A 2014 Season Wishlist

This is a play off Peter71’s recent “5 Things I Know” post. Here’s five things I’m wishing for the OSU football team this season, in no particular order.

1. Consistent Running Game: There’s no question, the Beavers struggled in the running game last season. But looking deeper, it wasn’t because they weren’t capable of doing so. Just look at the Oregon and Boise State games. The main issue was that the Beavers weren’t able to commit to running the ball when they fell behind. It’s hard for any back to find his rhythm when carries are few in between. So it would be great to see the Beavers able to run the ball more regularly, even if it’s not for big yards right away.

2. Linebackers Stay Healthy: The Beavers have had plenty of good linebackers ever since I became a Beavers fan during the Pettibone era: Jonathan Jackson, Darnell Robinson, Nick Barnett, Trent Bray, Keith Ellison, etc. But Michael Doctor, D.J. Alexander, and Jabral Johnson could be the best starting trio of the bunch — if they can stay healthy. Doctor missed all of last season, and Alexander missed several games as well in 2014. But this unit is fast, athletic, and smart. It could be the Pac-12’s best.

3. Clear-cut Running Back: This relates to the first wish. There’s nothing wrong with having a stable of good, capable running backs, which the Beavers have in Storm Woods, Terron Ward, and Chris Brown. All of them bring different strengths to the table (Woods: Receiving/blocking; Ward: North/South running style; Brown: Speed/explosiveness). But it would be nice to have one of the three emerge as the go-to back. Mike Riley’s offenses have always done best when there’s a workhorse back who is reliable and moves the chains.

4. No Silly Losses: If the Eastern Washington game wasn’t enough, the Washington game surely did the trick in terms of unacceptable “What the Heck” losses last season. Adding insult to injury was that both losses were in Reser Stadium. Simply put, losses such as those can’t happen this season because more people will jump off the bandwagon. And a loss, to say Portland State, would kill this season’s momentum, even among the Orange and Black faithful. This is a big season for Riles and Co. The Beavers need to take care of business in games they should win.

5. Eight Or More Wins: Anything less than 8 wins would be a massive disappointment. Sure, the Beavers have question marks  (OL, WR, Secondary). But they also have one of the top QBs in the country, arguably the best group of TEs in the Pac-12, a talented and experienced defense, and a new energetic offensive coordinator in John Garrett. This is the year for the Beavers to make some noise, because after this season, it doesn’t get any easier. They lose just about every starter on defense this season, not to mention Mannion. So this season could be their window of opportunity to do big things. (RW)

What are five things you wish for the Beavers this season? Share yours in the comments section below.

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