Monthly Archives: August 2015

What Will the Beavers Look Like? Offense

I’ve read a lot about the type of offense that OSU will run this season and what the breakdown of pass to run will look like. Many point to what Wisconsin did to try to predict how an Andersen team operates. Unfortunately, that is not 100% accurate as Andy Ludwig was the offensive coordinator there, and we now have Dave Baldwin as OC and Kevin McGiven as QB coach.

I feel the best way to predict what OSU’s offense will look like examine their past results and what these coaches did on at other stops of their careers:

Colorado State:
2014: 159 yards rushing/321 yards passing (link)
2013: 204 yards rushing/266 yards passing (link)
2012: 128 yards rushing/210 yards passing. (link)

Utah State:
2011: 282 yards rushing/178 yards passing (link)
2010: 178 yards rushing/168 yards passing (link)
2009: 192 yards rushing/246 yards passing (link)

New Mexico:
2008: 208 yards rushing/131 yards passing (link)
2007: 135 yards rushing/236 yards passing (link)

Michigan State:
2006: 129 yards rushing/227 yards passing (link)
2005: 201 yards rushing/295 yards passing (link)
2004: 238 yards rushing/221 yards passing (link)
2003: 97 yards rushing/270 yards passing (link)

Those are Baldwin’s four most recent stops. As you can see, there is a lot of variety.  Some years, his offenses rushed for 200+ yards per game and others they are passing for 270.  Ideally, I think Coach Baldwin would rather do both.

His Colorado State years may be the most pertinent to Beaver fans because Colorado State is similar in size and national stature to OSU — and it is his latest stop in the modern era of offenses and defenses. Obviously, his first year at CSU yielded results (338 yards) we don’t want to see at OSU .  Those yards per game coincided with a 21 points per game average and a 4-8 record.

Where it gets interesting is 2013, where the Rams averaged 466 yards per game, 36 points per game and finished 8-5. I honestly think that this was his best season offensively and the record should have been better, except for a reasonably porous defense. If we are rushing for 200+ and passing for 260+, we will win a ton of games.

2014 was a magical season for CSU because it had a better defense, and Garret Grayson had an amazing year passing. While the team was more pass heavy (and scored less at 33 points per game) this would still be in line with the desire Baldwin has to have a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 1,000-yard receiver. A whole mess of other players got in the game as well, as the Rams averaged 480 yards per game.

Utah State:
2014: 189 yards rushing/198 yards passing (link)
2013: 180 yards rushing/233 yards passing (link)

I threw McGiven’s stats in here to as a way to highlight the balanced approach he strives for as well. His teams will use their QBs in any way possible, but given the chance, they are going to be truly balanced. Recruiting and coaching will funnel the offense to this balance eventually, but as you can see in years such 2011 and 2008, Baldwin is not opposed to pounding the rock all day because of who he has. Conversely, 2003 and 2014 show he will pass the ball all day long if he has the team to do it.

As Beaver fans, this should excite us. Our team is not a West Coast or Pro Style offense anymore. It is an “offense that gets results for who we have” offense. Recruiting will not always favor the Beavs, so that ability to adjust on the fly and have the players to do it are going to go a long way for Beaver Football. No matter what we see this year, we as Beaver Nation, should be excited that these coaches are committed to, and have shown, that they will get the most out of who we have, not necessarily what the coaches want us to be. For a smaller market team, that is the biggest blessing of all.

Go Beavs (PRO)

Hoops Lands a Good One

The 2016 recruiting class is off to BIG start for the Oregon State men’s basketball team with the recent commitment of Ben Kone, a 6-9, 240 pound post out of  Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose. A Rivals 3-Star, Kone averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds per game last season as a junior en route to being named the San Mercury News player of the year. He can play with his back to the basketball and has good hands, making him an ideal big man. Here are some quick thoughts about Kone.

  • If Kone is anywhere near his listed weight of 240 pounds, that’s outstanding. So often in recent years, post players are “post” in height only, not weight. Consider this,  he would be Beavers’ second heaviest player this season behind 6-11, 250 pound Gligorije Rakocevic. If Kone puts on some more weight and muscle during his senior year, he could enter OSU at 250 pounds or more, making him a legit presence down low.
  • Coach Tinkle has done a wonderful job so far at OSU, especially recruiting-wise as this year’s group of incoming freshmen make up a class that was ranked in the Top 20. But let’s be honest, it helped that two of them were coaches’ sons (Tinkle’s and Stephan Thompson). So I had questions to how he would fare this year and beyond. This is an excellent start and Kone plays a position that isn’t exactly overflowing with talent.
  • Kone’s commitment could get the ball rolling toward another strong class. Highly-touted point Jordan Ford, a Rivals top 150 player, recently put the Beavers in his top 3. Guess what? He plays AAU ball with Kone. So that could bode well for OSU’s chances. And then there’s 4-star guard JaQuori McLaughlin, the one-time Beavers commitment who has put OSU back in his top 5. All it takes is one domino to fall. If Kone leads to Ford committing, McLaughlin could be the next one to follow.
  • Landing Kone’s verbal over schools such as Cal, San Diego State, and New Mexico State is coup. All have solid programs and Cal has rolled lately in recruiting. In fact, I was worried about the Golden Bears the most. Tinkle and Co. will need to continue going toe-to-toe with strong programs to land the type of talent they need to compete in the always-tough Pac-12. Kone is proof that Tinkle is up to the challenge.
  • If you haven’t read The Oregonian’s artivle about Kone’s commitment, do so now. It provides excellent insight into what kind of person he is — he appears to be an extremely high-character student-athlete. He visited OSU in June, but wanted to give his verbal in person, so he made a return trip to Corvallis. And I loved his quote about that decision: “I like to handle things in person. Being a gentleman is a top priority on my list,” Kone said. “I like to do things face-to-face. I talked to my mom and told her that I thought I needed to go up to Oregon State.”

Ultimately, it appears as if the Beavers  landed not only a talented big man, but a surefire fan favorite from the get go and a potential team leader down the road. Let’s hope Kone’s commitment is the start of more good things to come OSU’s way before signing day. Go Beavs! (RW)

The Last Stand of Caleb Smith

I have always liked Caleb Smith. I think he is a great athlete, a good guy — and if you go to practice, he works really hard, blocking, running routes, or whatever. He is a very aggressive player who plays offense with a defensive mentality. While many in Beaver Nation will point to some of his mistakes (mistakes that are sometimes were more than just his supposed issues), I really see a lot of upside.

Unfortunately, last year, the offense was a mess all around and instead of being able to shine as a junior, he got washed away with the rest of the team in a mediocre campaign that led to a below .500 team.

This year is Caleb’s last stand, and by all accounts, he is taking it personally. Caleb is a 6-6, 265 pound force of nature that runs about a high 4.6 40. He is so dangerous in the seam or in the flat because not many people can cover someone that size. He is an instant mismatch against anyone on defense, and just needs the opportunity to get the ball in his hands and show it. Caleb is physically gifted in a way similar to Obum Gwatcham, so he will get looked at by NFL teams no matter what he does this year.

But that is next year, and from what I have heard around the team and those who have watched practices, Caleb wants to go out a champion at Oregon State, which will position him for the next step. I for one would love for Caleb to get a chance to show he is more than a handful of mistakes, but a legit, all-conference threat at tight end. We will see how this season plays out, but I would not bet against him this year.

Go Beavs (PRO)

Football Time

As we roll into the first (real) week of practice for the Beavers, I cannot help but let out a sigh of relief. The most boring two months of sports are in the rear view mirror. Now all the hopes, fears, and smack talk are ramping up for another great season of College Football.

As I look at what Gary Andersen has done with this team, my gut feelings are riddled with subjective hopes and wishes. Objectivity is out the window. As a blog writer, I am not able to directly interview players, talk with coaches, or to get time on the beat reports and press coverings. And honestly, that is for the best. As good of intentions as I may have, not all ‘blogsters’ understand what is OK and what is not OK to say.

On the flip side, as a reasonably public figure in Beaver Nation, I also get a steady feed of information and tidbits from one of the most passionate groups in all of sports: Players’ families. While I may share about 1 percent of what I hear, what gets me excited about this year, that I can share, is how universally excited everyone is.  No matter whether it is the family of a player working for a starting position, the family of an entrenched starter, or the family of a player that is looking for their shot, across the board there is excitement for this season.

Beyond that though, and more importantly, there is trust.

While fans may have certain feelings about members of the previous staff, as do players, one thing that happened the last two years in a lot of situations was the lost of trust. They lost the trust in some of the leadership to do what was right. They second-guessed decisions. I would get frustrated emails and comments from families and alumni about all the things that they just couldn’t see ever changing. As someone who loves Mike Riley, it shook me. It made me doubt many things I knew to be true. Regardless of who Mike Riley was and is, there were things happening that were not indicative of that, and that hurt the team.

This year, under Coach Andersen, there is a renewed sense of trust. Players looking for an opportunity to see the field trust that they will get a fair shot. In addition, they trust the process and direction of the program beyond their own individual needs. The players on this team also trust in each other because they went through essentially a six-month boot camp with each other during the hottest summer in years. The families trust the coaches because their kids are happy, excited, and working hard. There is consistency in message and practice that is authentic and honest.

Once games start, there will be dings and mistakes and moments where things are going impossibly wrong. But the effort these players are putting forth and the faith they have in their coaches are going carry them though those valleys of struggle. As long as the core of this team and its identity under Coach Andersen stays consistent and honest, those times will pass.

There is no reason to think that all of these family members, players, and coaches are being hoodwinked, so I am excited as well. I am excited to see families that I have gotten to know, and feel are as friendly as blog writer and player entourage can be, enjoy Oregon State again. Enjoy being parents of Beavers and enjoy the thought of going to games and watching their kids play their guts out.

This season will be one that sets a new bar for Beaver Football. It will be the season where we see what a group of coaches, who are in the top class of their disciplines, can do at Oregon State when they have all the resources they need and the full support of the institution.

Of course I should say we will see what it does again, because we have seen that once before.  From 1999 – 2007. And it turned out pretty good then.

Go Beavs – (PRO)

Also, while many know I am active on BeaverBlitz, the site for Beaver Sports, I really feel like this video interview with Storm Barrs-Woods by Angie Machado sums up perfectly what I am talking about. If this doesn’t get you excited for Beaver football, as well as making you an even bigger Storm Barrs-Woods fan, then I don’t know if you actually like football or people.

Great stuff Angie and thanks for sharing!

Reser Stadium, home of the Oregon State Beavers

Kudos to Kyle Peko…

Most of you have probably heard the great news by now: Much-herald defensive tackle Kyle Peko is eligible to play for the Beavers this season, ending a saga that seemed destined for Simi Kuli status more than once. For those of you who aren’t aware of Simi Kuli, he was a 5-star defensive tackle who committed to OSU in 2008. But never made it to campus, despite numerous stories and rumors that he was close (or not) to being eligible.

And while Peko isn’t quite the prospect that Kuli was, he’s unquestionably one of the biggest defensive recruits the Beavers have landed.  A 2013 Rivals 3-star, Peko was heavily recruited out of Cerritos Community College. He had nearly 20 offers, including from Michigan State, Nebraska, Baylor, Washington, and Utah. At 6-2, 295 pounds and sporting a sub-5.0 40-time, Peko was an ideal blend of size and athleticism.

But what’s truly impressive about Peko is that he never gave up, even when it seemed like many people (especially on the messages boards) wrote him off as another Kuli. He had plenty of motivation… the opportunity to realize his enormous potential, a chance to play in a Power 5 conference, getting married last year, welcoming a son in June, etc… And he did it!

It all speaks volumes of Peko’s commitment and dedication, even if wasn’t always evident. He’s the first person to admit he didn’t always take schoolwork seriously. Like so many talented JUCOs who never made it into OSU, it would’ve been easy for him to fade away, never to heard from again. However, Peko started getting serious last year about his classes, while practicing with the team. If he isn’t a textbook example of sticking things out and seeing them through, I don’t what is.

A cursory glance at his Twitter feed reveals a young man who is enjoying being a husband, father, a student-athlete, and now potentially a star on the field. Peko appears happy, focused, motivated, and ready to shine. You can’t help but root for the guy.

Kudos to Mike Riley’s and Gary Andersen’s staffs for sticking by Peko and providing him with the encouragement and support that he needed to become eligible. Let’s be honest, too — Peko obviously has a lot of upside for two different coaching staffs to invest so much time and effort in him. I bet former OSU defensive line coach Joe Seumalo must be smiling big now, as he always had high hopes for Peko.

So while he only has one year to play for the Beavers, don’t be surprised if Peko makes an immediate impact. He’s strong, athletic, and plays nasty. He and Jalen Grimble could be OSU’s most talented pair of defensive tackles since the Dwan Edward and Eric Manning. Peko and Grimble wreaking havoc in the middle would go along ways toward helping the Beavers exceed expectations this year.

Again, congrats to Peko and his family. This is a wonderful success story that hopefully continues to get bigger and bigger each week this season.  Go Beavs! (RW)