This weekend I had to watch the Beaver game at home. I had my parents, my in-laws, and my two young daughters around me — as my wife was out of town. In deference to my children, I had to refrain from using the language I really wanted to. In keeping with my mandated “cool off time” prior to writing a post, I needed to make sure that I was objective.
Because there was plenty to object to.
Now before I begin, I really want to make sure that people realize that my complaints are very clearly split. I do not blame the players. The players played hard and did what they needed to win for the most part. While players make mistakes, drops, are out of position, or just physically fail, the reality is that if they are making the same mistakes, look disorganized, or confused, that is on the coaches.
I am one of the few people I know who has no problem with what coaches are paid, because honestly, the expectations placed on them are incredibly high. I have always been a fan of Mike Riley, have always liked the way he runs things, the people he surrounds himself with, and the perks of being a Beavers fan with Mike at the helm, such as open practices and access to the team at an unprecedented level in today’s college football environment.
But Saturday was the last straw for me. It is not the players, they are great. It is the coaching. Running plays to sides you are outnumbered in without making an adjustment, running a defense that has your players so far away from the offensive players that they cannot be expected to make stops even on short yardage, poor angles, inability to handle twist stunts, lack of a commitment to running the ball even though your defense is struggling, etc. These are not little things. To hear comments such as OSU’s plan was to throw all day on WSU is not a huge issue to me, until it becomes obvious that your defense is struggling. Then you need to keep that WSU offense off the field.
Beyond those items, my biggest beef is that I cannot bring myself to care anymore. I hear a lot of people saying, “Well, maybe I should just stop caring so much.” That is the LAST thing that can happen. We might burn through two or three coaches before we get a winner again, but when a regime has a fan base whose only recourse is to stop caring, it is time to make a change. In 2005, 2006, and again in 2011, outrage by the fan base was met with exceptional coaching and play. Everyone rose to the challenge.
Now, we don’t even have outrage. We have apathy. People looking to drop their season tickets, people making plans for Saturday because they cannot even be bothered to watch the game, and DVRs filled with sitcoms and episodes of “The Walking Dead” rather than football games and highlight shows. I run a blog about the Beavers, and I cannot even write until two days after a game. This blog should be filled with game day and in-game observations. Instead, it is crickets during the weekend because I cannot bring myself to rehash it.
Ultimately, I do not think that passion can be instilled in this fan base again with this regime. It will take a few years of exciting games and sustained winning to bring the fans back, and it is harder and harder to believe that will happen. I wrote in the past that sweeping changes are needed to generate excitement. That is more true now than ever. I am going to the ASU game to see friends and watch my favorite players, but my expectations are not sky high right now. I appreciate and love every person to ever don the Orange and Black for OSU, but if we are going to pay $4 million a year for coaches, I think we can expect a better product. Riley is a great coach and every coach on this staff will find work again because they are well respected. They are just not the best fit at OSU anymore, partly because of morale issues. Just like any job, once your morale is gone or waning, it is nearly impossible to turn it around.
As always, whenever I am negative, I really want to be proven wrong. I have a special form and bib for crow eating, but I don’t think what I am saying is unreasonable to anyone after this year, last year, and every year not 2012 this decade.
Even with this rant, i will end as always with a hearty GO BEAVERS! Beat the satans!