Sunday, September 27, 2009

Arizona Game Aftermath: Another Close Loss, Time To Figure Out How To Be Great

Here we are again. 2-2. Someday I'd love to see a 3-1 or 4-0 start. The good news is that our 2-2 starts used to include a huge blowout or two (Boise St., Cal, Cincy, etc). Now our 2-2 starts could have just as easily been 3-1 or 4-0 with a few breaks (no interceptions). Of course the UNLV game could have gone the other way too...

Other than a few bad breaks, why are we losing these games that we seemed to pull out last year? I don't pretend to know, but I know what I see.

* We don't do anything great. We're OK at the passing game. OK against the run. OK against the pass. OK in the running game. OK receiving core. OK offensive line. Bad pass rush. We're just average right now. Which isn't bad, unless you make more mistakes than the other team (-2 turnover margin against U of A. 5-0 sacks. Penalties). The good news? When you are already OK to good, its easier to improve a little to see better performance on the field. We have the athletes.

* The last two years we found a play or a player about this point of the season who was almost unstoppable. Fly Sweep, Quizz, Stroughter Punt Returns, and Slade/Victor Sacks. We need to find that player this week. Is it Moevao? Wheaton? More blitzing from the LBs? Something needs to change because we are getting nothing extra. No key turnovers. No key sacks. No long passes or runs. We have to grind everything out on both sides of the ball. Its just too hard to win consistently when all of the other teams in the Pac-10 has improved so much.

The tough part is that now we have to pull out some tough wins (probably upsets) to salvage our season. The thing that gives me hope is that these coaches and players have been here before and they know what it takes. But like the last two games, I hope they don't come up short.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Arizona Looks Great on Defense (As Usual)

One of the coolest things I have discovered this season is ESPN360. It let me watch the Arizona game last week as well as the USC/UW game. Its like Hulu for sports. The only bummer is that you can only get it with certain internet providers. Luckily Comcast is one (and my work isn't one or I'd never get anything done).

Anyways, the Arizona vs. Iowa game was an interesting game from a scouting perspective. Its hard to know how much of this is Iowa and how much is Arizona, but...

* Arizona's secondary is good. They returned an INT for a TD which was 7 of their 10 points.

* The D-Line looks pretty good too. Good pressure on the Iowa QB.

* The offense needs help. Specifically, the O-Line was beat all day. They couldn't protect and couldn't run block either.

* The QB Scott, who was benched this week, looked very green. Happy feet, not great reads, but had a strong arm and was a decent runner.

* The RB Grigsby didn't have much room to run, but when he got some room he was fast.

Unless the OSU offensive line is ready this week, the offense could struggle again. Could be a low scoring game. Hopefully our defense can come through this week and maybe score or create a few turnovers. That would be huge. An TDs, not FGs.

Go Beavs!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cincinnati Loss - The Morning After. Reaction and Poll

This loss to Cincinnati feels less like a "sky is falling" loss than we've have the last 5 years. I think back to Boise St. x 2, Cincy '07, Cal early a few years ago, Frenso St., etc and I remember thinking that a bowl game might be tough.

This loss feels like Stanford or Utah of last year. Games we could have won (probably should have won) if the breaks went our way. We are lucky we survived UNLV. But honestly, if we had one of two things happen I think we win that game.

I think we win if the fumble was called a fumble, or if on the next play we don't let them convert that 20 yard pass for the 1st down after the huge loss. And, actually if we got a 3 and out after our failed 4th down conversion, there was plenty of time to score twice with the help of an on-sides kick. But letting them drive the field for 4 minutes killed that possibility.

Even playing our "C" game (and Cliff is right on in his report card), we could have won that game.

How painful was that TD at the end of the first half? How about that series on the 6 yard line where we went backwards twice?

The Aftermath

The post-game reaction is pretty wide ranging. Much of the blame either lands on the Offensive Line (no running game between the tackles, 5 sacks), the QB Sean Canfield (5 sacks, strange desperation plays, holding the ball too long), the play calling (nothing down field, too much Rodgers bros), and maybe the D-Line (no sacks). Some even called out everyone and their mother, including the fans. And of course, Canzano wants Moevao.

Cliff has some great post-game video on his blog

Here's some great photos of the game from Flickr user nayray

Beaver fans are clearly reeling. This isn't the post I would have written last night. I was pissed at the refs for that call, pissed at Canfield, the final play calls, the lack of push up front, and even had the thought "what if Moevao was the QB". So I feel you.

Then I remember last year. That started MUCH worse. A Pac-10 loss early? A blowout loss to PSU? A tough loss at Utah? Who would have thought we would end up one win away from the Rose Rowl? That may have been our 1 in 10 years Rose Bowl shot.

Before you jump off a bridge, take a look at this quote:
“We went down early with that crazy, unbelievable crowd,” Pike said. “Oregon State is a great team – an obvious top-25 team. We were able to go through some tough times and come back out of them.” - Pike, 'Cats too much for OSU

The Future

What have we learned from the non-conference schedule? Here's what I've learned:

* The secondary is going to be OK. I like what I'm seeing. The coverage, generally, was good. Sometimes excellent. This isn't going to be 2005 where we were burned 1000 times on the long routes. And, yes, we do turn around and look at the ball.

* The defensive line is good at stopping the run with Paea up the middle, but will need help from blitzing LBs and corners to really pressure the QB. I thought Ben Terry would be a monster, but that hasn't panned out yet. We are going to miss Slade and Victor.

* The offensive line is a work in progress. We lost too many top OL over the last year to not struggle. We are young and have too many walk-ons/frosh to not have issues. I trust coach Cav to make them better. Hopefully fast.

* We may have a QB controversy soon. Even though we have two senior QBs, neither is the total package. But I think both can get the job done if the running game is solid.

* We have two great players in James and Jaquizz. You win by letting your best players make plays. You can't just start not handing the ball of to Quizz or throwing the ball to James because the fans think they get the ball too much. Trust me, we want them to have the ball in their hands. Hopefully someone else emerges (TE Halahuni, WR Bishop?) this season, but if not, they are what gives us a shot to be great. Deal with it.

* The WR core is young, and could be part of the problem with the sacks and passing game. Hard for me to say definitively. Clearly we miss Morales and Stroughter. But I've seen enough good play to be excited for the future.

I know one thing from past history of Mike Riley coached teams: they will improve. And adjust. The early season schedule could be better, but its not bad.

Sep 26: Arizona
Oct 3: at Arizona St
Oct 10: Stanford
Oct 24: at USC
Oct 31: UCLA

Arizona is winnable. Depending on improvement, Arizona St. is winnable (though we rarely win in Phoenix). Stanford is winnable. There is time to improve within that schedule.


What do you see? Where are the Beavs as they head into the Pac-10 season?

How about voting on where you feel the Beavs will be at the end of the year? Is the sky falling for you?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Getting Ready For the Beavers Game!

You know its football season when your 22 month old is singing the OSU fight song all day!

Go Beavs!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Could Oregon State Have Invented The Spread Option?

I finally read the "Oregon State Football" book from Kip Carlson published back in 2006. Its a quick read with lots of pictures, facts, and a few good stories that was perfect for football season. My favorite part was to see the great historical photos of how the stadiums changed over the years from Bell to Parker to Reser.

Reading that book got me thinking about recent history and the newest trend in college football, the spread option. Of course, the spread option is the new trendy offense around the college football scene. Our opponents UNLV, Cincinnati, and Oregon all run it and the last two run it very well. Most defenses (especially ours of late) have tons of trouble with it because its so different. And its still very new and unique, so preparing for it can be difficult in the middle of a season.

Remember Jerry Pettibone? How about Dave Kragthorpe? Coach Kragthorpe had a pass heavy "Air Express" offense that piled up yards through the air. Coach Pettibone brought the old triple option offense to Corvallis and ran the ball and gave up the pass. Both teams ran "gimmic" offenses in an effort to turn things around at Oregon State and had some success. Granted 4-7 seasons aren't much to write home about, but it was something.

What if in an alternate universe, coach Pettibone had some foresight and kept the O-coordinator from the "Air Express" days on staff? What if they melded the philosophies of the quick passing game with the option run offense? Would they have come up with the spread option? Probably not. But what they did come up with might have revolutionized college football much in the same way that Urban Meyer did in 2002.

Can you imagine Tim Alexander in the spread option? My guess is he would have been pretty good.

I went to OSU during the Pettibone era, and effectively missed the Kragthorpe era so I don't know if it would have been like mixing oil and water. But I can't help think about the possibilities. And the missed opportunity.

What do you think? Was Pettibone just 10 years too early?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Two and Oh - Beavers Celebrate

It wasn't pretty, but we finally won a tough early season road game. Whew! I know the rest of Beaver Nation was ready to throw something after that incomplete pass on 3 and 26 on the final drive. Thank goodness for penalties!

My favorite tweets after the game:

@Reese85: Man too close for comfort on that one, we got much work to do, but we'll get it, overall good win, proud of the beavs

@LindsayRae19: Buker says I'm not allowed to swear so I'll just go with HOLY EFF. Wow. Beavs need to go back to Covallis and practice counting to 11.

@timray8233: GO BEAVS!!! Thanks for nearly giving me a heartattack, but great game ending drive.

@carronstott: WOOT! Beavs win 23-21 on a late FG to win, guess the kicker can keep his job

@bearcat17: That's how you redeem yourself. Big time kick Mr. Kahut. I applaud you. GO BEAVS

@jrmeadkutless: Dear Jesus: in case you read Twitter, thanks for having the Beavers win. Thanks for having Kahut making that field goal. Amen.

Let's all hope we don't need as much praying next week against Cincy!

Go Beavs!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oregon State at UNLV -- How To Watch the Game

Tonight's OSU Beavers game will be televised on CBS College Sports HD, but unless you have the special sports package on Comcast or have the channel on DirectTV you will be listening to Mike Parker and Jim Wilson call the game on the radio.

If you want to watch the game on TV you have a few options:

1. Go to a bar/restaurant and watch the game. The OSU Alumni Association has a nice list of places around the country to watch the Beavs all season:

2009 Beaver Football Games Watches - OSU Alumni Association

2. Stream the game online. There are a few options for online viewing on your computer.

You can purchase a month of Beaver Nation Online. It costs around $15/month and you can cancel it after your month is up. You might get another game in that time that isn't televised.

I'm not exactly sure how this relates to Beaver Nation Online, but you could get a subscription to CBS College Sports XXL which gives you even more sports and teams to watch. Again that's about $15/month. However, it appears that there is a 1 month coupon code: FREEMONTH09 (Thanks @gregkeene!). So you may get to watch the game for free that way! Just don't forget to cancel it!

3. There are other streaming options that may be available. You can check or and search for feeds there. However any easily findable streams tend to get pulled at some point. To find a stream that works at game time, follow me at @JasonOSUBeavers on twitter and I'll let you know if one is available.

Good luck watching the game!

Go Beavs!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Portland St. Post-game Thoughts

So after watching a half+ of the starters, did they answer the three questions?

1. How does the offensive line look?

There weren't huge holes, but Jaquizz had about a much room as last year. Actually, after that 45 yard run, maybe a little more.

No sacks on Canfield. That's good.

Not sure we have answers, but it was a good showing.

2. How's the secondary?

Good tackling from the secondary. Almost a couple of picks. That's good. But the Vikings got a lot of yards in the passing game. Most of it was underneath. Nothing too long. So we'll see. Nothing definitive yet...

3. Do the Rodgers brothers look 100%?

Clearly, the answer is YES. They looked awesome as ever.

How did you think the Beavs did?

Good win. Now for a step up in competition. Let's beat UNLV!

Go Beavs!

Game Day! Time to Answer Some Questions About the Beavs

Its finally here. Football season.

First up, Portland State. There's plenty of stories and analysis on the Vikings and where the Beavers are at. I'm not really interested in who the Vikings are or the keys to the game because its less about them and more about us.

I'm most interested in how all the new pieces of the offense and defense come together.

Here's my biggest things I'm watching for:

1. How does the offensive line look?

Plenty of new starters on the O Line including a true freshman in Michael Philipp. Can they create holes for the running game? Can they protect the QB?

2. How's the secondary?

Three new players in the secondary. I consider Tim Clark a starter because he has plenty of experience. But how will the other CBs do? I like what I've seen from the safeties, but can they get it done? I love that PSU is a dangerous passing team. We shold find out quick where we are at defending the pass.

3. Do the Rodgers brothers look 100%?

Quizz and James are now the leaders on the offense. James needs to become the feature receiver and Quiz needs to pick up where he left off last season. Having both of these guys healthy all year is critical.

What are your biggest concerns? What are you hoping to see against PSU (besides a big win)

On another note, if you haven't already, check out the Oregon State Beavers Online Press Guide. Its less press guide and more multimedia intro to the football team. There's video, audio from Mike Parker's great calls, and tons of info. Its very cool.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

LaGarrett Blount Goes Off the Reservation - What Should the Punishment Be?

LaGarrett Blount actually didn't kick some BSU ass. Just not how we all thought he would.

Here's the end of the Oregon Ducks 19-8 loss to the Boise State Broncos last night:

Watch halfway through. He actually has to be restrained from going into the stands. Wow.

So, what should the punishment be? 1 game? 3 games? 6 games? The season?

That was pretty bad, blatant, and caught on video. If it was merely the punch, chalk it up to one bad decision. Maybe 1-3 games. But tack on the almost going into the stands (REALLY poor judgment) and the fighting with his own players and I have to think it should be at least 5-6 games. Imagine if that Coach wasn't there and he made it into the stands ala Ron Artest? Would that be the season right there? I would hope so. The fact that he REALLY tried to get into the stands has to make the suspension big. He's a menace to society!

What do you think?

Need more evidence? Full coverage here: So Fresh So Clean

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gill Coliseum Paint Photos Update

I stopped by campus this weekend and took a few photos of the front of Gill Coliseum this time.

Gill coliseum paint

Gill coliseum paint

Gill coliseum paint

Gill coliseum paint

I can't wait to see how the logo and other stuff looks!

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