Monthly Archives: February 2015

Recruit Focus: Jadarius Byrd

All information in this post is courtesy of  BeaverBlitz and Hudl.  Again, I highly recommend both of these sites for the best and latest information on Beaver Football recruiting.

All reviews are just MY OPINION, and need to be taken as such. The coaches know more than me, understand the team’s needs better than I do and most likely differ with my opinions. I am just doing this for fun.

Jadarius Byrd

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 2 Star (5.2)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.5)
HT: 5′ 10″
WT: 170
POS: Cornerback
HOMETOWN: Jacksonville, Florida
OTHER OFFERS: Charlotte, Marshall, Maryland
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 80%

Hudl Profile – Private

Position The Official Candy Report Sees this player at: Cornerback
What Beaver this player reminds us of: Dennis Weathersby

STRENGTHS
– Jumping Ability is amazing
– Aggressive at the line of scrimmage
– Great instincts
– Very quick feet and hips
– Smooth coming out of breaks
– Great body control in the air and amazing hands
– Aggressive tackler and on special teams
– Plays with swagger
– Silly, Nintendo number of interceptions

QUESTIONS
– Smaller frame
– Can’t really tell what his speed is like on the film
– Not a lot of film on his hand work fighting for balls
– Not a lot of film of him breaking through blocks

SUMMARY:
It is always surprising around these parts when OSU gets a February commit.  While he has extensive ties with OSU (his cousin and best friend were part of their last class) Florida is still 3000 miles away and there is a lot of time between now and then.

With the Beavers new defensive philosophy, there is a premium on defensive backs.  Getting one that can create mismatches with his jumping ability and that has a knack for interceptions (double digit picks last year) is never a bad thing either.  Jadarius is not a huge player, but he plays big and he plays sound.  In his Hudl highlight film, you can see Byrd keeping position, running step for step with the receivers and managing to get his body in the way, often coming up with a big break up or interception. While it is hard to gauge a player solely on his highlight reel, you do see enough examples of a player that probably knows what the route is going to be before the ball is snapped and does a good job of preventing it.

The second play on the film is a good example.  Byrd gets a good hit at the line of scrimmage and forces the route outside.  Being close to the goal line (around the 22 yard line) he knows that this is a one on one play and most likely a fade.  After his punch, his feet are fast enough to burst into position on the inside hip of the receiver and he stays with him step for step, ultimately picking the ball off and preventing any points from being scored. This play was a great example of the three elements of a solid player: Mental, Physical and Technique.  He most likely knew the route and the play, he knew where he needed to be, was physically capable of staying with the receiver and used great technique in his punch, his recovery, his position and finishing the play.

These are the kinds of players any team wants.  While there are still a lot of great players out there, many that are bigger and faster than Jadarius, seeing someone that has a pretty dang complete game, looks well coached, has some physical advantages (jumping, quickness) and plays tough (looks for people to blow up on special teams, solid and smart tackling technique on the edges) is someone you cannot pass up.  He has great closing speed when the ball is in the air, has a good burst when needed to make a play and doesn’t appear to get burned a lot, so he is coming back to the ball a lot (giving him some of those pic opportunities.

There is not a lot of film of him fighting for balls or fighting off blocks, so of course those are questions.  Whether he is proficient at that or not is still up in the air.

His cousin Jay Irvine and best friend Taylor Thomas were recently signed to the 2015 Beaver class, so that gives OSU an edge and a strong connection with Jadarius. It also keeps the Beavers in the minds of players from Jacksonville.   The only reason I don’t have his chance of being a Beaver higher is just because there is a ton of time between now and when he signs.

There will be many that want to see a huge upgrade in fanfare and stars with the change from Mike Riley to Gary Andersen, and coach really wants the best players possible for sure. Those people may be a little underwhelmed by Byrd and that is a shame.  I compare him with former Beaver Dennis Weathersby.  He is not as big as Dennis was, but Dennis was fearless and was always in the right place.  Byrd is of that mold and I think many in Beaver Nation will be shocked with how good he really is.  He is from a good school in a good conference in Jacksonville so he has played against some Division 1 talent.  I think this is a very good pickup for the Beavers at a position where we are going to see a spike in numbers.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that when Jadarius Byrd comes to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 2-year starter at Corner/Nickle.  A redshirt year will be very important to help him add a few pounds and work on his speed and strength.  The tough deal for me in predicting guys like this is that he seems to be a high motor, intelligent player.  You never know when you are looking at the next Jordan Poyer or someone like that who comes to camp and blows people away.  I can see Byrd being that way, but right now I think he will maybe get in some plays in some packages as a Sophomore but really be part of the flow at corner or nickle as a Junior.

Always something to play for

As fans, sometimes we get caught up in the big picture of a season.  We think that the results of the whole season are all that matters and even if we pretend we don’t, the change in fan involvement based on results is telling.

For the men’s hoops team, this has been obvious.  Four weeks ago, they were the toast of the message boards and the love flowing for Coach Tinkle was an avalanche of ‘Atta Boys.’  Now a few weeks later, after OSU has suffered some losses to some quality teams, the interest has waned from the fan zone. I don’t blame them, it is the truth of being a fan. As I sit in my Eugene office and listen to duck fans chat about potential NCAA births, it gets even harder to be super excited about a team that is now fighting for the NIT.

The thing is, this season as a whole has been a success even if the Beavers lose out. While I am not hoping for that, there is so much that has happened, so much growth and so many great games that the Beavers have truly conquered this year.  Yes, the rematch round of conference games has been tough, but it always was going to be.  The conference has some great coaches and they saw what OSU did to them in the first go around and made adjustments.  OSU is also probably getting a little tired and thin on the bench.  Most of these players played limited action last year, so the fact that they go from that to playing 30+ minutes a game is a big jump.

Beyond that, while fans still wonder what there is left to play for, players should know that the answer is simple:

Wins.

Being an athlete, being on a team, every win gives you a little boost, a little confidence and a few days of being a winner. The next game or next week could change things, but no streak starts without that first win and no momentum is gained without first beating your opponent.

This off season will be interesting in that there will most likely be a lot of changes.  So the current players need to address where they were weak and come in ready to compete because there will be very talented young players vying for their spots.  Regardless, this group of Beaver Basketball players have taken a huge step, have built on the foundation set by their coach and have served notice to the conference that there will be no easy win, especially in Gill.  When Colorado comes to Corvallis, they will be facing a team with a lot to play for.

The next win.  And for championship teams, that is enough, because no one raises a trophy without collecting as many of those as they can.

Go Beavers!

The Big Push: The Most Important Spring Ever

As we get closer to spring ball, the enormity of what is going to happen here at Oregon State becomes more and more apparent to me.  There are three things that are so vital to this spring, and that will reverberate through the program for the next few years:

1. What do we really have?
As many have heard me scream from the mountain tops, I think that the talent at OSU is fine. I think it is better than fine.  There are players here that have the potential to be amazing. On the offensive line, I think we may quickly find that many players were far better than we anticipated.  A few years of neglect in terms of training style, preventative care and an incredibly tough system have really thinned out this herd.

The class of 2012 had the highest rated offensive line class to ever step foot on the OSU campus.  Within it was seemingly sure fire future NFL players like Isaac Seumalo, Garrett Weinreich and Gavin Andrews. That talent was not trumped up or faked. At the beginning of camp in 2012, it was a toss up if maybe Weinreich would start as a true freshman at tackle.  Those players that came to OSU were solid Pac-12 prospects.  Along the way, Weinreich has missed two seasons due to constant pain from a terrible knee injury, Grant Bays has had chronic disc pain in his back, Isaac Seumalo had to miss a year due to a broken foot, Gavin Andrews played last year with a hairline fracture in his foot and missed most of last season recovering from Mono, Josh Mitchell has played with a torn labrum and knee pain and transplanted tight end Dustin Stanton missed the first half of the year, and his shot at being a full time starter in August, due to an ankle injury that may have been mis-diagnosed.

This year, we will see what the changes in conditioning and training by Coach Simon, the changes in coaching by TJ Woods and the changing in scheme by Coach Baldwin will do.  Over the last three years, we have built up opinions of this team and their players based on what we have seen.  This spring we are going to see how much that changes with the new Coaching Staff and new routines.  Ultimately, we will probably be surprised by the results because everything is different now.

2. Who is really the starter?
As alluded to above, there is a lot of preconceived notions about players going around. When I say the names Storm Woods, Richard Mullaney, Caleb Smith, Jalen Grimble and Larry Scott, a lot of people have already formed opinions of them and their abilities or shortcomings.  I would check those at the door come spring practice.  I cannot stress enough how much different this offense will be and how much different the coaches will be. They have no preconceived relationships or thoughts on the players and what they want from different positions is going to be different as well.

For example, when I read about the team, I read about Luke Del Rio being the starter at QB.  That very well could be, but don’t assume anything.  While Luke has a great skill set, we don’t know if that skill set matches everything OSU is going to do this year.  You still have players like Nick Mitchell, Brent Vanderveen, Kyle Kempt, Marcus McMaryion and the newly arrived Seth Collins.  Collins and McMaryion are the two most different in terms of skill set  than the classic Mike Riley QB.  Nick Mitchell is probably the best blend of the two and then Luke is probably the most prototypical Mike Riley passer with Brent falling between Luke and Nick on the ‘Riley-O-Meter QB Skill Graph.’

Since Mike Riley is no longer here, that scale changes and what is needed changes. There is a lot of work that needs to happen between now and fall camp to decide on a starter. Spring is the first opportunity for guys to do it outside of grade established pecking orders and into the order established by the coaches based on performance.

It is going to be THE most exciting spring across the board for a Beaver offense because it will be the only one since 2003 where every single position is up for grabs.

3. What the heck are we going to really do?
While I have mentioned already the need to check player expectations at the door, there is something else that needs to be left behind:

How Mike Riley ran things.

In no way is this a slam on Mike, but I have gone to a handful of practices every year and honestly, they were all exactly the same.  The same skill periods, the same special teams times, the same individual work and the same schemes.  We saw QB;s being allowed to continue a play after a ‘sack’ and we saw guys choose to finish plays on their own, but never be told they had to.  We saw a practice that had lots of teaching, but not a lot of urgency. We saw players that listened and did what their coaches said, but not all coaches were equally vocal.

This year we are going to see a new look to everything (maybe) and a new offense entirely. Rather than just seeing guys take drops, we are going to see read option mesh times.  Rather than just see walk throughs with the tight ends and line we will probably see more live situations within smaller groups.   There will still be individual time, there will still be skelly and there will still be team drills, but the tempo, the emphasis, the skills and the actual type of teaching will be different.   That, to this hefty blog writer, is the most exciting and scary part of the whole change.  Will I even be able to watch when I want?  Who knows, but I guarantee that this spring will be memorable because it will be the first time since Jerry Pettibone took over that every aspect of the offense and defense will be revised, reworked and redone.

While I think/hope the results on the will be different than when Pettibone got here, the excitement is still there. I remember being VERY excited for Jerry because, in many ways, he was the opposite of Kragthorpe.  I remember watching Rocky Long coach, watching the change in the players and watching Pettibone and his staff trying to get a finesse passing team to play tough as nails option ball. There were a lot of things going against Jerry, and I don’t think his in game decisions were amazing, but there was a lot of good there. Anyone that watched guys like Tony O’Billovich, who weighed about 180 pounds soaking wet, tear through offensive players like a future NFL starter know what I am talking about.  (Side note:  Some of my best memories as a high school kid was hanging out at Tony’s apartment with Christian Miller and watching his dog drool over bacon before he told him he could have some. I still don’t have the same discipline Tony’s dog did.  Nor will I…)

I think we will see more of that attitude on defense, but offensively I have no idea what is all going to be there.  Three tight end sets? Sure!  Four wide receivers? Why not? Spread formations?  You better believe it!  The potential changes this spring has this writer of The Official Candy Report excited like he was back in the days of the infamous Enchilada Debacle of 2008.  The fun is being brought back to the program and I am excited as all get out!

GO BEAVERS!  RESPECT THE PROCESS! FTD! OTHER LOUD ALL CAPS SAYINGS THAT SHOW HOW FIRED UP I AM…

Favorite Thing About 2015 Class

There’s a lot to like about OSU’s 2015 recruiting class. The Florida pipeline, Paul Lucas, etc. Considering Gary Andersen and Co. barely had a month to recruit and put together a class, they did an outstanding job. And what stood out to me was that the majority of the players who signed are more physically along than a lot of OSU’s recent classes.

One of my biggest criticisms of OSU’s approach to recruiting dating back to the Erickson days is that it often relied on  undersized players needing to put on a lot of weight. This was especially true of offensive and defensive linemen.

The problem was that even after a redshirt year, many of these players still were under undersized. So sometimes, it was a two to three year wait for them to be ready. And usually, it came at a cost of losing some of their athleticism and speed. Even worse, some players never gained enough weight to be be as effective as they needed to be at their positions.

As a result it was hard to build depth when you were counting on something as unpredictable as putting on weight. Let’s face it, all of us know how hard it is to gain or lose weight. Some people, no matter how much they eat or work out, just aren’t able to make significant changes.

And programs like Oregon State can’t afford to play that waiting game, or have recruits not pan out because of that. That’s why I was stoked at some of the weights of this year’s recruits. Many of them don’t need to put on a lot of weight. Of course, they need to physically adapt to the college level. But at least they won’t have to worry too much about gaining pounds.

Here’s five examples of players that weight-wise are pretty ready (All heights/weights courtesy of BeaverBlitz.com):

  • Elu Aydon (DT): 6-3, 310
  • Treston DcCoud (DB): 6-3, 205
  • Christian Folau (LB) 6-1, 245
  • Simi Moala (DE) 6-7, 240
  • Taylor Thomas (RB): 5-8, 180

It’s encouraging to see, and I can only imagine what the 2016 class will look like. While there will always be players who need to put on weight, the less you have to worry about, the better. After all, the more you can bring in players who are ready to play, the more competition there is — and that’s always a good thing.

Go Beavers! (RW)

Down the Stretch They Come…

After being swept handily by the Arizona schools two weeks ago, the Beavers rebounded last week in a big way — sweeping the Washington schools. In the process, they became the first squad in school history to start a season 14-0 at home. What a remarkable feat for a team that was expected to finished to finish at the bottom of the conference. But here the Beavers sit at 16-7, including 7-4 in Pac-12 play, good enough for share of third place!

And with seven games left, the Beavers have a chance to finish strong and make the postseason. But it won’t be easy. Here’s a quick look at their remaining schedule. They play at UCLA and USC this week, host Utah and Colorado next week, hit the road to take on Stanford and California, before finishing the season hosting the Ducks. Utah, Oregon, and Stanford all are ahead of the Beavers, while UCLA is right on their heels.

Ideally, the Beavers would win out at home and at least split the rest of their road games. But Utah is ranked in the top 10 and Oregon is playing surprising well. And let’s face it, the Beavers are a different team on the road, so those games against USC and California won’t be easy. Plus, they likely will have to do it without the services of Victor Robbins, who was cited for DUI this past week, while nearing the end of a 10-game suspension. At this point, it seems unlikely he’ll play for the Beavers again this season.

But the Beavers have hung in there in Robbins’ absence, amassing a 5-3 record. A lot of it is due to their relentless defense, which hasn’t let up despite the Beavers being depth-challenged. But also, players such as Jarmal Reid have stepped up to give them a much-needed scoring punch.

If the Beavers want to finish strong, they need Olaf Schaftenaar to shake off his mini-slump and must get more consistency out of Langston Morris-Walker. A bonus would be for Cheikh N’diaye to keep building off his strong performance Sunday against UW, during which he had six points and three rebonds in 13 minutes.

Looking at the Beavers’ remaining schedule, the optimist in me says they beat USC, Colorado, California, and Oregon to finish with 20 wins, including 11 in Pac-12 play, and assure themselves of an NIT bid, at the very least. Because I think they will start shooting the ball better than they have the past three or four games.

However, the objective, former journalist in me says the Beavers have a tough road ahead of them and win two more games, which combined with a win or two in the Pac-12 tourney, should be good enough for an NIT berth. Not bad, all things considered. If their only win is against the Ducks, I’d still be pretty stoked 🙂

Here’s the thing though, the Beavers have already proved just about everybody wrong by even winning 10 games. So who knows what happens from here onward. Barring an epic collapse, Wayne Tinkle should be a shoo-in for Pac-12 coach of the year and should merit strong consideration for national coach of the year, especially if the Beavers make the postseason.

Tell me what you think, how many more wins do the Beavers have in them?

What An Amazing Class!

As I said in my post before about recruiting, this has been an amazing recruiting cycle for the Beavers.  Now, you can look at the classes that USC, UCLA and the ducks brought in and say “Umm, those classes are FAR better than OSU’s!” and in terms of stars and national rankings, you would be correct.

Fortunately, for OSU, this class was never going to be a 4 Star Bonanza (or The Big Valley if you preferred it…) even if the next coach of the Oregon State Beavers had been named Nick Saban. With a month to get guys in that fit your system as well as decide what areas you even have a need for based on your current roster, it was going to be intense and there were going to be some swings and some misses.

That is what makes this all so impressive.  Coach Andersen and his staff were able to accomplish some major steps in their program by identifying areas of need (the secondary) and getting guys in there that can fill that right away (JC players).  They found regions that they targeted as the best regions to build recruiting ties for a championship level team and built or extended relationships there (4 commits each from Florida, Utah and California and two from Texas).  They were able to really push the Polynesian culture of Oregon State by attracting 6 players of Poly descent out of their 12 players they landed in their first month.

The coaches also established OSU as a Mission friendly school, for those LDS players that are thinking of taking their Mission.   Not only did we take a few kids that are contemplating that option, but we also took a player with a great name (Thor) who had already gone through that process last year.  While some fans and coaches are not sure or opposed to taking kids that are going on their Missions, I think it is a justifiable risk because unlike Grayshirts or JC players, they are generally fully qualified and when they come back, if they choose to play and are fired up to do so, you have them for their full cycle as a player (five years to play four).  If they never come back or choose not to play when they do, you still are not out a scholarship.  I feel if a coach thinks the player is really worth it, so is the risk, because the cost is very low and the potential gain is very high.

So this year, when it is all said and done, they only really lost one battle (Davis who committed to us but signed with Florida, a few other near hits that went elsewhere and one tie (Alston went to Nebraska, but they did get Lucas from ASU.)

All in all they identified and landed the players they wanted, just like Andersen identified and landed the coaches he wanted in the town he wants to be.  This is very impressive and I would not be shocked if some of those six scholarships left to give are taken up by players that delayed their signing or JC players that are going to be summer enrollees.  So their work is probably not done on this class.

This all seems like a lot, but you have to remember that in that same five or six week period, they also identified and built a strategy around the players they want for the next two and three classes!  They have extended offers and had players be receptive to what they have.  So I feel great about this class, about their success in filling needs, building or maintaining relationships and identifying where they want the program to go.  It has been an amazing month and a half and there is still more to come! It is a GREAT DAY to be a Beaver and I cannot wait for the spring to get here.

Respect the Process!  Go Beavers!

Coach Woods Part 2: Instant Success.

In the second part of this series about the Beavers’ offensive line, I wanted to focus on instant success. While many in Beaver Nation lament the offensive line play the past few seasons, I think that is an over simplification of the issue. In many cases, the line did well, but there were a lot of extenuating circumstances that lead to plays breaking down.

I think Coach TJ Woods is an excellent coach and I expect people to be surprised by how quickly dominant this group becomes in the coming months. While it will be simple to attribute this to TJ, I think there are other aspects of the changes going on at Oregon State that will make this transition smoother than expected.

For the handful of you that watched the Super Bowl, you might have noticed that last play did not go the way the Seahawks drew it up. The problem was not that the play was bad, or that the blocking or route running was poor. The problem was that the defense knew exactly what the play was before the snap. The player who intercepted the ball did not hesitate or take false steps, but sprinted from the start of the play to the place he KNEW the ball would be. Everything about the play was executed well enough by the Seahawks’ offense to succeed — except for the fact that the defender knew where to go.

This was often the case for the Beavers last year. We can lament the job the line did, but in many cases, they were either not to blame or they were the victims of a defense that knew where the play was going. In a conversation I had with a former duck player, this year in the Civil War, the Ducks’ defense knew when OSU was running a screen play — the one play that requires the defense going the wrong way — and yet 100 percent of the time, they knew what was coming. If you don’t believe me, go back and watch it. Not pretty.

Below is a GIF (not JIF) of the first play of the UW game. It ends up in a sack, but it’s not due to mistakes by the line.

uw_2014_firstplay

 

If you notice, OSU uses a running back on play action to try and block a future first round draft pick at linebacker. The offensive line handles everyone fine, but UW’s linebacker sheds the running back block and the go-to receivers are covered. Not only is this probably a bad decision in terms of a  blocking scheme, but notice that no one on the defense takes a false step or even looks like they have any concern over where the play is going. They all immediately spread to cover the receivers, so even if Sean had not gotten hit, he didn’t have much available.

Below is another example:

uw_2014_second

 

In this play, despite the linebackers swarming instantly, the line actually does a good job sealing off the tackle and getting to the linebacker on the play side. Unfortunately, the tight end cannot get any push and his end crashes down to plug the hole. Both of the first two plays dealt with failures in scheme,  a lack of any confusion on the defenders’ parts, and some bad mismatches on the non-offensive line blockers.

On the next play, while it isn’t enough for a first down, it is the first time the defense has to think, and they guessed wrong for the most part.

uw_2014_third

 

The backers don’t just go, but have to set up and watch, the guard gets a good block, and the center is able to release so you have bodies on everyone. Had the first play not been a sack, this would have been a first down run. The big thing is Storm Woods had options if he wanted to bounce it out.

When you remove the mystery around the play, you remove the defense having to think and be disciplined. That happened far more in this game — and many of the games that the Beavers played this last year.

So how do the Beavers fix this? Well, for starters, you can use plays like the read option. In the case of the option, not even the QB knows for sure at the snap where the play is going. It depends on what the defense does. You can also vary how you call plays. OSU rarely, if ever, runs on the first play of the game. Play action is not very effective if your tendency is to pass anyway. Another issue OSU had the past few years was the bi-polar nature of their play calling. Many times, there were drives where the Beavers ran 70 percent of the time, followed by two or three drives where they passed the majority of, if not all, of the time.

In a scheme such as what Coach Baldwin runs, you will utilize the run game to set up the rest of the offense. It relies on using every advantage available, on creating mismatches, and getting players in space. It it also relies on what battles are being won. The biggest mistake that the Beavers have made, and that the Seahawks in turn made this weekend, is to think you are going to catch people off guard. While sometimes you do, for the most part if you have plays they are sniffing out, unless you are running some sort of wrinkle off of them, you are not going to fool teams. Down and distance situations are guidelines, but defenses go by what they see more. If they know what you do in Formation X when receiver Y is lined up in just that exact spot, down and distance means nothing.

There is a good chance that OSU will look like they have a miraculous line all at once. TJ Woods is a very accomplished coach, but if the Beavers do look like a different team up front, a lot of that is because defenses have to look and see what is going on. If all they have to do is go without fear of making a mistake, no line can stop them. But if they have doubt, they slow down and if they slow down, all the sudden they are block-able, moveable and controllable.

Don’t be shocked if the same guys whose names you were cursing in 2014 you are celebrating in 2015. If we are, it will be a far better year than many of us expected.

Recruiting Realities.

I have read a lot of people comment on the disappointment with the current Beaver recruiting class.  In the excitement of all the hires by the Beavers, of bringing Andersen and his A-Team staff in, many in Beaver Nation began to reach for the stars, at least with their hopes and dreams, in recruiting.

I think that is healthy. I think that is the right thing to do and I think it is how the current coaches at Oregon State want it.  They don’t want to be satisfied with getting just certain types of players or getting players that were not good enough out of high school to go to their real school of choice.  The Beaver coaches want to win championships, they want to make OSU the same type of destination that other small college town schools like Penn State, TCU and Wisconsin are.  So there will never be a point of being satisfied with recruiting until OSU is the top school in the country.  Those are the goals we want and those are the goals that our coaches will strive for every year.

But those hopes and dreams need to be injected with a bit of reality and a healthy dose of process.  As the coaches have said to the players time and again “Respect the Process” it is time for the Beaver fans to do the same.  While some may look at this (currently) 73rd ranked class by Rivals and feel like it is a disappointment, they miss out on a few very key facts:

1. The coaches have established, instantly, a connection with the State of Florida that Oregon State has never enjoyed. Since 2009, OSU has had 1 recruit from Florida (the great Bud Delva).  Currently, Oregon State has three commits from Florida, with a potential for two more.  While it is nice to get a few guys from one state or to count on one or two a year, a talent rich place like Florida can provide three or four quality players a year if the coaches have the right connections and are willing to work hard at it. Currently the Beavers have four committed, which would put more players from Florida on the same team than at any time I can remember.

2. In five weeks, our coaches have added 10 players to the commitment list or program. That is the best five week span in over a decade.  They have a few days left to get a few more names, and most of the players out there are ones we want.  While this class may not be entirely full by letter of intent day, the coaches have made sure to keep the players they really want and to bring in players that fit their system.

3.  The coaches have also been spending this first month recruiting for the future.  They have turned away players that were not going to fit their system and have used each trip to each state to establish relationships and give offers to people that fit where they want to go as a program.  This means that a lot of 2016 and 2017 (and even some 2018) offers have gone out.  These offers and recruits are not just good players, but good players in areas that Oregon State wants to pull kids from.   Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville Florida, Salt Lake City Utah, Hawaiian and Tongan islands. Texas and California, all hotbeds of football talent.

4. They are building a program, not just hobbling together a class. We can want a better class, and I think as fans we can expect one in the future.  What Andersen is doing right now is building a program the right way. From the ground up he is sacrificing this class in numbers to make sure that they get the right players, the right fit and the right recruiting relationships to do what all the coaches and fans ultimately want.  To win a championship.

While I love Mike Riley and appreciate all he did, I think that there is merit to starting over and starting the right way, even if it means you take a small hit to recruiting this year.  While the class this year may be close to the class OSU was going to have anyway under Riley, it is being built in a way that works better for a long term goal.  Fast and aggressive on defense, fast and smart on offense.

The latest pickup for the Beavers, Deltran Sands, is a perfect example. Not the big name we all want, but he is a player that plays smart, plays the right way, has some speed, has some moves and comes from a great football school and great football area.  He is going to come in, work his butt off and get a shot to be productive for us.  He may not be flashy, but he is solid and he comes from an area that the Beavers want to pull kids from.  Like De La Salle in California, St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida is the school you want to be solid with. This is not just a solid player pickup, but a solid foundational pick up and gets the name Oregon State and Gary Andersen into the minds of coaches and players in that area. We may not pull the top dogs all the time out of SEC territory, but we sure as heck can get some great players that fit what we want to do.

Ultimately, I have no worries about this class because they DIDN’T go out and treat the class like a fire sale. They set up their system, aggressively pursued the guys they wanted, built relationships with future guys they want and created their recruiting map.  One that I think we will see helps take OSU to the next step.  Maybe not next year, but in two or three years, Oregon State should be on their way to being a championship team.  I have not been this excited or confident in a long time.

Respect the Process. Go Beavers!