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 Rivals.com 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!