By Steve Gress

Corvallis Gazette-Times

CORVALLIS — It will be another week of waiting to see which quarterback will be healthy enough to take snaps for Oregon State.

The Beavers, who have lost five straight and are 1-6 overall and 0-4 in the Pac-12, head to Colorado on Saturday.

Who will take the snaps is yet to be determined.

Conor Blount, who has started the last six games, is going through concussion protocol this week, and his availability to play at all was uncertain as of Monday.

“Depending on how that goes, we’ll know his availability by the end of the week,” coach Jonathan Smith said.

Blount took a hit when he slid after scrambling for 18 yards and a first down late in the first half of last Saturday’s 49-7 Pac-12 home loss to California.

Jack Colletto came on and played the entire second half, completing 11 of 20 passes for 104 yards and rushing for a 1-yard touchdown.

Jake Luton, who was named the starter out of camp but played just one series in the opener at Ohio State before suffering a concussion, remains questionable from an ankle injury he suffered against Nevada in Week 3.

Luton dressed on Saturday, but Smith said after the game “he just can’t move well enough to go out there.”

Smith said Luton did participate in Sunday’s short practice, and he is hopeful the senior will be able to go more during the week.

True-freshman running back Jermar Jefferson was limited on Sunday after getting just two carries in Saturday’s game as he was nursing a quad injury suffered in practice.

Jefferson is 101 yards short of 1,000 in his rookie campaign.

“I’m optimistic on Saturday he could go unless he has some type of setback,” Smith said. “You know how these muscle things are.”

Smith recognizes injuries are a part of the game and nearly every team has to deal with them, but they have played a big factor this season for the Beavers.

“It’s frustrating in regards that you’re so competitive and you want to put your best 11 out there,” Smith said. “Offense especially has a little rhythm to it. Well, the same group doing the same things over and over can create some rhythm.

“We haven’t had that, and it’s not just on the offensive side; I mean we’re missing some pieces on defense.”

Preparation changes?

Smith said after Saturday’s loss he would re-evaluate the way the Beavers have been preparing.

With the season past the midway point, Smith said the Beavers may start to shorten some of their practices to be fresher for game day.

He said he still feels good about what they are trying to do on both sides of the ball.

“We know we’ve got to grow and improve, and so it’s that fine line of keep on doing what you’re doing and knowing the light is at the end of the tunnel,” the coach said Monday. “At the same time, the immediate results are not coming, so it’s hard not to want to make drastic changes. But again I’m confident in what we’re doing, and we’re going to continue to work to get better at it.”

Focused on effort

Smith said he has been pleased with the effort of the players both in games and in practice. But it is something he continues to look at.

One example came on the opening drive of the second half Saturday against Cal when the Beavers gave up a four-play, 78-yard touchdown drive in 87 seconds that started with a 53-yard run on the first play.

“I was like hold on here,” Smith said. “I will say I thought they rallied and did regroup and played harder with better effort the rest of the half. But we do have our eyes on that and will keep our eyes on that.”

Pierce impact

Artavis Pierce had 44 rushing yards on 13 attempts last week and five catches for 72 yards — a good showing no doubt in his second game back from injury, but Smith would like to get even more out of the junior running back.

“I still want to get him out in the open field a little bit where he can really go, and we haven’t gotten that,” Smith said, “especially (last) Saturday.”

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