The Oregon State Beavers have to do some shuffling to their roster for this weekend when the Beavers host the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday. Cody Vaz will be starting under center in place of Sean Mannion, running back Storm Woods has missed practice this week with a nagging knee injury, and wide receiver Markus Wheaton is questionable after suffering a concussion last week. The toughest change the Beavers may have to make, though, is replacing Jordan Poyer at cornerback who is unlikely to play this weekend.
Poyer has been one of the best cover-men in the Pac 12 this season, leading the conference with five interceptions. On the season, he has made 27 tackles, three tackles for a loss, a sack, a forced fumble, and nine passes defended. He’s been a confident leader of a resurgent Beavers defense which has been one of the best units in the conference and among the best in the country.
The senior corner injured the leg late in last week’s loss to the Washington Huskies. During the game, he made five tackles before having to leave with the injury but continued to present a strong case for his Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year candidacy.
Officially, the corner has a sprained PCL. Poyer hasn’t practiced at all this week and is still experiencing pain in his knee when he tries to run. According to Poyer, the extension in his right knee is limited and he’s unable to extend his heel to his thigh when he runs. That missing range of motion is obviously of utmost importance to Poyer as he tries to cover receivers.
Since 2009, Jordan Poyer has played in all 44 games possible as he found the field as a true freshman on special teams. Poyer would give “anything in this world” to play this weekend against the Sun Devils, and remains optimistic. “But maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up and it won’t even hurt anymore,” he told reporters.
Mike Riley isn’t ready to rule Poyer out just yet, saying that he will wait until right before kickoff to see how the cornerback’s health has progressed. If Poyer is unable to go, which is looking likely, then it will be Sean Martin filling in for him. The Beavers also have seniors Brian Watkins and Ryan Hanford who could see playing time to try and slow down the ASU offense. It won’t be the same for Coach Riley, though, who said that “It takes about five guys to replace Jordan Poyer.”
So on a weekend where the Beavers are looking to bounce back from their first loss of the season, they will to overcome injuries to some important players. None of them may more difficult to overcome, however, than the loss of Jordan Poyer on defense.