By Steve Gress

Corvallis Gazette-Times

Next up

California at Oregon St.

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

TV: Pac-12

Radio: KICE 94.9-FM

The bye week could not have come at a better time for Oregon State’s football team, specifically in regard to the quarterbacks.

The extra time between games allowed senior Jake Luton another week to continue working his way back from a high ankle sprain he suffered in the loss at Nevada on Sept. 15.

With Luton sidelined, sophomore Conor Blount started the next three games and exited the loss to Washington State on Oct. 6 late with a right shoulder injury.

They have been able to practice this week and both might be ready to go for Saturday’s 1 p.m. Pac-12 home battle against California for Homecoming.

“Hopefully both of those guys are healthy and ready to go this weekend,” offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. “I don’t know if we will be able to determine that until later in the week but I feel like both of those guys, at times during the year, have done a lot of good things and moved the ball.

“To have that experience of having both those guys is a definite benefit.”

Blount has completed 84 of 128 passes for 1,017 yards and seven touchdowns with only one interception.

Luton is 28-of-45 passing for 372 yards and one touchdown with one interception in three games.

If neither is available, coach Jonathan Smith on Monday said Jack Colletto would get the nod.

Blount, who has started the last five games after Luton went down with a concussion in the season opener at Ohio State, said Tuesday he is “100 percent.”

Luton, who has practiced so far this week, said he feels like he’s made some big strides recently.

“It’s been great getting back out there and playing ball,” Luton said Tuesday. “It’s feeling better, still some improvement to go but it’s headed in the right direction.”

Luton, who missed the last eight games of last season with a spine injury, said he didn’t expect the ankle injury to take so long to heal.

“It’s been frustrating and been a little longer process than I had hoped but it’s OK,” he said.

Will he be a bit rusty with the layoff?

“Hopefully, I will get out there and get right back in the swing of things,” Luton said. “That’s a big reason I want to get back out there. Kind of shaking off the cobwebs I’ve accumulated over the past few weeks.”

The early injury to Luton forced the Beavers into a quarterback by committee plan the next two games. Blount played the first half against Southern Utah with Luton playing the second.

Blount then started against Nevada before Luton relieved him and helped lead a comeback. When Luton went down, Blount guided the Beavers to a game-winning field goal attempt that was no good.

“I think Conor’s done a nice job of taking care of the football and there’s some definite areas of improvement but I think he’s done some good things and I’m comfortable with him in there,” Lindgren said.

Even with both healthy, the Beavers could continue to rotate the quarterbacks.

“I think it’s always good when you can get a guy that’s just in there, he’s playing, he’s getting in the rhythm of the game,” Lindgren said. “But I also think it’s good to have multiple guys who have that experience that Jake has to where if one of those guys get banged up or you’re struggling, we can get a guy in there and maybe create a spark or jump start us.”

21498609