The last time Oregon State held its spring game at PGE Park was 2005, and nearly 10,000 fans enjoyed the action. Coach Mike Riley would like to see the game return next year.

'I thought it was an awesome atmosphere last time, great for both our players and our fans,' Riley says. 'Our biggest fan base is in Portland, and I'd like to be able to hold (the spring game) there on at least a rotating basis.'

This year's spring game is April 28 at Reser Stadium.

• The debut of KPAM (860 AM) as the Beavers' Portland flagship station takes place with the spring game, set for 1 p.m., with Mike Parker and Jim Wilson calling the action.

• Tailback Micah Strickland has not been practicing in order to take care of some personal issues. Coaches expect the 6-foot, 210-pound sophomore to return before the end of spring ball.

• Defensive coaches are pleased with what they've seen at safety this spring. Behind starters Al Afalava and Bryan Payton are senior Daniel Drayton and junior Greg Laybourn, the latter the former Metro League player of the year from Beaverton High.

'There's some great competition right now,' Riley says. 'Greg is a very heady player with good athletic ability. Both he and Daniel play with a lot of savvy. They see things easily, and their reactions are that much faster.'

Redshirt freshman James Dockery and Suaesi Tuimaunei also have made an impression, as has Austin Hall, a walk-on junior from Sunset High.

'Austin made some big plays in the scrimmage last week,' Riley says. 'We lost an all-star in Sabby (Piscitelli) at safety, but we feel we have excellent depth at that position for next fall.'

• Linebacker Derrick Doggett, who has dealt with back spasms this spring, practiced a little this week but is doubtful for Saturday's scrimmage. Others who will be held out include linebacker Alan Darlin (neck), receiver Brandon Powers (knee) and offensive guard Roy Schuening (hamstring), though none of the injuries is serious.

'When I was at SC, John Robinson would give some seniors the whole spring off,' Riley says. 'I like to have them involved, but I don't want to take a chance on injuries, especially with a senior who is a two- or three-year starter. What do they have to prove?'

• Saturday's scrimmage will begin about 11:30 a.m. and is scheduled for about 50 plays, though it probably will go longer in order to get the third- and fourth-stringers extra work.

- Kerry Eggers

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