The Official Candy Report: Stanford

Guess what I don’t want to write today? This report.

Sure. the blog is named after it, but honestly, I have nothing to say. There is a lot of anger and disappointment that is too common these days in Beaver Nation. While the reality is that OSU needs a lot of changes to be an elite team, there is not a lot they can do now for that. As this year goes on, it still has the potential to be a decent year. 7 – 8 wins with a bowl game. The problem is, on a team with arguably the best quarterback in the history of the school, a slew of experienced defenders and the best tight end duo in OSU history, as well as experience on the line and in the backfield, the bar should be higher.

For this to happen, the coaches at OSU need to do something different. I am not a huge proponent of going straight spread option and abandoning what many defensive coordinators think is the best vertical passing game in the conference. What I suggest is this:

Create offensive options that work in less than optimum conditions.

We have the fly sweep, but really, we rarely use it to improve other plays. We have had some success running counters off fly sweep motion, but how about a bootleg? How about the option? What about going to Wildcat with it and put one of your less experienced receivers out there like Hawkins at QB? Or Dockery? How about doing what Cal does and have one of your faster quarterbacks like McMaryion or Mitchell work on a small package with spread option plays. Or a roll out package or whatever you can do to move the ball when things are not going right. Just because something looks open in the booth, doesn’t mean you can block for it.

OSU has payed the three most difficult defenses in the conference by far. They now have the five best offenses left. The Beavers should move the ball better in the coming weeks, assuming they have any healthy linemen left. Now it is up to their defense, who should be getting Grimble back soon. Hopefully that is enough to get a few more wins out. Unfortunately, a few more wins is not the ceiling of the program, the university or this team. This team has more in it and could be looking at two losses or less right now. I do not believe that the coaches are getting the most out of what they have, and that is the difficult part of this whole ordeal. This is not the best this team could be and that is on the coaches.

So if it means at the end of the year they shuffle coaches, bring in consultants or clean house a bit, it has to start with Riley and he has to be willing to do what it takes, even if that is stepping back and letting other people take over huge portions of the team. Because OSU will most likely never be able to pull in top 10 recruiting classes, so they better be able to get the most out of what they have. I felt OSU did that very well six or seven years ago. I have lost that feeling today.

This can still mathematically be a 9 win team, but I am not sure anyone feels like it will be. Every time I doubt the coaches they prove me wrong, so lets see if they can do it. It starts with Cal but carries on to the rest of the year.

Regardless, I will root for the players and the coaches and I will continue to be a Beaver fan, but the warts in the program are too obvious for even a Beaver-aide drinker like me to ignore. I hope when the season is over, someone at OSU makes the call to bring about new ideas and new changes to this program, and I hope it is Mike Riley himself.


5 thoughts on “The Official Candy Report: Stanford

  1. Craig Meyer

    Hi Peter. Aliotti disagrees with your view of our verticality. He said in an interview yesterday that it was the lack of a vertical game that was killing the offense. In thinking about it, I don’t think he means the occasional fifty harder we get. It’s really the lack of the more consistent 17 yard pass play. Two reasons for this: our young receiver corps, especially now that Mullaney is out and the loss of the tight ends in medium pass routes. The TE group has been thinned out and they are far too often, now, forced to stay in and protect Mannion. If that can get that part of their vertical game going again it would really help. More first downs.

    1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      Well, I know for a fact he was just talking about this year and not in terms of their system. I believe Nick has a lot of respect for Mike’s passing game and the system they run.

      They have no vertical passing game right now because guys are not getting open and plays are taking too long to develop, making it hard to keep Mannion upright. I agree 100% on the first down deal. We need to embrace short plays when short plays are all that is needed. We need to attack the outside when the inside is stacked and we need go to plays when you need eight or ten yards.

      I honestly don’t think OSU knows what to call from play to play because there is no flow and there is no direction to it.

      But the system itself, vertically, is very good and teams hate playing it when the Beavers can get separation and make catches.

      1. Craig Meyer

        No arguments there. In fact, that 12 – 17 yard game with a few YAC yards tacked on has been the backbone of the offense for several years. We always had at least one good possession receiver, be he a slotback or a tight end, to make those plays. This year it is lacking. Still hope for it, though, with a couple of the young guys coming on.

      2. Building the Dam (@BuildingTheDam)

        Part of the problem right now was illustrated by a play at Stanford where the Beavers sent 2 verticals. But one was on the left boundary, and the Cardinal was able to cover that singled with no safety help, because with the current protection problems, there was no time, and no chance, that Sean was ever going to get that far in the progressions before running out of time. That allowed an LB to take the TE, who wasn’t going anywhere, and the safeties to bracket the other Oregon St. vertical, which was on the right seam, which prevented him from getting open.

        The WR on the right boundary hooked at the LOS, but the Stanford CB could afford to play off because it was second and 20, due to a sack the previous play, so the one safety didn’t need to consider the CB losing the WR, and was able to play into the bracket.

        So even though there were 2 verticals, there effectively was only 1, and Stanford was able to get away with bracket coverage on a vertical vs. 3 WRs, 2 in vertical, without going nickel, which also allowed a blitz, since they had full LB compliment.

        Right now, Oregon St. has to either send 3 verticals, which essentially means no check down if the TE has to block, OR send 2 on the same side (opp can bracket both with 3 dbs), OR send both on seams (again, opp can bracket both with 3 dbs), OR send the left seam and right boundary, which probably means the right seam has to cross the middle, which puts a LOT of defenders in the vicinity of the only available check down.

        The options are definitely limited in the vertical game if you can’t sustain blocks.

  2. blowcheese

    Moving on to Cal….

    Why is it such a crazy idea to have a plan for Del Rio if Mannion gets off to a bad start in this game?

    I am not trying to put the O problems all on Mannion but have we reached a point where the guy has no confidence in the plays he is running? Sean is not a swagger guy, i take that but now i see a QB who really looks tentative and is PLAYING tentative. Late throws, inaccurate throws, off the back foot. No decisiveness.
    Is it possible the team would react to a qb with better body language? What is there to lose? If we do not score a touchdown in the first two possessions Cal is going to get it going, trust me. The defense has been able to make stops this year but not all game long. If the offense doesn’t get it in the end zone with regularity this will be a nervous time for the home crowd. If you are Riley how long do you wait until you make a change? If Beavs are losing this thing at halftime Mannion is going to have double the pressure, (from the defense AND the crowd). Guess we will see what he is made of then.


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