The final of my ‘Things’ posts is a game day special. As we are just a few hours away from kickoff, there are some things I hope about this season, one of which might change OSU football for the foreseeable future.
THINGS I HOPE WILL HAPPEN
1. Coach Garrett will be our Chip Kelly:
Those of you that are unfortunate enough to read my posts on Rivals and Pure-Orange will no doubt have heard me rail against Chip Kelly. Before anyone thinks I am back tracking on my thoughts about him here is where I stand:
1. The ducks were a good team and getting better before Chip got there.
2. Chip is a great offensive mind and was the final ingredient to them taking the next step (along with a grip load of cash and facilities)
3. Once USC came off sanctions, the ducks came under inveAQstigation for recruiting violations and the Pac-12 came to fruition, the competition for players and coaching talent in the conference (as well as the adoption of similar offenses around the conference) helped Chip make the decision to go to the NFL. (that and a grip load of cash)
Chip is a great coach and he was obviously exactly what the ducks needed. l really hope that the same can be said for Coach Garrett. While he is not bringing a whole new philosophy of offense or massive changes to their system, he is bringing something that OSU has sorely needed. Attention to detail. The amount of practice dedicated to technique, to doing things perfectly, to execution and to efficiency in motion/play calling/technique are all things that OSU needs.
How many games have we seen that were close before an offsides call or a fumble or getting a play in late or not calling a time out or too many players in a huddle or whatever killed an important drive. Those mistakes have nothing to do with a player throwing, catching, running, blocking or tackling but have everything to do with efficiency and attention to detail. The other item that I have seen Garrett harp on is perfecting your technique, whether it is getting belly to belly with the guy you are blocking, finishing runs or splitting two tacklers, holding the ball under your chin to avoid fumbles or just constant repetition until the players have perfected that skill shows what Garrett’s true talent may be.
I don’t expect him to call plays, but I do expect the offense to look much more efficient, to be held to a higher standard and for an obvious change in how they do things.
In that way, I think he could be OSU’s Chip Kelly. He could be the guy that comes in and fills the biggest void they have and gets the Beavers to the next level. Recruiting will be the big long term aspect if his job that he needs to perfect, but if he can be a good voice in the ear of players and get them thinking huge NFL sized goals playing for an NFL prep school, recruiting excellence could come soon as well.
So I hope, really hope, that we see this on the field today. That we see players finish and just a sense of urgency and perfection in what they are doing. Today will probably be pretty rough at spots, just like everyone in their first game, but if they improve every week, which is the goal, then a noticeable upgrade in execution over last year will be a huge start.
2. A Raised Bar:
The OSU Athletic Department have recently announced their plans to upgrade the Valley Football Center this winter after the football season is over. They have also talked about plans to address in some manner or another the west side of Reser Stadium. What that West Side looks like is up to two things:
a. How the football team does this year (specifically winning the Civil War)
b. How we in Beaver Nation respond
This year is a huge turning point year. Next year OSU replaces most of their team, a common theme in the conference, and if they are in rebuilding mode, then it will be far more palatable following a Civil War victory and maybe a fun trip to Pasadena. Regardless, Beaver Nation and OSU needs to set the bar higher because across the country it is being raised for them. I am a huge Mike Riley supporter and probably drink a bit too much of the Riles-Kool-Aid. That being said, the trip down the conference rankings is a quick and steep one and a sub par year can jeopardize all that has been built so far and can make the changes needed to continue to grow much more difficult.
If OSU is barely .500 to end the season, and if they are not recruiting better than the previous year, there is no more waiting. Changes have to happen and I hope that just as we have seen with Coach Tinkle, that positive changes are met with a positive response from Beaver Nation. Even if that change is Riley winning 11 games. I know that many in OSU are tired of the same thing after 14 years. I know many are critical of Mike for things that are his fault and many that are not. That being said, if he can turn things around, if Garrett is a huge boost, if Banker and his staff can turn the most experienced and talented defense they have had in years upon years into a dominant force, then we need to see a huge jump in support from the Beaver faithful. If it is going to happen, this year is the year and today is the first day of this trek.
If not, then there needs to be adjustments and they probably need to be very large.
Regardless, whether it is winning now or change to win later, it is up to Beaver Nation to up their bar, to give a bit more than they do now, to respond to the athletic department saying the only direction any program can go is up. If the Athletic Department does this, then Beaver Nation would be pretty pathetic to not follow suit. We love to complain about shortcomings and mistakes but when we need to respond to positive change, we need to step up or our complaints are meaningless.
In the same vein, if the athletic department doesn’t up the standards, whether through change or through rewarding the coaches we have for taking a big step, then Beaver Nation may need to send another message. We will respond to the athletic departments vision and direction. If we don’t see any, we cannot be expected to push ourselves to act/give. In the immortal words of that 80’s PSA drug use commercial, “I learned it by watching you.”
Today is the first day of the Future of OSU Football. It is he first day of the Garrett era at OSU and it is the best opportunity the Beavers have had to win the Rose Bowl in five years. Lets see it on the field, lets see it in the stands and lets hopefully celebrate the next step in OSU’s conscious decision to pursue excellence on the field.