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Eager Beavers mostly healthy for bowl game

SAN FRANCISCO — A sunny, but windy after-Christmas day greeted the Beavers as they hit the field at San Francisco City College — the wind chill dropped the temps into the 40s as onlookers bundled up.

Head coach Mike Riley was pleased with what he saw as the team conducted the final practice of the 2007 season. It will be a season remembered for a lot of positives and a nice finishing touch would be winning the Emerald Bowl and a second consecutive top-25 finish. That won't be easy though, as the Maryland Terrapins have come to "The City" with the same types of goals.

"I'm really pleased with how the week has gone so far," Riley said. "The kids have had a chance to enjoy themselves in terms of seeing the sights, but they also are focusing on the job at hand. It's been a fun experience for the team."

Today the team will take part in a rally and kickoff bowl luncheon, followed by a brief visit to AT&T Park, the home of the game. Joey LaRocque and Kyle DeVan will represent the Beavers on stage as ESPN personality Rod Gilmore will grill them about the season.

Anthony Brown remains sidelined with a quadriceps injury, but said he would try to play — James Rodgers will take his place if he is unavailable in the starting lineup. Jeremy Perry continues to be held out of some drills as a precautionary measure.

The team has most of the afternoon off, before tonight's video games challenge with Maryland. The Beavers are also helping in the community this week.

Oregon State President Ed Ray will join OSU student leaders and alumni in a community service project this Friday in San Francisco prior to the Beavers' Emerald Bowl football game against Maryland.

Some 40 students are expected to work with local volunteers on Friday morning at the shelter.

"Service to others is an important value of Oregon State University and our alumni are committed to volunteer and provide civic service in many forms," said Jeff Todd, executive director of the OSU Alumni Association.

The community service project involving OSU students and alumni was begun by Ray shortly after his arrival as president of OSU. It has become a tradition as the Beavers' football team has enjoyed a string of success in recent years, playing in bowl games in 2004, 2006 and 2007. OSU students volunteered in the community in each of those years, working in Phoenix prior to the 2004 Insight Bowl (a victory over Notre Dame); in El Paso, before the 2006 Sun Bowl (a victory over Missouri); and this year.

Ray said he is "passionate" about making an impact in local communities over the holidays.

"One of the things I love about being president of Oregon State University is that, wherever in the world they go, our graduates work with passion and intelligence to make life better for others," Ray said.