On Dec. 6, i wrote a post about what’s next in the coach search. An error in scheduling left that post unpublished, so it never saw the light of day. That being said, the announcement of Gary Andersen as the new Beaver coach brought a huge “Huzzah!” from Beaver Nation. The hiring was a national story, and an unlikely coup from the Beaver State
Not only was Coach Andersen’s hiring a surprise, it is also a great fit for the new needs of Oregon State. With the announcement today of a new, $43 million football facility and the void of an actual football coach to work in it, Gary’s arrival was perfectly timed. Andersen himself is also a perfect fit, in my mind, for what OSU needs. My proof is in the post that publish:
1. Recruiting to Corvallis:
I talked about the difficulties to recruiting to Corvallis. Especially when competing against the ducks 37 miles away or USC or UCLA or any number of Pac-12 recruiting powerhouses. So I wanted to make sure that whoever we got was able to bring in talent equal to or greater than what we have gotten in the last couple decades.
As the Utah State University coach, Gary recruited 18 Rivals 3* recruits in four years. In the previous four years, before he arrived, Utah State got a total of three Rivals 3* recruits. So to a small, college town, surrounded by much bigger fish like Utah and BYU, Coach Andersen was able to recruit six times as many 3-star recruits as the previous regime. So I have no doubt that Andersen can find some success on the mean recruiting streets of Corvallis, Oregon.
2. Recruit Beaver Nation Back:
I remember Coach TInkle saying that the first recruit he needed to sell was Beaver Nation. The announcement of Gary Andersen as our coach not only blew people away, it made them more fired up than I have seen since a cool Thursday night in 2008 when the Beavers beat USC. Immediately, a lot of the anger and hurt over the Mike Riley departure, the decline of football relevance in the conference, and the performance of the Athletic Director and President Ray melted away. People were ecstatic over the plans for the Valley Football Center and then, in a perfect marketing move, the Beavers released the real big news, the hiring of a top-20 coach in the country.
Cheers were heard, at least cyberally, and wallets sprang open to greet the new regime with a as fancy of a red carpet as the blue collar fans of OSU roll out. Gary Andersen’s name alone scored them their first 5* recruit: Beaver Nation.
3. Critique Every Aspect of the Program:
This part was about addressing everything from the cook to the weight training to the coaching of the team. I wanted someone to come in and do a clean sweep of anything that the new coach felt was impeding the program. Time will tell what Gary does in terms of this, but the best thing I can say is that Gary’s teams always played above their talent level or to their potential. They played hard and played smart. There are always games you want back, but overall, I think that we have gotten a coach who has strong ideas, is detail oriented, and aggressive. So I suspect this might be something he takes care of well. We will see.
4. Focus on Defense:
This is probably the best part of the hire — and the part that I am most excited about. Offense is great, and I love it. That is why I like defensive-minded coaches, at least ones such as Coach Andersen. He knows what he hates to defend and will employ this at OSU. Unlike Wisconsin, where he had stricter guidelines for what he could and couldn’t run, the Beavers will embody not just a strong adherence to his 3-4, aggressive defensive philosophy, but they will also run the offense he hates the most.
I expect to see a different looking defense, and I expect to see much different results. Ultimately, I just wanted that whoever we got as a coach to put our team in the best position to win in a conference whose teams put up an amazing number of points week in and week out. I don’t expect OSU to turn into Stanford, but I do expect that under Andersen, OSU will be able to win when they score 35 points. Defensive focus is the difference between winning the close ones and blowing a lead. I think all of us would rather do the former and have seen enough of the latter.
So Wednesday, Beaver Nation got something to cheer about in a story big enough to be highlighted by every national media outlet in America. Today we won the coach search, and hopefully that is not the last big football win.