Kee Whetzel is excited to showcase the work he and his Oregon State football teammates have put in over the first seven practices of fall camp.
The Beavers will hit the Reser Stadium turf for a scrimmage on Saturday. The scheduled two-hour practice will begin at 3 p.m. and coach Jonathan Smith expects the team to scrimmage for a good portion of that time.
It is open to the public and an autograph session will follow.
“I feel like the fans are the ones to please so we’re just excited to get back out there and in front of them again, show them that we’re bringing it this year, that we’re going to be a lot better than we were last year,” said Whetzel, a sophomore linebacker.
“What we’re doing this Saturday in the scrimmage will just showcase what we’ve worked on so far. We still have a lot more to put in and a lot more to cover. We’re just going to go out there and do what we know.”
Smith and his staff will use the session to continue to gauge the growth and development of the team.
“We’re hoping to continue to just learn about this team, put these guys in more and more situations,” he said. “I’d like to see them compete (Saturday) for sure.”
Unlike the spring when injuries made an actual spring game difficult, Smith said the Beavers should get “a good amount of plays” in on Saturday.
“We’re hoping to do more scrimmaging than we did in the spring,” he said. “I think we’ll be able to solidly go over an hour. So most of it will be scrimmage. We’re going to mix in some special teams, get them warmed up quickly and let them go.”
One of the positions that the scrimmage will allow the coaches to better evaluate will be at quarterback. The Beavers have yet to name a starter and won’t until they feel like someone has earned the spot.
Smith said they have all had some ups and downs.
“I think we’ve had guys a couple days in a row looking good and then the next guy battles through that and plays really well the third and fourth day,” he said. “I like how they’re progressing.”
The live scrimmage can tell the coaches a lot more than daily drills.
“You can look good on 7 on 7 and throwing routes and all that stuff,” he said. “But it’s really about who can move the team, move the ball the best. So they’ll get a bunch of opportunities to do that.”
Smith said cornerback Jay Irvine, who left Wednesday’s practice late and appeared to hurt his right arm, described the injury as a “small little tweak,” on Friday.
The Beavers didn’t practice Thursday. On Friday, Irvine was sidelined with a sling. Also of note, safety David Morris was not in pads on Friday.
“Most of these guys are the typical training camp bumps and bruises,” Smith said.
Smith said that while losing Jeromy Reichner this week was a big blow to the defensive line, he likes how others have been picking things up, especially the younger players.
“We like how they’re progressing,” Smith said. “They’re playing hard. Are they doing it perfect? No. But I think they’re progressing.
“Really the whole group and not even just particularly the young guys but the whole group is working hard and doing some good things.”
Going retro for Homecoming
The Beavers will don an iconic logo when "Retro Benny" makes a return to helmets for the Oct. 20 game against California for Homecoming, the school announced on Friday.
The team will wear a specially designed uniform by Nike with the Retro Benny logo appearing for only the second time; it was part of the 1973 team’s uniform.
“Retro Benny is a cherished emotional connection by generations of Beaver Nation and our student-athletes, coaches and staff are excited to represent the rich history of this university on a national stage,” OSU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said in a release. “The reintroduction of Retro Benny also aligns with our strategic plan in creating brand awareness and fan engagement opportunities, and supports the OSU 150 celebration.”
Smith is also excited.
“I think it’s awesome,” he said. “I think there’s some excitement about it, our kids will be excited to wear it. I’m looking to get a sweatshirt.”