As of early afternoon Thursday, Jonathan Smith was still not sure if quarterback Jake Luton would be available to start Saturday’s home opener against Southern Utah.
Oregon State’s first-year coach said Luton, who suffered a concussion in last week’s season opener at Ohio State, has practiced this week.
“He practiced more (Thursday), still waiting to catch up with the doctors after practice and things,” Smith said after Thursday's practice. “He did practice more today and threw it well."
Smith said the Beavers divide the reps between the quarterbacks and Luton was able to do the maximum of what he was allowed to do both days.
Both Conor Blount and Jack Colletto saw action last week after Luton left the game following the first series, in which he took a hard hit in the back.
On Monday, Smith said Blount, who was 12 for 19 for 169 yards and two touchdowns against the Buckeyes, would be first up if Luton was unable to play.
Colletto was just 1 for 4 for two yards but had four carries for 14 yards.
“I do feel confident whoever we put out there they can make some plays,” Smith said.
All three quarterbacks shared reps during fall camp as the battle for the starting job extended until the Monday of game week.
“We always ask them to prep like they’re going to start the game,” Smith said. “Those two guys have gotten a lot of reps this week. And again, some of the stuff we’re going to do Saturday is what we’ve been practicing in camp.”
Learning to win
Smith said there is something to the notion you have to learn how to win. Oregon State has lost 12 straight dating back to last year’s 35-32 home win over Portland State on Sept. 2.
But, he said, the Beavers haven’t paid much attention to the streak.
“These guys have won a game before in their history of playing football; definitely these coaches know how to win some games,” Smith said. “We haven’t out a huge emphasis on it.”
On the flip side, Southern Utah has won the Big Sky Conference two of the past three seasons.
“These guys have won a bunch of games,” Smith said. “I think there’s something to a team that know how to win and they’ve done it for two or three years. So we know this will be a tough contest. They can score some points, they’ve got some players. We’re going to need our ‘A’ game.”
Smith is excited to coach his first game in Reser Stadium, where he starred as a quarterback from 1998-2001, on Saturday.
“I think it’s going to be, for me personally, a bunch of fun to run out there,” he said. “I go back to it’s a privilege, I’m proud of the guys I’m bringing out on this field. Just anxious to see them play hard for 60 minutes at a minimum and compete.”