Monthly Archives: February 2014

Beaver Basketball notes from an outsider and casual fan.

Basketball
I am a casual basketball fan, but part of me loves this team that Craig Robinson has. Not because they are dominating, because they have lost  few games they should have won and have had some games where they didn’t show up at all. I don’t love them because I think they are going to go to a big tournament, because they have to win this weekend and then pull a few more games out down the stretch to do it.

I love this team because they play hard and they never quit.

They have had some outings where they did more than poorly, obviously, but they don’t quit. Unfortunately, the fans are not the same way.  I understand all the losing has gotten to many. I also understand the reasons people don’t like the current regime is for a myriad of reasons, some beyond the coaches and players.  The reality is that since 1999, OSU has had 5 seasons of 15 wins or more and Craig Robinson has been responsible for four of them in his five years.  The talent level is better and the facilities are better.  To many outside of the fan base, OSU is in a much better place than they have been since Ralph Miller left.

I understand that a fan base that can still remember a number one ranking in Gill, can still remember week night games getting 10K fans and Conference Championship banners being an annual occurrence, are not super excited about teams winning half their games.

I understand that and understand their vocal disapproving posts online or emails and calls to the Athletic Department.  And that makes the effort on the court that much more impressive.  Because it is coming from them and their competitive natures, and not from accolades.

There is room for improvement,  but the area that doesn’t need improvement is effort.  Fans and writers throw around that term like making shots is as simple as just trying harder.  Effort is coming back when you are down or staying up and weathering the storm of a team coming back.  While many see last nights game against USC as OSU letting the last place team come back on them, I see an OSU team that lost one of its leaders and fought hard to close the door on the surging home team.  Just like I saw from great seats behind the team (thanks CBT Nuggets!)  come out flat against the ducks yet come back and give everything they had to try and win that game.

Both games were not ideal, but quitters lose last night and quitters get blown out a few weeks ago.  OSU is not filled with quitters and they have shown that time and again.  I can back that, I can support that, and I hope they take at least two of the last three, get a tournament win and go to the NIT at worst.  GO BEAVERS!

Basketball Thoughts Continued . . .

Like Peter, I attended Sunday’s Civil War basketball game. He’s already shared some of the same thoughts I had, so I’ll keep this short and sweet.

You can moan all you want about Uncle Phil or how it was funded, but Matthew Knight Arena is breathtaking. It looks and feels like miniature Rose Garden ( I mean Moda Center). I’ve always loved Gill and thought it had this rustic charm thing going for it, but from a recruiting perspective, Matthew Knight Arena blows Gill away.

It’s so modern and fresh-looking. Besides the court itself (I was sitting courtside and never could figure out where the halfcourt line was), it’s very impressive. If I was a recruit, playing in that arena would make me feel like I am in the pros.

But it got me thinking, I’m surprised UO coach Dana Altman hasn’t landed elite prep talent with those facilities. Maybe it goes to show the uphill battle both Oregon schools face when it comes to getting top-level players.

And it’s sad how both schools can’t sell out the Civil War game. Peter’s right, outside of a few spurts here and there, the crowd at Matthew Knight was pretty quiet. Well, I’ll give the students some credit, they were pretty loud, but tame compared to past editions of the Pit Crew.

Now for some quick game thoughts:

Props to the Beavs for not giving up and clawing back to within 2 points. But most teams aren’t going to overcome falling in a hole like the Beavers did. Then again, who expected the Ducks to hit 7 of their first 3-point attempts?

Again, as it has all season, poor defense plagued the Beavers. I think OSU’s offense is good enough to beat anyone in the Pac-12, but their defense negates what can be a pretty potent offense.

Eric Moreland played well, and his offensive performance was nice to see because he had been struggling mightily coming into the Civil War. Still, he passed up a lot high percentage shots after grabbing offensive rebounds. If he just goes straight up he probably would’ve had 8-10 more points or gone to the FT line.

Hallice Cook is going to be a good one, but he tried to do too much at the end of the game and had some terrible TOs. Roberto Nelson should’ve had the ball down the stretch more because he’s the closest thing OSU has to a playmaker and has a knack for hitting big shots.

That said, it’s getting old hearing people complain about Nelson so much. Sure, he might not be a good defensive player, but he is the Pac-12’s leading scorer. Think about it for a minute, where would the Beavers be without his offense. Hopefully, you shuddered. It wouldn’t be pretty.

The bottom line is this was another one of those games that Beavers could’ve won. Another game they just couldn’t get over the hump.

Fi

A few thoughts from this weekend.

I am a blogger.  Not much more and not much less.  I have very few insights into programs and everything I post here is my opinion. I post what I think is true based on what I see and what I hear, but I am not in meetings, at every practice or on the recruiting trail. I don’t know how coaches interact with players, I don’t know what they do behind the scenes in game preparation and I have no real insight into the inner workings of the program.

So when I get on the case of the administration for not promoting expansion as much, I do so as someone that just doesn’t see it. I don’t see the plans or the campaign.  That doesn’t mean that there is not real progress being made and that the administration is blind to the issues.  This mea culpa is not based on some  random epiphany I had, but rather a conversation I had this weekend with Bob DeCarolis.  It was short, in passing, but in a two minute conversation, Bob mentioned how important improvements in facilities were and how that has dominated his job.

He then asked how I was doing and wondered how my own life was going.

I have always liked Bob and when you look around the campus, his footprint will be there for the foreseeable future. From Raising Reser I, to the sports performance center, to the basketball practice facility to the Truax Center, to the new south end-zone of Reser, the book store, the track program, the new track, the soccer facilities, upgrades to Gill, the new boat house and now his work to upgrade the locker rooms and Valley Football center, Bob’s work can be seen across the last two decades and it is impressive.

Unfortunately this is a what have you done for me lately world and the works of yesterday are forgotten the moment the ribbon is cut, at least to the general public.  So onward they must tread, always improving and always building.  So yes, I still think that transparency and promotion of plans can improve. Of course it can!  I just realize that I am not a voice yelling in the desert with no one to hear.  Or that the fans who wan to see action at Reser Stadium in terms of facilities upgrades are waiting on nothing.  Bob knows, Bob understands what the world of College Sports has become and Bob knows what he has to do.

I like Bob, and I think he can get it done, despite what many may think.  I also think that when he eventually retires his legacy, like a vilified president, will soften over time until you can really appreciate the scope of what they did.  I just wish that it was easier to see what was going on for the average Joe so we can try and help out.  And so recruits can visualize the future they are building. I honestly think that Beaver Nation can get behind that.

A few thoughts this weekend II.

Basketball
That was a disappointing game. Despite a crazy stretch of three or four minutes where the ducks went 9-10 from the three point line and seemed to blow out the Beavers, they fought back and worked hard to make it a two point game before a few mistakes late cost them their shot.  There were some mistakes in the game for sure, but there were defensive adjustments as the ducks went 2-12 the rest of the game from the 3 point line, and the Beavers scratched and clawed their way back from a horrid early deficit.  In many ways it mirrored the football Civil War game in the fact that what started as a laugher, turned the Matt Knight Arena crowd into antsy worried and quite fans.

You could hear a pin drop at times in that game, except when I was yelling Go Beavs during their free throw shots.  (like they were quiet for ours).  The only times that place got really rocking was the first ten minutes and when they played Shout. The rest of the time it was a nervous crowd worrying that the ducks were going to blow an epic lead.

I also had the pleasure of sitting by some of the coaches Wives and seeing the coaches work with the players.  What I heard was about an ego free coaching environment, a group of coaches that worked hard for the players and for the game and saw a bunch of coaches working with their players when they came off the court.  Basically the opposite of what i was lead to believe was the case be reading message boards and listening to more ardent hoops fans.   In talking to people around me, the coaches love being there, are hopeful and know that they have a tough job.  They like working together and they try to get the most of who they have.   The results have not been there, and ultimately that will decide the fate of the staff.  But the people in the program love it and the players go to war for each other.  We can be upset about losses, obviously, and there is a lot of work left to make this a tournament team, but in the conversations I had, the staff for hoops sounded a lot more like Mike Riley and his staff than I had been lead to believe.

So the lesson of this weekend is this:

Try and talk to people in the program if you can.  Get a realistic idea of what is there and what they are doing. I write about what I see, but that is limited unless I go in and chat with people.  My knowledge is limited unless I spend more time there.  For a lot of fans, that is not an option, so people like the media and other fans like me need to do the same.  If you are reading this for factual information and insight, then I need to make sure that I take every step to provide that.  If you are reading it to count my typos or read funny jokes, then I need to make sure I stop spell checking and actually have amusing things to say. Regardless, I had a slight paradigm shift this weekend and it was much needed and appreciated.

Thank you to the hoops team for always fighting and always trying to win, even when the odds are not there. I can complain about individual things or why a charge on our end is a block on theirs, but ultimately, I cannot be anything but proud of the way you all fought and gave everything you had to win that game.

Good luck getting back on track this week!  And as always, Go Beavs!

 

Where do we go from here?

As I prepare to take in the Civil War basketball game tomorrow, I find myself thinking about this coming spring for Oregon State. Below are a few quick thoughts:

1. Basketball
I am not a very knowledgeable basketball fan. Growing up tin the 80’s and 90’s, I saw a ton of games at Gill, but as a very, very poor player, I just enjoyed rooting for the Beavers and the excitement that went with the game.  If the Beavers can win this game, and they need to, with at least two winnable games left and a win or two in the tournament, OSU could finish with a record strong enough to get an NIT bid.

An NIT bid would be positive Momentum, and because of is importance to any program, Momentum is always capitalized.

2. Baseball
Life is good for OSU Baseball.  They have another strong team and a hefty #2 ranking to live up to.  A slowish start (4-3 win) on Friday lead to a a big win today against Nebraska.  Oregon State baseball has a way of making its own Momentum because success breads success.  You are not always going to be amazing, or win a National Championship, but the biggest thing that the success the baseball team has given every year is hope.  Hope that this could be the year that they go all the way.  Faith in Casey that as long as he is on the job, Oregon State Baseball will win far more than they lose.

Baseball has me glued to my radio every Friday and Saturday like I live in the Golden Age of Radio listening to The Shadow.

3. Football
With the retention of Coach Cav, the hiring of John Garrett, the close loss in the Civil War and the big win against BSU, I feel like there is a modicum of Momentum around football. It feels like around those three sports there is potential for changes for the positive.  Many will dismiss my gut feelings as Orange Colored Glasses, but with the changes to the staff, the changes in philosophy on defense, the flood of talented incoming transfers OSU Football is making a big push.  When you have a quarterback like Sean Mannion and you have to hire an OC, you hire the guy that is going to push him to new heights.  I believe that is the hope they have with Garrett and we will see if it works out.

Right now I feel a lot of Momentum building at OSU, and a win tomorrow would give Basketball its first sweep of the ducks in hoops for a long time, and there is reason to look forward to this football season.  We will know right off the bat if this team is going to take a step forward when they take on Portland State.  When you have lost two openers against 1-AA opponents in the last three years, so a win there is a good start.

Thanks for staying Cav!

This week was a rough one for Peter71.  The flirtation that Beaver offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh had with Oklahoma State was a rough few days of speculation for this guy (I am pointing at myself with both thumbs). The reality is that I think Coach Cav is an exceptional coach and an exceptional recruiter.  It is hard to replace a quality coach that gets solid results from their players.  While many look at this year and wonder what happened to the running game, OSU rushed for 1500 yards the season before even amidst multiple running back injuries.  2013 was a down year, but ended strong as the offensive line was able to create holes and the defense did their job so that running the ball remained a viable option.

The 2010 – 2012 teams showcased one or two NFL caliber linemen, the recruiting efforts since 2012 have put four or five potential draft picks on the line including Isaac Seumalo, Sean Harlow, Gavin Andrews and Grant Weinreich (though the latter has struggled with injuries).  He also was able to develop undersized linemen Mike Remmers and Grant Enger to be quality starters and while Remmers is on an NFL roster, Enger has a great chance to find his way on a team this year as well.

Lets not forget the work Cav did in 2006-2008 through a myriad of injuries at key times of the season, including wins over number one ranked USC with then Redshirt Freshman Mike Remmers blocking.  His work preparing Mitchell, Sapolu and Bays to come in this year and keep OSU on the winning track even though none of them had any starts to their names is largely unheralded yet amazing.

OSU has had its issues on the line in recent years, and two straight poor recruiting classes (2010 and 2011) as well as multiple players leaving for various reasons (hip injuries, concussions, transferring, desire to pursue other endeavors) left Cav without many options.  In some cases, without a full two squads of linemen.  In 2010  and 2011 he started only 1 three star (according to Rivals) linemen and had as many as three walk-ons playing.  Not to diminish their contributions since one of those walk-ons is on an NFL roster, but there is no denying that depth was an issue.  2012 saw the starting of three three star and two four star linemen, and the results was a 9 win campaign, even with injuries at quarterback and running back.   With three straight quality recruiting classes (2012 – 2014) Mike has given himself far more to work with on the line.

Mostly though, as a frequent practice attendee, I really appreciate Cav’s fire and the way his players respond to him.  Every one of them as they have gone off, some to the NFL, some to coaching, always talks about the love and respect they have for Mike Cavanaugh. As we dive full speed ahead into 2014 and recruiting picks up again, being able to keep Coach Cav  is a huge deal.  Life goes one when coaches leave, but sometimes it is nice to have one of your better recruiters and teachers choose to stay for another year at least.

Coaching Carosel

Just following the Beavers’ win over Boise State, many people on message boards or simple conversation were wondering what Mike Riley would do to ‘fix’ some of the issues that were displayed this season.  In August I really felt that this team had a shot at the Rose Bowl. I thought that the offensive line would be stellar and that all the weapons they had on offense and the plethora of great defensive players would make the difference between the 9 win season the year before and an 11 win season this year.

Of course in the back of my mind, I did think that injuries could really effect the team. Injuries to the offensive line, at linebacker and receiver/tight end were not ideal.  So what started in the summer as a historic campaign, ended with some upside, but a lot of questions and hard to watch moments.

If you asked me at the end of the season what I would change to improve next year, it would have been letting Bruce Read go and re-assigning Danny Langsdorf.  The thing is, since that point I have really thought about Bruce and Danny and tried to think about their impact on the team objectively.  Danny works well with the quarterbacks and did a great job calling the Civil War and bowl game.  I am not sure he was the best recruiter, but I cannot argue with his results from the QB position.

Bruce also has done some good things in his tenure as coach, and there are some reasons that he has seen the decline of return teams that are out of his control.  The changes to the rules, the changes in personnel and the loss of some great returners and blockers has made returning the ball a little more difficult, but other coaches have found ways around that, and to be honest, his recruiting is not stellar.

Now, a few short weeks later, we will see how smart, or dumb, i was as we are faced with life post Danny Langsdorf.  Hopefully Mike Riley makes a great hire, but just like the backup is the best player on the team until they come in and prove why they were not starting, the coach you don’t know is not always better than the coach you do know.

Today, I found out the OSU’s offensive line coach, Coach Cav, is interviewing for a similar position at Oklahoma State.  Mike Cavanaugh is not only a great coach, but he is also a great recruiter and great ambassador of the program.  Should he leave, that would be a big blow, and in my mind a tough coach to replace.  His players love him and he gets results.  The Andy Lebitre’s, Kyle Devan’s and Mike Remmers’ of the world all have found their way into the NFL from very different starts under Coach Cav.  Not to mention the plethora of NFL linemen that he has recruited and have yet to fulfill their time at Oregon State.

So as we look and see what happens with Cav and how Mike Riley replaced Danny Langsdorf, I am left with more questions than answers.  Football is a game of inches, whether it be the few inches short of a first down in a Civil War, or the one or two players that are the difference between 9 wins and just 7.  Or, in this case, the coach or two that are the tipping point between becoming a contender or falling to pretender.

The future is scary and the same group of coaches that many were saying were not good because no one was stealing them are all the sudden getting stolen.  What remains will be as big a part of Mike Riley’s evolution as the coach of the Beavers as when Paul Chryst left and Mike chose to bring Danny in.  Looking at the hires Mike made at the beginning of his second stint at OSU and the hires he has made since, I feel he has a better vision on the type of coach he needs to bring in. Or two coaches as the case may be.

So now we wait and see who walks along the sidelines this spring, and if there are any other dominoes yet to fall.  Continuity if staff was sold to recruits and in some cases lamented by fans.  That will no longer be the same after this year, and for Oregon State’s sake, I hope the hire is more in line with the hiring of Coach Cav or Coach Brennan than it is with the hiring of Coach Ungerer.

LOI Day, So Awesome!

Every year there is a new batch of Beaver recruits and every year, through 365 days of ups, downs, poaches and pressure, a couple dozen football players make their way to Corvallis to play football.

While this year’s class is not going to be nationally heralded as the foundation for a powerhouse program, there are a few players that I think remind me of names we all want to see playing for Oregon State:

Drew Clarkson {OL | 6’3” | 275, Camas High School, Camas, WA)
To those familiar with Oregon State linemen, the guy that Drew reminds me the most of is Adam Speer.  A great technician and tenacious blocker, Drew is a great addition to Beaver Nation whose story of surviving cancer and amazing play on the field not just for his team but in he all star game and camp appearances shows that Drew is a legit prospect for Oregon State.

Datrin Guyton (WR | 6’4| 180, Manor High School ,Manor, TX)
Datrin is a steal and someone that the state of Texas hated to see go.  Fortunately for OSU, they were late to the party and Guyton stuck with his initial commitment.  Guyton physically is not like many Beaver Receivers in that he is  a large, long and fast target.  Guyton reminds me more of the big receivers that USC had playing for them in the Pete Carroll era than historic Oregon State receivers.  That being said, the guy that i think he reminds me most of in terms of a player is TJ Houshmanzadeh.  While physically much larger, he has the ability to get open, create separation with solid route running and really goes after the ball.

The state of Texas is going to be sad that they didn’t pay more attention to Datrin early in the process. He is a literally and figuratively huge pick up for Oregon State.

Jonathan Willis (LB | 6’2″ | 210, Booker T. Washington High School, Tulsa OK)
Willis is a CLONE of DJ Alexander.  Fast, explosive, nasty and all over the place making plays.  For those that don’t feel that Oregon State landed many cornerstone players, I point to WIllis.  Seeing the difference DJ makes every day should get kids excited about Willis.  He is fast, 4.4 40-yard dash fast and has good vision.  I look for Jonathan to push for playing time on special teams out of the gate and can add talent to an already talented and deep Linebacker group.  Oklahoma will also mourn his exodus from the panhandle state.

Xavier Hawkins (WR | 5’8” | 175, Fulton High School, Knoxville, TN )
I saved him for last because I really think he might be someone that makes the whole state of Tennessee puke on themselves for not seeing at Vandy or with the Volunteers.  Here is a link to his film on Hudl.  His 37 touchdowns and explosive running style coupled with his great balance and vision brings to mind Quizz Rodgers.  I don’t throw around these Beaver great names lightly.  That is a lot of pressure to put on someone, but in my mind, watching Hawkins is like watching Darren Sproles or Dexter McCluster.  Throw in the fact that he played at a small school, isn’t a huge guy and not on a lot of radars, and I think ti is fine to compare him to Quizz, even though he is a receiver and not a running back.  I would compare him to James, but i think his running style is more like Quizz.

Regardless, these three guys are huge reasons that I am excited about this class.  If they can figure out the system and get bigger and faster in their training at OSU, there is no reason that they cannot be huge factors for the Beavers at some point in the next five years.

Post Superbowl Thoughts

Well, as a 1990’s-esque Superbowl blowout is in the books, here are a few thoughts i had about the game, the NFL and Bruno Mars.

1. The Game:
For me, as a Seahawks fan and former Seahawks employee, I was so happy for that organization for the win. Lots of great people there, and I am happy for Paul Allen.  Paul has done a lot of things that are amazing for the Seattle area and Northwest in general.  He is also a great guitar player and lover of music.

The part of the game that I am not happy with is the laziness of the media in terms of Peyton Manning.  Peyton is one of, if not the best quarterbacks in the history of the game.  Watching his linemen get knocked back into him play after play, seeing him have to get rid of the ball in two seconds or less, knowing they couldn’t throw the ball down field because there was no time and seeing the blanket coverage of his receivers shows that no quarterback in the conference could have done better.  To think that this loss diminishes his legacy is silly.  You want to know what Peyton’s legacy is?  Look at Indianapolis after he left.  Look at how he has taken average teams with terrible defenses to the Super Bowl.  Look at how a single drop by Pierre Garcon or an onside kick are keeping him from being a two time Super Bowl champ.

Just throwing this on Peyton is silly.  Like his famous predecessor John Elway, Peyton has taken teams that wouldn’t even be in the playoffs and put them in the biggest stages in the game.

So bravo Seattle, you are the best team in the NFL, and by a pretty nice margin.  Boo media, for taking a team game and throwing it on the shoulders of one guy.  Guess who snapped the ball in the endzone on the first play?  Not Peyton.

2. The NFL
I was listening to the Dan Patrick Show this morning, and they talked about the rumors of  potential rule changes that would not allow tackling around the knees and eliminating the extra point.  With all of the rules around spearing and protecting players from concussions, defenses are aiming lower and lower when tackling players.  I don’t really care much about the rule.  At some point you are choosing to play a violent game and you know the risks. If they pass the rule,  fine, scoring records will be rewritten. If they don’t, fine, ACL injuries will happen from time to time.

What bothers me about this topic, and the topic is the lip service given to protecting players.  To eliminate the extra point or low hits, and then propose a whole additional game in the playoffs or an 18 game season is counter intuitive to protecting players.  Want to protect players? Go to a 10 minute quarter.  Allow ties and eliminate overtime.  Take away pads and helmets and see how people choose to tackle and block.  The end of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid would have been less impressive if they were wearing Iron Man armor.

If you are really concerned with protecting players, do things that protect them.  Yeah, I know Gronkowski got injured on an extra point.  Name one other marquee player that has done the same?  But i know the Superbowl would have been less exciting if Percy Harvin couldn’t play because of his concussion. Giving a strike zone for tackling, shortening the season, shortening games, eliminating practices and capping the number of games a player can play before they are forced into retirement are things that will protect players.  But none of those are on the table and no one wants those.  All the other items are just ways to score more points and eliminate pointless parts of the game.  Saying it protects players from injury is just for lawyers and perception.  If you are going to make it harder to tackle and then add games, you don’t give a crap about injuries. You just want more points, more excitement, more games and, ultimately, more money.

3. Bruno Mars:
As a kid, I spent a few summers in Detroit with my Dad.  In that time, I listened to a lot of blues (Superman by B.B. King was on perpetual play) and we watched a lot of Soul Train.  My older brothers listened to two things.  Metal and Soul.  If they were hanging out with guys or driving, Priest and Maiden were their bands of choice.  If a girl was over?  James Brown, Marvin Gaye and Al Green were on the record player.   So I had a lot of exposure, for a kid growing up in Corvallis Oregon, to the magic of R&B and Soul.

For me, watching Bruno Mars was like watching Smokey Robinson or James Brown.  His band was exciting, his songs were catchy, they put on a performance in a style  I have always adored. I have always liked Bruno, from a distance.  I never change the station when one of his songs come on and I love how musical his music really is.  It is not produced, it is crafted.  So watching him at half time was a real treat for me.  While his songs are current, his presentation is throw back to a style of music that shaped my childhood.  Lots of people will point to The Beatles as the soundtrack of their youth. To me, it was Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five and Smokey Robinson.

Oh and Priest, Rush, Maiden and Van Halen, but there is always room for quality Soul music in the Peter71 playlist.

As one final note, BRAVO to the Fox sound people. The half time show sounded like a live concert video and the whole audio experience of the Superbowl was notably superior to anything i have heard in the past. Not something that gets a lot of press, but think back to Bruce Springsteen and The Who and you will find that the audio was really lacking.  Not the music, but the actual sound production. Fox Sports nailed it this year and I loved it.

Why I want 11 Dylan Wynn’s on the field.

As Scott Crichton departs for the NFL, the void that any top draft choice in the NFL leaves always creates a sense of worry for Beaver Nation.  The unknown is always hard to picture when you think about the upcoming year and there isn’t an obvious heir apparent ‘Sack Master’ amidst the players that are returning.  Now I would suggest that people wait and see how things shake out and watch for players like Joshwa James.He is going to make a huge impact this year.

What never gets mentioned but that I would suggest is this:  We should be celebrating that Dylan Wynn is coming back.

Dylan has been the leader in tackles for the defensive line the last two years and is a fumble recovering machine.  The reason? He always knows where to be.  Most people, when honestly evaluating Dylan, probably just see him as a high motor kid that is a step slow to be a sack specialist.  it is the same way many fans viewed Kevin Frahm when he played.  That totally ignores the entirety of what a player like Dylan brings to the team.  It is not by accident that Dylan is always around the play to pick up fumbles or make tackles. it is not a mystery why he is in EVERY time they need a stop or are in the red zone. It is not a fluke that he lines up at defensive tackle when they need to lock down the interior while getting to the QB.

Dylan is exceedingly physical and definitely a high motor guy, but he also has amazing instincts.  He knows what plays are being called, what the offense is trying to do and knows what his responsibility is.  Watch Dylan before plays calling out what the offense is going to do or alerting the team of a change in personnel.  Or look at misdirection plays where you see so many players chasing phantoms, but Dylan is peeling back in hot pursuit of the person who has the ball.  Dylan takes on lead blockers and blows them up so that others can make the play.

In short, a team full of Dylan Wynn’s would not  be a bad thing.

Watching the defense for the Seahawks dismantle the Broncos reminded me of Dylan. Players knew where to be and were so physical with their offensive counterparts that they couldn’t stop them.  The key is, though, that they used their physical tools intelligently.  With so many spread option or fast tempo teams in the Pac 12 these days, players like Dylan are a rarity because they are not easily fooled.  Wynn is coach-able and has great vision for a guy who generally has his hand on the ground.

So as we close on the recruiting cycle, I really hope that guys like Sumner HoustonRyan Nall and Jonathan Willis are not just physically able to make a difference, but are as similar in mentality and football IQ to Dylan as possible.  Beaver Nation will have plenty to cheer about over the next few years if that is the case.