Sunday, September 30, 2007

Oregon State / UCLA game

I'm not going to pile on the Beavers today. Everyone saw what happened. But I've definitely tempered my expectations for the season. I no longer expect a bowl this season, which is sad. If it happens again I'll be rooting for it the whole way and I won't give up on the team yet. But I just think the road ahead is way too tough. I'd love to be proven wrong, but if my expectations are lower then I won't let it ruin my weekend when they do lose. Now I'll be looking for signs from the young players that show they will be better next season.

It is sad that we wasted that great defensive performance yesterday.

You know what? I'd like to try that total dominance thing someday.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thoughts on the UCLA game and are Beaver fans happy with the football program?

I have a great feeling this game. Sure we haven't beat UCLA in a while, but we haven't had a home game in the Riley II era. Plus, we absolutely have dominated on run defense and I really think that will be the difference. We will win 31-17.

Of course I'm a major Beaver fan so what else would I think? I just read the book "Fever Pitch" by Nick Hornby. Great read and it really makes you think about how crazy you are as a fan.

After last weekend I sometimes wonder if I will ever feel the joy of the Fiesta Bowl season again. Is this it? Don't get me wrong, times are good. We are currently in a golden era of Beaver football. Last year was about as good as it gets. But after a great year, why must we have a down year?

Sometimes I wonder what it's like to be a USC, Michigan, or Florida fan. Is there any euphoria? Is winning so expected that all you ever feel is disappointment when you lose. You never the sheer euphoria of beating a USC. Would I want that for the Beavs? Total domination for years on end? Does winning get old? I'm too young to remember the dominant Beaver basketball teams of the early 80's, but even that wasn't more flash in the pan than total domination.

What would you rather have? Years and years of rarely losing? Or what we have now: Generally pretty good, winning bowl games but never really in the National Championship reace. The question isn't should we expect more, but are we happy with what we have? Do all the 5-6 and 7-5 seasons make the 10 or 11 win seasons that much better?

Monday, September 24, 2007

ASU: The streak continues

The Beavers found another way to lose in Tempe.

If you could script the first 2.5 quarters, then they would have been just about perfect. Jump out to a big early lead. Hold them to FGs when they get close to scoring. Score at the beginning of the second half to keep them down by 2 TDs. recipe for a win, eh?

But then our team had flashbacks of the Cincy game and decided to turn the ball over and give up huge plays. Ug. Four touchdowns in a row and I turned the game off. Our vaunted defense is really good against the run, but not really good at defending the pass.

Looking at things now, we will probably beat any team that relies heavily on the run. But really, that's not too many teams in the Pac-10. Maybe UW. It will be down to who makes less mistakes in the passing game. That's probably who wins the game home or away.

It's too bad we can't just pound the ball more and take some pressure off of Canfield. The stats look good, but the running is too inconsistent. We get 1 and 0 yards way too often.

Well, UCLA next week. We've got a good shot to beat them. If we can get a big crowd for UCLA that will help pick up the Beavs who were very close to pulling off the upset in Tempe. Don't give up yet on this team. Road wins are tough and we need to win all of the home games on our schedule.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

ASU: the streak must end.

ASU is a major hurdle for the Beavers. There's not many streaks left from the bad old days, but this is one of them. What is it about ASU that is such a stumbling block? Is it the heat? Maybe the large stadium? The fact that the games are so early in the season and we're a late season team?

All I know is that I want this win. I want to shock the Pac-10 and get rid of that taste of the Cincy game.

Everyone wearing their lucky shirt? Radio only today, so maybe that will change it up and give us some 1960's mojo.

Come on Beavs!!!

Have you seen the look-alike contests from both ASU and OSU? Pretty funny stuff: ASU roster look alikes OSU Look-a-likes

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Idaho St. Game Thoughts

Beaver fans can't complain much about a 61-10 victory over a team that we were supposed to kill. The good part is that eventually all phases of the game that we were concerned about came around.

The Offense

The running game took about 2 1/2 quarters to come around, but it did. Maybe the Bengals were tired, but I don't think they were putting in their 2nd string until late in the game. I'm disappointed that the starting O-line wasn't able to get Yvenson 100 yards by the end of the first half. However, we appear to have some nice depth and great change of pace at RB. Bernard is the shifty one, Polk is the fast slasher type, and Sieverson is the physical pounding runner. That may help us if teams are keying on Bernard too much to switch it up on them. Another thing that may help our running game was the huge passing day from Sean Canfield.

The passing game was very good. Just what the doctor ordered. Hopefully, Sean has some confidence and the game has started to slow down for him. Plus, we put doubt into opposing coaches minds now. They can't completely focus on the run because Sean may drop a perfect pass to Sammy at any minute. Sean throws a nice long ball and he showcased that yesterday. The receivers made some good strides yesterday as well. Brown is more solid and Sammie appears to be the old Sammie. Plus, Catchings and Rogers still look good as will be the next great receivers at OSU. Just a few drops and missed passes, but otherwise a great game.

The Defense

Overall, a strong performance from the defense. The Beavers continue to prove that teams will have a tough time moving the ball against us. Especially against the run (we had a change to hold them to -yards rushing). However, the pass defense wasn't quite what I thought it would be. Their QB kept getting away from potential sacks and then completing passes to #6. That guy killed us. Teams will pass on us this year I think. If we can get a few interceptions then that will help a ton. 4 interceptions was great to see. Hopefully that gets us rolling on the turnover margin. Oh, and what was up with the missed tackles. That will get corrected, I'm sure of it.

Other Thoughts

The best part of the game was the peek at the future. The reserves all played well and in some cases, as good or better than the starters.

Most of our turnovers and rushing yards came after the starters were done for the day. Maybe we will start rotating even more to keep people fresh.

Next year's kicker got an extended look and was perfect on XP and FGs. His kickoffs looked pretty good too. We should be OK after Serna graduates.


On to ASU. I watched them a bit last night and they look good. If we can shut down their running game, we might have a good shot at a win. I know Riley would love to beat Dennis. But since we haven't won in Tempe against the Sun Devils since 1969, I'm not predicting a win. We always find some stupid way to lose the game down their even though we play better than them. Maybe Canfield will take another step forward and surprise us. I'll be hoping for that. And plenty of forced turnovers by our D.

Game Reaction

There were some interesting quotes from the game.

OSU crushes ISU - Idaho State Journal

"He picked apart our defense," Idaho State defensive tackle Micah Cloward said of Canfield. "We stopped the run, which was what we wanted to do. Unfortunately we let him have a big passing day."

"Yeah, it was 61-10, but it didn't feel like we just got thrashed," Zamberlin said. "I didn't feel like guys ever quit. ... There are lots of positives we can build on."
It may not have been a thrashing, but they had NO chance.

Energetic Stroughter leads Beavers' romp over Idaho State
- The Portland Tribune
"I was out there having fun again," said Stroughter, who caught 74 passes for 1,293 yards and five TDs as a junior. "That felt good. The whole team came out there with that theme today – having fun. Overall, we did a great job. We executed. The line did a great job protecting (quarterback Sean Canfield).

"To be out there with my teammates, with them having the utmost confidence in me – the team was always behind me 100 percent. I thank them a lot, them and the whole Beaver Nation."
Awesome. Best quote of the game because I'm happy Sammie is back!
"The biggest thing for me was having a couple of games under my belt," said Canfield, who was intercepted four times and had only touchdown passing the first two games. "The game is starting to slow down a little bit and become a little more clear to me."
The game is slowing down. I love to hear that. I really think he will come around faster than Matt and Derek did because he knows the offense and just needs to adjust to the game speed.

Go Beavs!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The QB situation

Today, I'm more concerned about the weather for the game and my tailgater than I am about ISU. So I'm going to talk about the QB situation.

First, I think that Canfield will be the man this season. I know Riley mentioned Gundy this week throwing another wrench into the system, but Canfield will take slowly improve and will do well this season. Why? Here's my theory: If it takes about a season for new QBs to learn the system from scratch (Derek Anderson and Matt Moore) then a QB who has been in the system 2-3 years will acclimate to game speed much faster (Sean Canfield).

Both Matt and Derek had no experience with Riley's offense. Each had prior game experience under different systems with mixed results. But both had a ton of interceptions in their first year under Riley's system.

Moore.... 211-355-19, 11 td, 271 ypg, 123.11 effic
Derek.... 261-510-24, 24 td, 312 ypg, 124.13 effic

By their Senior years both Matt and Derek "broke out". They looked confident, controlled, and much less mistake-proned. But they were both learning on the job in their Junior years and didn't really know Riley's offense completely.

Canfield is also learning on the job. But he played in 10 games last season and went 28-45 with 2 tds, 2 ints, and 335 yards passing. That's basically a game an a half. Add that to his two half games this year and he's about 3-4 games in to his learning year. So at worst he will start to come around in game 7 or 8 and become a good QB.

However, I have this sneaking suspicion that he will come around sooner if given playing time. Mainly because he doesn't really have to learn on the job. He knows the offense in and out. Now he's just getting the game speed down and learning how to read defenses. Tough, yes, but not as tough as doing both at the same time. So I predict (and hope) that he will be a solid QB around the Arizona or UCLA game. That means less mistakes and basically not costing us the game. By the end of the season he could be really contributing a lot. Especially if teams are still stacking up on the run. I really hope Sean starts it in a big way against ISU today.

Here's to one more warm Saturday game before fall hits.

Go Beavs!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Review of the Offense

The Enquirer / Ernest Coleman
Time to try to find some good news somewhere. Game film takes too long for Saturday morning so I'll go with the stats.

The Beavers offense seemed to be the biggest problem, so I'll look at that.

Cincinnati vs. OSU game stats
                                      Drive Chart (Final)
Drive Started Drive Ended Consumed
Team Qtr Spot Time Obtained Spot Time How Lost Pl-Yds TOP
OSU 1st O35 12:58 Punt O35 12:00 Interception 3-0 0:58
OSU 1st O34 10:31 Kickoff O35 08:57 Punt 3-1 1:34
OSU 1st O12 06:40 Punt O49 01:00 Punt 8-37 5:40
OSU 2nd C23 14:38 Punt C21 12:28 Missed FG 4-2 2:10
OSU 2nd O20 10:11 Punt C14 06:00 *FIELD GOAL 13-66 4:11
OSU 2nd O29 03:54 Punt O48 01:46 Interception 4-19 2:08
OSU 2nd O12 01:08 Kickoff O25 00:00 End of half 3-13 1:08
OSU 3rd O27 14:55 Kickoff O34 12:53 Punt 3-7 2:02
OSU 3rd O02 00:00 Punt O02 07:27 Fumble 0-0 0:00
OSU 3rd O22 06:43 Kickoff O22 06:20 Punt 3-0 0:23
OSU 3rd O32 03:13 Kickoff O31 02:13 Punt 3--1 1:00
OSU 3rd O23 02:07 Kickoff O35 00:56 Interception 4-12 1:11
OSU 3rd O20 00:02 Kickoff C27 13:16 Interception 7-53 1:46
OSU 4th O32 09:36 Fumble C35 06:36 Interception 7-33 3:00
OSU 4th C43 06:36 Fumble C39 04:54 Downs 4-4 1:42
OSU 4th O10 02:34 Punt C36 00:00 Interception 8-54 2:34

Our best drive of the day also happened to be the only drive we scored on. We gained 66 yards and moved the ball from our 20 to their 14. Probably should have scored a touchdown on that one, but at the time we needed the points.

We had another drive two drives before that that was nice as well. It ate up 5:40 (longest of the game), but we started on our own 12 and it sputtered at midfield.

After that it was bad until the 4th quarter when the game was out of hand. But we did have 3 drives that ended within FG range with INTs. They were playing their starters until the end, so that is a little positive. Not a lot positive in there.

During the game I really felt like we didn't throw the ball down the field until the end of the game.

We weren't exactly prolific past 10 yards. Take out the 4th quarter and the passing game is pretty pedestrian. And only one rushing play of over 5 yards!

Man, we were way out of balance considering Mike Riley likes to be 50% run / 50% pass. But I guess that they were keying on the run pretty well.
            Play Breakdown Summary (Final)

Oregon State Cincinnati

Down RUN PASS Total Down RUN PASS Total

OVERALL.......... 20 55 75 OVERALL.......... 30 26 56
1ST DOWN......... 11 20 31 1ST DOWN......... 15 10 25
2ND DOWN-SHORT... 1 1 2 2ND DOWN-SHORT... 1 1 2
2ND DOWN-LONG.... 5 15 20 2ND DOWN-LONG.... 9 8 17
3RD DOWN-SHORT... 3 2 5 3RD DOWN-SHORT... 1 0 1
3RD DOWN-LONG.... 0 12 12 3RD DOWN-LONG.... 3 7 10
4TH DOWN......... 0 1 1 4TH DOWN......... 0 0 0

Only 20 rushing attempts total. Seems really low.

Here's the best I could find on the positive side:

NET YARDS PASSING.............      274
Third-Down Conversions........ 8 of 18
Sacks By: Number-Yards........ 3-31

Receiving No. Yds TD Long
Bernard, Y. 7 17 0 5
Powers, Brandon 5 76 0 35
Sieverson, Matt 5 31 0 9
Catchings, D. 4 34 0 12
Morales, Shane 4 28 0 12
Croom, Howard 3 43 0 18
Brown, Anthony 2 24 0 15
Johnson, Chris 1 14 0 14
Camp, Brady 1 7 0 7
Totals... 32 274 0 35

We passed a lot, thus we got a lot of yards. I think the drops are just about done. I think the receivers did pretty good. Especially Powers after he tweaked his knee. Catchings is starting off fast at OSU. He could be a good one here.

Not bad on the 3rd down conversions considering how our day went.

Well, that's about it for the offense. ASU is going to be scary. Can we break the streak of losses in Tempe? Will Dennis learn from facing us last year with Idaho? That game becomes a big game for the Beavs.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Just needed some cheer

I'm going to take a page out of MGoBlog's book. Except I like pugs.

Awww, so cute.

What's wrong little guy?


Bowling with pugs. :)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Open Letter to Bob DeCarolis

Dear Bob,

Please don't schedule any more road games against bowl team. Please don't schedule any more Thursday night road games on ESPN. Please don't schedule any more tough road out of conference games.

I'm tired of getting beat down every year by a team we would beat at home. Why do we always have to be the team that launches some unknown team on their BCS run?

Please, please schedule cupcakes or home games next year. Remember, we went to the Fiesta Bowl playing nobody but the Pac-10. The Pac-10 is good enough that we can get to the BCS without playing ANY good teams in the pre-season. We're not playing for a national championship or anything. It's time to go back to scheduling like Barnhart and Erickson scheduled. Weak.

Beaver Nation

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Cincinnati Bearcats Up Next

Like many people (including the Beavs), I don't know how good Cincinnati really is. What I know is, their uniforms look like the Beavers unis from last season.

Why do I have this nagging worry about this game? Is it the young QBs? The memories of going back east to Louisville 2 years ago? Getting drubbed by Boise St. twice?

Here's what concerns me about this game:

* The Bearcats like to pass alot and do it fairly efficiently. They had two QBs pass at a 66% clip last game and were about 60% last season. Will our CBs be able to contain their passing game?

* They run a no-huddle spread offense. Sounds like Missouri. They put up a lot of points on us in the Sun Bowl.

* Their defense is pretty good. They held teams to less than 20 points per game last season and Riley said that "they look pretty fast".

* Its going to be hot in Cincinnati tomorrow night. Hopefully everyone hydrates. Especially Keenan Lewis who has recurring problems with cramps.

* It's a road game.

Why we will win:

* Sammie is back. That alone could provide the inspiration to overcome nearly anything. I'm calling a punt returned for a TD by Sammie.

* Bernard and the O-line will keep the ball moving enough for the passing game to take a step forward.

* The Defense (yep, with a capital D).

* Stuff like this:

I can't wait for tomorrow! Come on Beavs!

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