A Few Thoughts

1. I thought that the defense was going to really struggle this weekend.  Partly because they were playing a very good offense with an up and coming, athletic QB. I also was concerned about a post USC letdown.  The defense was on the field most of the second half against USC and they sustained a few major injuries to the defensive line.

Outside of a miserable 2nd quarter, the defense contained a very stout Colorado offense.  The Beavers also managed to take out two of their major weapons, being the feet of their QB and their top receiver. I thought that the defense looked very good most of the time for a second road game in a crazy altitude following a very tough game the week before. I think about how OSU played USC last year, following a tough loss to Stanford that left them with some key injuries and just looking worn out.

There were obviously rough patches, and they need to get more pressure with their three rushers if they are going to go to a three man front, but the defense did far better than I expected and give me a lot of hope for what they can do with a week and a half to work with and rest. I have felt all season that this is one of the better defenses in the conference, and nothing I have seen has proved me wrong yet.  Even in a week where I thought they might dip a bit, they held strong and got huge stops when needed.

2. After railing on Riley all week, I feel like he did a great job.  Just like I didn’t want to overreact to one loss, I am not going to think everything is fine after one win. What I did really like was some very interesting calls. While my family got rapidly less enamored with me clamoring for fly sweep calls, I was pleasantly surprised and really happy to see Mike call one on their last drive.  While Bolden should have committed more to his path on it, the great thing about that call was that everyone knew the Beavers were trying to eat up clock and the defense was stacked on the inside.  There was som missed blocks on the outside and probably a better option on where to cut by the runner, but that play will pay dividends all season long because it means that OSU is willing to run or fake a fly sweep in clock wear down times.  It means defenses have to cover the whole width of the field.

Everything OSU does sends ripples.  You never know what is going to stick in someone’s mind when they are watching film, and you never know when that item is going to make them choose the wrong thing when faced with that choice.  By opening up the playbook, by trusting his line and his team to run a play deep in their own territory, Mike signaled to teams that they need to be ready for more of his playbook than just an inside stretch run play.

3. Watching the Pac-12, I have come to three conclusions. 1. There are no great teams in the conference.  2. There are very few good defenses.  3. There is stupid football being played.

There is no coincidence that while the conference is mired in 1-1 conference records, that the teams that are faring the best are the teams that have solid defenses.  UCLA, Utah, Stanford, USC and OSU all have probably the best defenses in the conference.  Teams like Cal, WSU, UW, the ducks, UA and Colorado basically would probably  do as well laying down on defense as they do standing up. ASU is just kind of in the middle.

On the flip side, you have amazing numbers being put up by offenses like WSU, Colorado, Arizona, the ducks and Cal, while the more pedestrian Stanford, UCLA, USC and Oregon State are forced to play smart and keep their defenses fresh.  And ASU is somewhere in the middle.  The problem with the fast paced offenses is, outside of Arizona and the duck, they are by and large the worst teams in the conference. That is not to say they are not scary, but they are not able to find ways to win because their defense will always be on the field longer, and their offense cannot burn clock.

Much like WSU was unable to win against Cal, despite throwing for over 700 yards, because their team cannot stop anyone on defense or special teams.  Or Cal, throwing away a victory over Arizona by giving up 36 points in the fourth quarter. These teams without balance have a hard time closing out games.  We saw it at USC in a negative way and in a positive way against Colorado. OSU has the tools to do very well this year because they can maintain a lead with the run and can also get stops when they need them.   With a bye week this week and a chance to get a lot of players healthy, as well as only having two away games the rest of the season, the Beavers look like a team that can do some damage in the most equally matched conference in America.  A good defense and a balanced offense is going to be the key to victory this year.

As we continue on the second quarter of the season, OSU has a lot to be excited about.

2 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts

  1. GoBeavs77

    I thought Riley called a good game. It was still fairly predictable–other than the wrinkles you mentioned. I hope he continues to stay committed to the run. I think USC would have been a different animal had he stuck to his guns. As you said, a balanced attack with a strong defense can win a lot of games in this conference.

  2. blowcheese

    Excellent topics. Yes, D was soft in the second quarter and didn’t close out Colorado until the very last series, with some help from the clock and some dropped passes. Over all this was the minimum performance Blowcheese expected of a d fresh off a bye and with time to prepare. Beavs were a solid favorite playing a desperate team in their house at altitude in 80 degree temps. With the crazy Pac 12 this year i guess the crazy thing is this was NOT an upset.
    Just as Colorado Coach Mike Mac’n’Cryer was going ballistic on the sideline i had the feeling i had seen this before (and not just back at Hawaii when Cranky Old Norm Chow had several aneurysms trying to mean mug the officials to death). What we don’t have is coaches that are especially innovative or unstubborn. What we do have is coaches who have been to the fucking rodeo before and know if they let the clown(s) do their job eventually the bull gets back in the barn (or the locker room or wherever he goes for his postgame). It’s because the bull wants to go there and the best thing a clown or bullrider can do is keep that beast in front of him every second and do no run down your sideline screaming at players for dropping passes or not getting out of bounds like a damned fool.
    Riley wins a lot of close games because:
    A. Many games are close that should not be so he gets good at winning close games against inferior opps.
    B. Beavs favor the experienced player over the more talented younger player
    C. Beavs generally let the other team make the mistake and panic at the end. If the other team does not panic and keeps their head beavs are in trouble but football is controlled chaos and it’s not that easy to avoid having all 11 guys not be jackasses. Wiki Washington, Tony.
    D. Banker is not a genius but he is not the stupidest man around. If Beavs have a two score lead with under 10 minutes watch the beav D play soft at the corner and not blitz so much and allow the other team to drive the length of the field and watch beav D NOT allow any quick scores.
    E. Turnover Ratio is King Stat in College Football. Always. Hey Beavs +1. Hey Beavs Win! No this is not just the luck of the Seanion int blown call. This is also coaching ball protection, play calling some run balance so you don’t have to throw it every time, its playing conservative at the right time against a bad team that doesn’t know success and will eventually choke.

    So yes Peter is EXACTLY right closing out teams is a better thing than being spectacular. If you can run the ball a little you dont have to throw for almost 1000 yards in a night (only exaggerating by 270 yards) to win the fucking game.


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