tim McMullen saw his first career duty. The 6-4, 225-pound Australian had three punts for a 41.3-yard average, but his first two attempts were line drives.
"Those were two tough kicks for him out of the box," Read said, "but we do need more hang time on those punts."
Kostol was back in action Tuesday and, said Read, "he sure punted well today." The junior from Tigard is expected to punt for the Beavers Saturday in their 5 p.m. test against Hawaii at Reser Stadium.
NOTES: Only about 38,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday's game, in part because Hawaii has returned nearly all of its allotment. Also, fall session has not yet begun at OSU, holding down the student crowd. Why did Oregon State not get a 10-second run-off at the end of the Eastern Washington game? Because Brandin Cooks had been injured on the previous play, OSU coach Mike Riley said, negating the run-off. Cooks (lower back) was running well in warm-up pass patterns but was held out of practice as a precaution. Center Isaac Seumalo (knee) practiced Saturday and should play against Hawaii. Backup Josh Mitchell (shoulder) did not practice, but Riley said he expects him to be available. Starting linebacker D.J. Alexander said his strained knee feels "good" and that he expects to return for the Beavers' Sept. 14 visit to Utah. Starting offensive tackle Gavin Andrews (mononucleosis) was in uniform without pads watching practice. He will get a doctor's evaluation on his progress next Monday, Riley said. JC defensive tackles Edwin Delva and Siale Hautau each played about 10 plays against Eastern Washington. D-line coach Joe Seumalo said that was in part due to the difficulty of inserting players into the game against a no-huddle offense like the Eagles'. Will the pair play more against Hawaii? "They have to," Seumalo said.