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Idaho at Oregon State

When, where: 7:15 p.m., Saturday, Reser Stadium

TV, radio: FSN Northwest, KEX (1190 AM)

Wait till next year: Coach Mike Riley's first thought when he learned freshman tight end Gabe Miller had re-torn his Achilles tendon was, 'Will he ever be able to be 100 percent, or will he always have problems with it?' Riley's fears were assuaged by the team's orthopedic physician, Ron Wobig, who performed the second surgery last week. 'Dr. Wobig was very optimistic,' Riley says. 'We're disappointed, because Gabe was coming along so well in his recovery. He wants to be ready for spring ball. I would say that might be a stretch, but we'll just have to wait and see.'

Back in action: Cornerback Brandon Hughes, who missed the first two games with a knee injury, is practicing full speed and will back up Coye Francies on Saturday against Idaho, which beat Idaho State 27-24 last week. Offensive guard Jeremy Perry, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery a week ago, also is expected to be available.

Recruiting trail: Oregon State did not practice Friday, Saturday or Sunday, and players returned to workouts Monday. Seven OSU assistant coaches were on the road watching high school and junior college games over the weekend. The NCAA allows college staffs to designate six days during the season when they can visit recruits and attend games. The Beaver coaches used three of their days over the last two weekends, will use one more in Washington when they face the Huskies on Oct. 14, one in Southern California when they play UCLA on Nov. 11 and the final day at a to-be-determined date for in-state recruiting.

'I don't like the limitations,' Riley says. 'I would probably have a coach or two on the road each week if I could. The rule is a disadvantage for us as compared to a school in a more populated area like Los Angeles or the Bay Area, because those coaches are right there. When you're talking about an out-of-state player, it's a $200,000 investment for our school. You want as much information as you can about each player, and you want a presence with them.'

They're No. 1: Riley has had six recruiting classes at Oregon State, and the 2006 group 'is definitely our best,' the coach says.

Six of the true freshmen have played - punter Kyle Loomis; fullback Micah Strickland; tight ends John Reese and Howard Croom; linebacker Keaton Kristick; and receiver Casey Kjos. All six have been active on special teams, while Strickland is the No. 1 fullback when the Beavers go to a two-back set and Reese and Croom have gotten time at tight end and H-back.

Among the others in the 20-man class who have shown major potential in workouts but are redshirting: linebacker Dwight Roberson; defensive end Tom Hansen; offensive linemen Timi Oshinowo and Mau Nomani; and safeties James Dockery and Suaesi Tuilaunei. Riley thinks three more eventually will play a key role - linebacker Keo Camat of Jesuit, tight end Brady Camp of Barlow and walk-on receiver Aaron Nichols of Honolulu.

'There aren't too many players in that class who won't contend to be starters at some point,' Riley says. 'And I include (JC transfer quarterback) Lyle Moevao, who is redshirting and will have three years of eligibility left, in that group.'

Two other recruits from the '06 class - tight end Joe Halahuni of Orting, Wash., and linebacker Danzel Issac of Eastern Arizona JC - are attending classes at junior colleges this fall and are expected to enroll at OSU as grayshirts for winter term.

Rough spots: Three shanked punts in the first two games have Loomis' punting average at only 32.7 yards, but OSU coaches aren't down on the Roseburg native.

'We knew there were going to be some rough spots, but every time out Kyle is going to get better,' Riley says. 'He has poise and talent and a good work ethic. He has some technical things he's working on, but he's going to be a very good punter.'

- Kerry Eggers