A Disappointing Season for the Ages

The 2014 season was supposed to be a big one for the Oregon State Beavers. They returned a record-breaking quarterback, two experienced running backs, arguably the best TE tandem in the Pac-12, eight seniors on defense, and both their kicker and punter.

All the pieces were in place for Mike Riley and the Beavers to make a splash. But instead, their season spiraled downward and eventually down the drain, as they lost six of their last seven games — punctuated by their seventh straight loss to Oregon, 47-19.

They finished 5-7 and won’t be  playing in a bowl game. Fan apathy is at an all-time high. And sweeping changes will need to be made if the Beavers hope to compete in the increasingly competitive Pac-12. It’s a scenario that seemed unfathomable at the beginning of the season, when there was plenty of cautious optimism.

So where did it go all wrong for the Beavers?

Was it when Brandin Cooks and Scott Critchton declared early for the NFL draft? Was it when Isaac Seumalo was declared out for the season? Was it when it became obvious Kyle Peko wouldn’t be eligible to play?  Was it when injuries piled up on both sides of the line? Or was it when it was clear the Beavers couldn’t win the games they were supposed to?

Whatever it was, this season didn’t go according to plan. And it hurts. This team was too talented to only win five games, right? For crying out loud, it had the all-time Pac-12 passing leader at the helm.

But as painful as the defense’s late-season struggles were (39 points per game during those six losses), the offense never got going at any point during the season. Along the way, the play-calling was baffling, the clock management infuriating, and the lack of preparedness alarming. Simply put, Riles and Co. were out-coached most of the Pac-12 slate.

That’s why heading into the offseason, the focus needs to be on the coaching staff. They didn’t take advantage of this season’s schedule and the talent they had returning. Quite frankly, they fell flat. This year’s seniors deserved better. Had they been put in better situations to succeed, they could be playing in a bowl game. All things considered, this was one of the most disappointing seasons in program history — and easily the most disappointing of Riley’s tenure.

And if Riley doesn’t take a long hard look at the program, and more importantly, himself, I worry that all of the good (and it’s a lot) he has done for OSU football will start getting tarnished, as the program clearly is on downward trajectory. Whether, he tweaks the offense, lets assistants go, or starts being more vocal, something needs to change.

In fact, you could argue big splash needs to be made this offseason. Better late than never, right? (RW)

3 thoughts on “A Disappointing Season for the Ages

  1. Pete's Brother.

    Fan Apathy is probably not as high as it was in the early 90’s. I hate hyperbole, it’s the worst thing ever.

    This was a disappointing season but that’s a good thing. It’s good to be upset that we didn’t compete for the Pac-12 Championship. That means we feel we should be relevant (ask Colorado fans what that’s like). For the bulk of my first three decades on this planet we didn’t even have that belief going for us.

    We might be souring on Riley and his coaching style. There’s things we can always point at – slow starts, too many penalties, some head scratching play calls (which if they had worked would have been brilliant) unbalance offense and “poor” recruiting. But let’s be serious here – we don’t have a football mill in Corvallis. it’s getting better but we’re still overachievers. That’s part of our charm 🙂

    We should have been better this year. But let’s be thankful that a 5-7 season is sticking in our craw rather than being the best of three decades like 5-6 was in Riley’s second season. From the year I was born til Mike left us for the Chargers OSU went 65-239.

    This season was disappointing, I don’t argue. And the icy-cold spectre of irrelevance always feels near to me, but I can’t tell you how great the last 15 years have been overall. The cupboard isn’t bare, next season won’t be bleak.

    It may come to pass that someone needs to take Riley’s baton but I won’t fault OSU for sticking with him.

  2. blowcheese

    Peter’s brother, i am not being a smart aleck here: did you watch the beavers play this year?

    When you pooh pooh the assertion that fan apathy is spiraling down I honestly wonder why your perspective is so different from my own.

    Even if you ignore wins/losses the product ON THE FIELD fails the eyeball test. Watching this team play the last few seasons has made me want to yell GROW SOME EFFING NADS.

    It’s the lack of aggression of the players, the lack of spirited tackling, it’s the absence of critical defensive stops (when was the last time beavs stopped a 4th and whatever that mattered?)

    its the offensive play calling that seems timid and then panicky. Its the players acting like they don’t know what they are doing, all of them, seniors included.

    Its the clock winding down every time and still no play call yet, meanwhile the opposing defense is able to time their move perfectly because beavs are always struggling to get the ball snapped just in time with an emergency cadence.

    Its a complete show of no confidence by one of the more experienced teams and coaching staffs in the conference.

    And it’s boring.

    I don’t see anything being done by Admins or Coaches so what i have is worse than apathy and i can’t be alone. Apathy is mild interest. My frustration level is so high as a fan it kills me to watch. I have no choice but to take back my leisure time and stop watching. I may turn on a game or two next year but no more season tickets, no more using my time to stay updated with the team in the offseason.

    I can handle losing if i see a balls out 100% Winning Is Everything When You Are On The Field attitude. (That is the only way FB can be played by the way). Instead we have excuse riding (oh no we don’t have enough money to play hard or try to compete) and moral victories and self praise for doing it the right way. Got news for you:

    There Is No Right Way To Lose.

  3. rjhstorm

    It’s time for a major shakeup – and that shakeup is happening regardless if we change coaching or the offensive/defensive schemes. We are losing a whole bunch of players, especially on defense. New people will have to step up and in. So a new personnel set is going to give the team a ifferent look.

    But the key is a game plan and in game adaptation that our players buy into and are prepared for, and that means some serious changes in either coaching preparation or coaches. I truly believe that the victory over Arizona State was due more to players making adjustments themselves than the preparation. And IMO, Sean running a few times in the last game of his career at OSU was as much a statement of what he wasn’t being allowed to do before (but what could they do if he did it now, bench him the next game?).

    Coaches, this season, and the last season, are on you. I will go to the games next season; these are my beloved Beavers that I have followed through thick and thin since I came to OSU as an undergrad. But if we consistently leave the field with two or three time outs at the half after missing a 50 yard field goal, regularly get a delay of game penalty, line up in the wrong formation or have too few or too many people on the field, have most of the crowd totally confused by the offensive or defensive scheme as they walk away from Reser, AND LOSE the games we should have won! then you have failed to live up to your contractual obligations. That usually means that someone else needs to be in that slot.


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