The Oregon State football team’s strange early-season schedule continues this week.
After the season opener was postponed and a game played, the Beavers enter a bye week before the Pacific-12 Conference opener at No. 22 UCLA on Sept. 22.
The Beavers practiced Monday and plan to work out today, Wednesday and Thursday before taking off a three-day weekend.
“I feel like it’s a positive,” receiver Brandin Cooks said of the early bye. “We’ll shut it down and work hard for an extra week, go down to the Rose Bowl and do it again.”
As for the weekend, all 10 coaches plan to watch high school and junior college football games, and visit schools in their recruiting of the next class.
Many of the current players, since school hasn’t begun yet, plan to go home Thursday and return Sunday night, coach Mike Riley said.
Riley prefers a midseason bye so the players can rest and heal for a stretch run, but that hasn’t been able to happen recently.
He doubts his wishes are going to be possible very often in the future with a condensed season due to the Pac-12 championship game that must be factored in.
The Beavers are now committed to 10 straight weeks of football starting with the UCLA game, and 11 straight if the postponed Nicholls State game is rescheduled or if OSU makes the Pac-12 title game — both of which would be Dec. 1.
Keeping players healthy will be a challenge. The lack of a midseason bye hurt the Beavers the last two years to keep them from what used to be the typical strong finish.
“I don’t know what to think about it anymore,” Riley said of the schedule. “It is what it is right now. We’ll just take the bye.”
Riley’s not worried about lost momentum after the upset of Wisconsin. He’s just happy the team won going into the bye.
“It’s a long wait until the next game if you lose,” he said.
Coaches reviewed the video of the first game, and while there was plenty of success they plan to use the early part of the bye to fix some problem areas.
There were mental breakdowns by the offensive line blocking, and the kicking game mistakes.
“There’s plenty of stuff to practice for,” Riley said. “We weren’t perfect. We are not close to perfect. So we have some stuff to clean up.”
Riley plans to spend some time on the two-minute drill and other situations that come up in the game this week.
“We have a lot of work to do,” cornerback Jordan Poyer said. “We’ll have to work hard in the bye week and get ready for the next game.”
At the end of the week UCLA prep begins for the players. The coaches, however, are already preparing a game plan.
The Bruins are coming off wins over Rice and then-No. 17 Nebraska, and will have a third game against Houston by the time of the OSU clash.
“The coaches will be busier than the players will be this week with UCLA,” Riley said. “That’s a very good football team in an impressive start. They gained a lot of yards and played good defense against some folks. We have to get ready for the next game. We have to improve to do that.”