Monthly Archives: September 2015

The Official Candy Report Awards: Stanford

The Halloween Spice Drop Award of Excellence
This was a weird week for me in watching the game.  A lot of players played well and I saw a large attention to detail by certain players.  It was  a tough game against a good team and I thought the Beavers looked prepared and ready to play the game. While he may not have the stats or the glory, one player stood out to me play after play on Friday.  Justin Strong was everywhere and he was definitely taking care of the details.

Early in the game, Justin tipped a pass that was intercepted by Cyril Noland-Lewis.  He had jumped the route so well, that had the ball not been thrown behind the receiver, he would probably have had the pick. Instead he tipped it up and Noland-Lewis came down with it.  Repeatedly #4 on defense was blowing up receivers trying to block and forcing the ball carrier inside by creating a pile on the edge of the play.  He also was seen filling in on blitzes, taking on the full back without a care in the world about his own safety.

If you want to know why I like Justin, look at the 7:15 point of the third quarter of the game Friday.  #94 is the defensive tackle that they put in as full back came running through and Justin sprinted up to the line and took him head on.  He stoned #94 and got in on the tackle.  Those that have seen Mr. Strong will attest that he is not huge, but his heart is and that is why he is getting this award. He plays smart, does the little thing and sacrifices his body to do his job.

Great work Justin Strong and have a great week off, you deserve it!

The Jujifruit Award of Most Improved
This one was easier.  I have not talked about him much this year, but I thought Seth Collins looked better this week against solid competition than he did against Michigan.  He is young and it will take time for him, but plays like his scramble and toss to Storm Barrs-Woods and his long run that unfortunately got called back at the end of the game are the reasons he is in there.  While he has a long way to go, those plays are big time plays that OSU needs to be able to make and Seth is doing a good job of playing within himself.  I think the coaches are also doing a good job making sure he is doing the things he can do well

It is a long season and we are only 1/3 through it, but if Seth can continue to improve, especially on 3rd down, there is a lot of upside to this team and a lot of opportunities.  Remember, he only has two defenses left this season of the same caliber of Stanford and Michigan.  When he gets to WSU, Arizona, Cal and the ducks, there are going to be more opportunities on the ground and through the air.

Good work Seth!

Good N’ Plenty Award of Shame
There are a lot of people that could get this award, which is common. For me, for the first time, I am giving this award to one play. There were lots of shameful plays around college football this weekend.  The fake punt and punt return against the ducks, the fumbled punt by Texas, the final TD by TCU, the delay of game after two time outs in the Jets vs Philadelphia game.

But the worst to me was the official’s spot after Sumner Houston’s 3rd down stop in the Stanford game Friday night.  It was the end of the second quarter and the game was tied at 14.  Stanford had just crossed the 50 yard line and was driving a bit when Sumner Houston single handedly tossed the offensive lineman blocking him, wrapped up the running back and drove him to the ground where he stood.  Not only did said running back not get the required yard of progress they needed for a first down, he didn’t even make it to the line of scrimmage.

The stadium erupted and the defense high fived, only to notice that the ref from the west side of the field was standing a full yard and a half in front of where the runner was actually tackled, while the official from the east side (the one with the clear view) had accurately marked the spot of the ball. In true Pac-12 officiating style, they took the view of the guy with a poor angle who also happened to be wrong and gave the Cardinal a first down.

Luckily for me in mid melt down, the refs blew their whistles before Stanford could take the next snap and wanted to review.  “Thank goodness!” I thought, “now they can get this obvious mistake corrected!” I lied to myself. Imagine my surprise when the decision was upheld. A decision that was literally the worst ever.

But don’t just take my word for it, here is a clip you may like. I pause it when the two officials are out there for effect:

http://theofficialcandyreport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/worstcall-2015-09-25_web.mov

So boo.  Boo bad refs, boo cowards not wanting to overturn a bad call and boo the Pac-12 for not caring.  In 2007 after another terrible  call, then head of the Pac-10 replay officials Verle Sorgen was quoted as saying “wasn’t that egregious unless you are an Oregon State
fan.” Apparently it is OK to screw the Beavers because no one but us cares.  It does the Pac-12 no good to have us knocking off their sacred golden calves.  I know this is tinfoil hat territory, but for me, the above video and above quote show me that it may not be a conscious decision by the Pac-12 to screw Oregon State, but they definitely don’t care.  Especially when we are playing highly ranked teams like Arizona in 2010 and they have an Arizona alumnus working as replay official.  It is almost as if they are working an Intramural flag football game and just start letting things go (except for bad holding calls) because they want to go home before the parties start.

No offense, but that sucks, so thanks to this play for reminding me that most of the time, Beaver Nation is the only ones who care when we get screwed. Tom Hanson apologized to Oklahoma and suspended the officiating crew when they got jobbed, but we just get told no one cares but us.

Well, I care.  Screw you refs.

Go Beavs – (PRO)

 

 

The Official Candy Report: Stanford

Pac-12 play opened up for the Beavers on a beautiful Friday night in Corvallis.  The Stanford Cardinal were 14 point favorites, but there was a lot of hope in Beaver Nation for an upset.  The crazy thing was, you wouldn’t have known it in the stands. Either Beaver Nation is a much smaller sports nation than I had previously thought, or there is a severe lack of interest in going to Reser Stadium to watch the Beavers.  Now, once Coach Andersen gets the ship going in a championship direction, i think people will magically find their desire to see the games as well as find their missing wallets.

For me, it was disheartening.  I don’t expect everyone to be there all the time. Things come up and Friday games are a huge inconvenience for people coming from Portland. I just hoped there were enough non-season ticket holding Beaver fans that would want to pick up those unused tickets and check out their Beavers.

For those clamoring for a team that never quits and plays their guts out, they were rewarded with just such an effort, with the Beavers trying to score in the final seconds, even though they were mathematically unable to win. The Beavers were not quitters on Friday and you could see it in their faces and body language.  They were just not able to overcome Stanford’s athletes and discipline and their own mistakes.

I for one was very proud of how each and every player played.  The way they played that is. There were some mistakes, some bad blocks, bad cuts, bad throws, bad reads, bad tackles and just about every negative thing you could do.  That is how you lose by three scores.  But there was also a heck of a lot of heart, of drive and a physical presence that said “Oregon State is no longer the nail, we are the hammer”.  Like mythical John Henry, they were not able to beat the steam engine machine of the Stanford Cardinal, a good team on a hot streak, but they pounded away as long as they could, up until the last seconds.

That is all i can ask of them.  I can hope they learn from their mistakes, and that the coaches get players in the best positions to be successful, but maybe this year is just not a championship year.  Maybe it is part of putting in the work so we can be better in the long run.  With such a young team, a young team with a lot of players that six weeks ago had never taken a college snap or read the playbook they will be using this year before January, needs this year to grow.  They appear to have already learned how to fight, learned what precision and respecting the process means and realized that their time at OSU is a gift. Once that gets married with execution on the field and another year of sculpting their bodies with Coach Simon, we could be talking about OSU being the next hot team to be reckoned with.

Regardless, this staff ultimately got this team to believe something that they had forgotten or never knew to begin with.  They belong.  They are good enough to play with teams like Stanford, they need not freak out or be afraid of the giants because they are tough and play with purpose.  That is the hardest thing to translate to young players and these coaches are doing it.  So Go Beavers, beat Arizona in two weeks, but mostly, get some rest and watch some film because the game will get slower for you and the techniques will get easier.  Once that happens, the wins won’t e too far behind.

Go Beavs (PRO)

Trench Report: San Jose State

WEEK 1:  Weber State
Top Grade Average: 2.95, Isaac Seumalo
Team Grade Average: 3.03

WEEK 2.  Michigan
Top Grade Average: 2.84, Josh Mitchell
Team Grade Average: 2.97

WEEK 2.  San Jose State
Top Grade Average: 2.78, Isaac Seumlo
Team Grade Average: 2.86

Click here to view the rating system rules.

Week overview: Lets not get ahead of ourselves. There is a HUGE difference between San Jose State’s and Michigan’s defensive fronts.  That being said, we have seen a lot of suspect line play against FCS or non-Power 5 conference opponents.  What we saw Saturday was what we should expect.  There were only 5 grades of 4 this game, versus 12 last week, and we had our first grade below a 2 all year (Isaac Seumalo on a combo bock with a pancake on a backer to boot!).  OSU should have dominated the lines of scrimmage this game and the offensive linemen did just that. I we grade a 2.78 Friday, we will be very happy with the offensive results.

It was also good to see Clarkson get in every other series as well. While he had a few mental mistakes here and there, he shows great finish on his blocks and did a good job of moving guys around.  He is a powerful player with a low base who will be a good player for us in the near future.  I also was happy to see how well Isaac was running around on pulling plays.  Overall, certain skills were much improved.  Our reach blocking on the edges and pulling paths were much improved and there were a lot fewer linemen in space blocking air.

The best play of the day was the Storm Barrs-Woods run to start the second drive of the third quarter.  Not only was it a nice 28 yard run, but it was the line doing things right.  Both tackles were driving their guys to the sidelines, Mitchell and Isaac had a combo block as the hole was supposed to be to the left. They did such a good job, as did Stanton clearing out the edge, that when Storm came to the hole, he did a quick fake the left to seal the combo blocks and then took off to the right and had a whole bunch of green in front of him. The defense fought against the combo block as the interior three linemen had been getting to the second level with ease all game long. Similar to a fisherman setting a hook, Barrs-Woods used a quick cut to get the defenders momentum going left before breaking right. That was just enough to fly through the hole untouched and make the biggest play of the game.

What the Heck?
There were not a lot of What the Heck? moments this weekend.  The biggest one is just seeing how many teams in the Pac-12 North have serious offensive line issues.  Washington had a lot of struggles on the edges against Utah State, especially with their receiver blocking. Even though by and large they were bigger and faster than all of Utah State’s team, they still struggled.

USC looked pretty pedestrian up front, though the Stanford front seven is partly to blame.  The Trojan front five were very athletic in space, but not a lot of violence or aggression in the trenches.  The ducks also have some serious issues along their line, especially on the right side. Georgia State was able to  get quite a bit of pressure most of the game.

This Friday will be interesting.  I think that Stanford’s offensive line is better than Michigan’s.  I felt like Michigan didn’t really get going until our offense failed and they didn’t have to bother passing on any downs because of their lead. I think Stanford’s defensive front, especially without Anderson, are going to be a bit worse than Michigan’s.

As young as OSU is, there is always hope that each week will be much better than the last.  If they can improve over last week, and especially over the Michigan game two weeks ago, I think they will surprise some people.  If Stanford comes out and can get pressure rushing four players, we are going to have a long day.

My What the Heck is an overall condemnation of offensive lines in our conference.

Go Beavs (PRO)

The Official Candy Report Awards: San Jose State

A day late but a dollar stronger!  My awards are pretty straight forward this week, so here we go:

Halloween Spice Drop Award of Excellence:
Storm Barrs-Woods. There is no way anyone else gets it.  He had a monster game, some huge runs but also a lot of great blocks to spring Collins.  The biggest difference as many in Beaver Nation have mentioned, was his aggressive running style and Roger Craig-esque high knees on contact.  He did a good job protecting the ball and himself, while also delivering blows. The other item I noticed was how well he used his blockers this week. The big run at the start of the second half was not just well blocked, but just a back using his blocks the best he can. One cut and then hit the hole fast and hard before the defense can adjust.

150+ yards on 17 carries is a great day of work for the man!

That is the kind of running we need this week and nothing would make me happier than to be giving this award to Storm next week as well. Great work man!

JujiFruit Award of Improved Performance:
I am going to go a little out of the box here and offer up Manase Hungalu.  Before this week, I would have been hard pressed to remember how to spell his last name. Now, I want to get it tatooed on my arm or face. He was an animal, flying all over the field and showing that awesome mix of speed, size and aggression.  With him and Mageo out there, it is not safe for opposing ball carriers to be out on the field.  11 tackles for Hungalu and one for a loss as the 230 pound missile ran around crushing San Jose State players left and right. It felt a lot more like great Beaver defenses of the past to have a couple of players step up at linebacker, and that is all right with me!

Welcome on board the award train Manase!

Good ‘N Plenty Award of Shame:
I think I am going to go with USC.  Sure, we all know Sark is good for one or two ridiculous losses a year.  We know that he had a rough off season that culminated in a series of unfortunate personal decisions.  We also know that USC as a staff has some issues.  A team that talented, like fellow Week 3 losers Alabama, should never rarely lose at home to anyone.  Especially a team with the flaws that Stanford has.

USC has a ton of talent, but they were unable to get any pressure on Stanford’s inconsistent quarterback Kevin Hogan.  Sloppy penalties took kick return points and big plays off the board, leaving them handicapped.  A boring defense was shredded by Stanford while the abandonment of a successful run game led to them being too far behind to pull it out in the end.  This was USC’s best chance to play in the playoffs since the Pete Carroll days not just because they are talented, but because there are no real other dominant teams out there. They still may be a playoff team when all is said and done, but USC blew a huge opportunity this weekend and it could effect the whole conference come November.

San Jose State: 5 Stats I Liked and Didn’t Like

Despite them trailing 21-14 at halftime and leaving me shaking my head in bewilderment in Section 9, I wasn’t really worried the Beavers wouldn’t rally and defeat San Jose State. And thanks to the third quarter that’s exactly what they did. Here’s a my take on the game, based on the numbers.

5 Stats I Liked:
21… Points scored in the third quarter. The outburst allowed the Beavers to turn a 21-14 deficit into a 35-21 advantage and they never looked back. Those points were the result of a variety of plays: a 31-yard touchdown pass, a 10-yard QB run, and 41-yard interception return. It easily marked the Beavers’ best quarter of the season.

0… Points allowed by the defense in second half. It wasn’t only the offense that stepped up after halftime. The OSU defense put the clamp on the San Jose State offense — holding it to 92 yards in the second half. Linebacker Caleb Saulo provided the highlight with a 41-yard interception return for touchdown with 3:35 left in the third quarter.

333…Yards Rushing. The scouting report on SJSU was that it was susceptible to the run, especially mobile QBs. And well, the Beavers did nothing to dispel that as they averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Seth Collins continued to flash his speed and athleticism with 114 yards and two touchdowns. He is third among QBS nationwide in rushing yards.

8.9… YPC for Storm Barrs-Woods. He turned in arguably the best performance of his career, rushing for 151 yards on 17 carries and a TD. More impressively, was the fact that he ran with authority, hitting the holes or outside hard and finishing runs. For good measure, he also busted out 38-yard run.

11… Tackles for Manase Hungalu. The sophomore linebacker from Hawaii was seemingly all over the place for the Beavers against SJSU, while tying for the team lead in tackles (one of which was for loss) He hit hard and finished well. His physical and consistent style of play represented the improvement that the OSU defense has made so far this season.

5 Stats I Didn’t Like:
10-75, 4:45…  Number of plays and amount of time it took for San Jose State to score on the series of the game. Credit the SJSU coaches for coming out of the gate firing, the Spartans mixed it up and moved right down the field. It was a very dink, dink, but effective approach that appeared to catch the Beavers off guard.

21-14… Spartans at halftime. A muffed punt and an interception by the Beavers in the first half gave SJSU great field advantage — and they converted both into touchdowns, en route to taking a surprising lead into halftime.

0-2… On field goal attempts. Yes, one was a 48-yard attempt, but Garret Owens didn’t have his best performance against SJSU, as he missed all of his field goal attempts. He missed a much more makable attempt from 40 yards in the fourth quarter. The Beavers can’t afford to leave too many points on the board, because they could be hard to come by this season.

135 yards… Passing for the Beavers. Starting to sound like I’m beating down a dead horse, isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong, Collins is slowly, but surely improving. But the harsh reality is the Beavers need to be able to pass the ball more effectively, because teams such as Stanford and UCLA will be strong against the run.

1… Sack by the OSU defense. As impressive, and at times dominant, that the Beavers have looked on defense, I still have concerns about the push they are getting upfront. It would be nice see the pocket collapsing and some sacks occurring, creating more long situations for opponents. OSU’s one sack was a nice one by Kyle Peko, though.

All in all, a nice win for the Beavers heading into their Pac-12 opener against all-of-sudden surprising Stanford. What stats stood out to you from the San Jose State game? Go Beavs! (RW)

The Official Candy Report: San Jose State

Oh the pendulum of college football swings wide again this week.  After a pretty miserable first week of Pac -12 play in week one, the conference rebounded and had a solid week two, except for the State of Oregon.  Week three saw the pendulum swing back and a lot of teams looked as if they took a step or six backwards.

For the Beavers, there were good moments and seemingly a lot of momentum at the end of week one, this carried over for exactly two drives the next week (one offensive and one defensive) until they got just worn out by Michigan.  Coming back this week, there were a lot of issues that needed to be addressed, some small and some big.  By the end of week 3, many of those were addressed and in a big way.

The reality of the 2015 Beavers is that they are a defensive team.  They have shown this each week as the defense has been either the consistent strength of the game or the last man standing.  The offense took a few leaps forward this week as well, but is still a work in progress. Ultimately, it was enough to beat San Jose State.  Unlike their Pac-12 North brethren, the Beavers are not going to just be able to outscore teams at will.  Washington, our closest counterpart, needed a lot of razzle dazzle to get their points and have yet to have a game that wasn’t in part decided by special teams.

In my mind, the best part of the team, as a unit, is the secondary. Coach Odum’s squad are on fire, giving up just one touchdown through the air (on a broken play) all season and no passes of over 25 yards yet.  They have been able to keep everything in front of them and seem to always be around the ball for support in runs as well.  All of this without a huge push by the defensive line or a ton of sacks. They showed that this week, especially in the second half really clamping down on the San Jose receivers all game long.

The next best unit is the offensive line.  They managed the line of scrimmage most of the game.  In fact, with Drew Clarkson getting his first start at guard, the interior three really were physically dominant and pushed around the defense all day long. The great thing with this team is the depth they are building at offensive line.  Clarkson being ready to go is a huge step for the Beavers to now have some options on the interior.  Fred Lauina was playing pretty well so for Clarkson to be getting these reps, you have to be pretty confident in his abilities.

Finally our linebackers, particularly Mageo, have really been stepping up a lot this season.  We have seen some great play by them all over the field. Manase Hungalu had a monster game and was all over the place against San Jose State.  You also have Caleb Saulo making plays left and right with a fantastic interception return for a touchdown.  The aggressiveness of the defense seems to start with this group and they definitely answered the call to step up this week.

Leaving Ann Arbor, it was not a lock that OSU was going to win this week. The first half did nothing to quell those fears.  But the coaches made adjustments, the team narrowed down their mistakes and exploited the mistakes of their opponent. Like many games this weekend, it was about adjustments and making teams pay for turnovers and brain lapses.  If the Beavers can be the team that makes the least mistakes, they have a shot in all of their games.  Especially with their defense. In a year where there seems to be a lot of sketchy defenses in the Pac-12 North, the Beavers may have one of the best.

Any time you win it is great.  When a team this young can shake off a bad loss the week before AND make great half time adjustments to run away with the game, it is even better.  This is a learning year and the lessons taught in the San Jose State game will carry over in to the future. It is just always nice when those lessons are wrapped in a team victory.

Go Beavs (PRO)

Three quick thoughts from this weekend. (re: San Jose State)

  1. It is hard to change directions in a game.  When you come out and struggle, it is hard not to press and make your problems worse.  That happened at Michigan after the momentum shifted to the Wolverines and it happened this week at San Jose State.  Credit the coaches changes and the players belief in their leaders for this.  Comebacks are difficult no matter who the opponent is.  In the second half the defense looked like the 2007 defense.  It was fast, relentless and seemed to know what play was called all the time.  Or like Honey Badger, didn’t give two poops. They were coming and they were coming fast.

    When Coach Andersen said that San Jose was getting too much on first down, you saw that play out in the second half.  The Beavers consistently kept San Jose State in a second and long all half and because of this, they were able to bring heat from all over the place.  Predictable offenses are easier to play against.

  2. If I had to give out my offensive and defensive coaching MVP’s for the first quarter of the season, they would go to Coach Woods on offense and Coach Odum on Defense.

    Lets be honest, you all know I am an offensive line honk, but if you want to know what the most consistent group on the offense has been, it has been the offensive line.  Weber State was not great, but the job they did against Michigan far exceeded my expectations.  There were some brain cramps for sure in Ann Arbor, but physically, they matched up well against the Wolverines. Saturday, they were machine like all game.  I haven’t done my full review for the Trench Report, but I am pretty sure they will grade out quite well.

    The more shocking pick for me is probably Coach Odum.  Derrick Odum didn’t come with the same fan fare as did his contemporaries on the Beaver staff, but he has done an exceptional job all season. No team has completed a pass over 25 yards on the Beavers this year and they have only given up one passing TD all season.   In fact, they have only given up 5 passes of over 20 yards all season, and of those 5, only 3 were to receivers.  While these numbers alone are great, what is even better is when you factor in how they are doing it.  OSU is blitzing virtually every play, and while they are getting pressure, they are not getting a ton of sacks. So in a lot of cases, the secondary is working with a lot of space and being forced to cover for a long time.  Decoud, Scott, Strong and Noland-Lewis are doing an amazing job with Decoud being my MVP of the secondary this year.

  3. 3 games into the season and there is one thing I think we can all agree on:  No week is a sure thing for anyone.  The north is not good, as Raju and I predicted, but Cal could beat anyone as easily as the ducks could lose to anyone.  I want to say that WSU is the worst, but when I watched the ducks play against Georgia State, a team that didn’t exist six years ago, I just don’t see how the ducks will get a stop against WSU.  Or Cal.  Or Stanford.  Or anyone to be honest.  It is just a weird, weird season where literally no team is safe.  I always knew Sark was good for one or two terrible losses a year (See Boston College last year, Stanford this year) but for some reason people still bet high on them.  UCLA looks fine against teams that have terrible defensive lines, but get a team with a good one, and they look pedestrian.  ASU could lose to WSU. Utah may not have any players left by the time they come to Corvallis, yet they still will be a huge test for the ducks.

    All in all, the first quarter of the season looks amazing from a fun and newness standpoint and infuriating for any fan that wants to be confident in their team week to week.

All in all, great weekend to be a Beaver, and hopefully we get a long weekend to bask in another win this week!

Go Beavs (PRO)

PS: Chip Kelly will be the coach of Texas next year.  Just sayin’…

San Jose State: 5 Things to Watch

San Jose State (1-1) at Oregon State (1-1
When:
 5:10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis
TV/Radio: Pac-12 Networks/Beaver Sports Network
Series: 3-2, OSU. The two teams last met in 1997 inside then-Parker Stadium. The Beavers won the game 26-12. The Spartans head coach? Current OSU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin
SJSU’s last game: Lost 37-16 to Air Force.
Notable: Baldwin coached the Spartans from 1997-2000. He coached WRs previously at SJSU from 1980-83; OSU receivers coach Brent Brennan was an assistant coach for the Spartans from 2005-10, before leaving for the Beavers; SJSU tight ends/special teams coach Dan Ferrigno was on the OSU coaching staff from 1987-1995; The Beavers are scheduled to play a return game in San Jose in 2020.

5 Things to Watch:
Can the Beavers establish the run?
After averaging 1.8 yards per carry against Michigan, the Beavers have nowhere to go but up on the ground, right? San Jose State isn’t particularly strong against the run, so OSU needs to take advantage, whether it’s Barrs-Wood, Brown, or Sands during most of the damage.

Can the QBs complete more than 10 passes? Even if OSU has its way running the ball against the Spartans, hopefully that should open up the passing game and allow Collins or whoever is at QB to throw the ball with confidence. It’s important that the Beavers have some sort of balance and rhythm passing the ball as it heads into Pac-12 play.

Will McMaryion play? Speaking of QBs, will McMaryion play? And I don’t mean thrown into tough situations such as pinned inside his own 10 yard-line, etc. He needs a chance to show what he can do, so put him in when there’s not so much pressure on him. After all, what happens if he gets in a groove? Maybe he’s a much better passer than he’s shown.

Will the Beavers be more disciplined? They racked up eight penalties against Michigan, some of which were  downright silly and shocking. With 15 through two games, penalties have been one of the most surprising facets of the Andersen era so far. I think most Beavers fans expected this team to cut down its penalties from the previous two seasons.

More of a defensive push… I’m loving what I’ve seen from the OSU defense. It’s been better than advertised — physical, reactive, and smart. So I’d like to see these players come out and just overwhelm SJSU’s offensive line, running backs, and quarterback. It would set things up nicely for their matchup against what should be a solid Cardinal O-line.

What are you looking for this Saturday? What are your keys to the game? Go Beavs! (RW)

Trench Report: Michigan

So this year I am going to try grade the offensive line for each game. In most cases, a group of five players can get dicey. You can have four guys playing great, and then one blows it and makes them all look bad. So I wanted to use the grading system that I know to not grade their performance, but also to give a shout out to the guys who are consistently getting it done.

GRADES:
The grading system is simple:

1 – The block led to a touchdown or huge game-changing play.
2 – The block was exceptional and led to domination over their opponent.
3 – The block was the bare minimum to make the play work. He did his job, but not in a way that dominated the opponent. So basically, an average to poor block.
4 – This play was a negative game-changer. A hold or other penalty, giving up a bad sack, or whiffing on a player that makes a huge play. No bueno.

An average grade of 2.5 is the goal. You want to dominate your opponent and help all plays work. An average of 3+ means you did OK, and didn’t necessarily hurt the team, but didn’t help a lot either. An average of 3.5 means you got worked most of the game, which probably contributed to a loss.

A team average of below 3 means your team most likely won the game. A team average of below 2.5 and you definitely won — and won big. A team average of above 3 means you might have won, but there is a lot of work to do.

WEEK 1:  Weber State
Top Grade Average: 2.95, Isaac Seumalo
Team Grade Average: 3.03

WEEK 2.  Michigan
Top Grade Average: 2.84, Josh Mitchell
Team Grade Average: 2.97

Week overview: This makes the game hurt more. There was some really good line play. There were 21 2.5 grades and 17 2.0 grades. I never give 2.0s unless big plays are sprung, but the fact is there were some really good blocks out there — lots of great blocks on the second level and lots of great blocks driving guys to the ground at the line of scrimmage, especially by Josh Mitchell.

If I had to give a most improved award, outside of Josh, it would be Fred Lauina. He really moved well in space and had some good blocks. The problem in this game, among many others, was there were 12 plays that earned “4” grades. When you have only 53 plays (56 including penalties) that is almost a fifth of your plays, and 1/5th of the plays had errors that led to sacks, killed important 3rd or fourth down plays, or had costly penalties.

Here is an example:
Early in the game, OSU goes for it on 4th and 7 and runs a receiver screen play, where Jordan Villamin ran underneath the other two wide receivers (it was a trips formation) and caught the ball on his way to the first down. Now everyone (announcers, fans, etc.) got on Villamin’s case about not veering to the sideline on this play. That play was pretty fast and while the throw wasn’t perfect, it was good enough that he MIGHT have been able to angle toward the sideline better. But the play is designed to go inside (towards the center) and that path would have been an exception to how they want it ran.

Unfortunately, that is not what killed the play. What killed the play was the guard not looking inside out to who to block. He was looking to the side where all the other blockers were. Had he looked inside sooner, he would have had a chance to block the first guy in, and Villamin would have had enough cushion to make the first down.

That was a huge play and it is a very, very simple fix to make it more successful in the future.

Ultimately, that is what I saw. A lot of plays where you had a great combo block, and then one missed block by a tight end or a whiff block on a guy, when everyone else is pushing their guys around. There were still too many bad angles by ball carriers, especially on fly sweeps, but overall, there was some really good blocking that was not represented in the final statistics.

Hopefully, they can clean this up, because the first half should have been much more competitive and the Beavers should’ve scored more points. There was a lot of good stuff by the front five that was negated by mistakes, bad reads, drops, or types of decisions that young players make. If OSU gets a 2.9 or lower this next week, it will blow San Jose out.  If the Beavers get below a 2.9 against Stanford, it should be a win for them.  Every week, we are finding new mistakes and every week some of those are getting corrected. Watching the line again gave me more hope than I thought. Our offense line was easily a match for their defensive front.  There were just too many little mental errors to overcome.

What the Heck?
Let’s not just assume the line messed up, OK?  I have read a lot of that, but the reality is even the team graded some linemen as the top offensive performers for any position. When I watched the game again, I realized how close OSU was on a lot of plays. When we just throw out blanket statements about the line, in many cases, we are blaming the wrong people. Running backs, tight ends, H-backs, and the like all contribute to how a play is blocked. Quarterbacks do as well. it serves them no purpose to sit and watch the play, when they could sprint away like they have the ball or drop back like they are going to pass.

What happened in Michigan was the result of a lot of mental errors leading to stalled drives.  The line cannot decide if the defensive keys on, say, a hand off to the running back or keeps focused on a read option. The line cannot block eight people with five. The line cannot catch the ball or throw the ball. Ultimately, the effort and ability of this line was good enough to put a lot more points on the board than the Beavers did. They graded out below a 3.0, meaning by and large, they did what it took to at least make the play run. Usually, when you can get all 5 guys playing at that level, you win a lot of games. I have more hope for this team today than I did several days ago because I realized that the line made huge gains against a much more talented opponent.  That is good for OSU football. Go Beavs! (PRO)

The Official Candy Report Awards: Michigan

The Halloween Spice Drop Award of Excellence:
It is rare that this happens, but always a blessing for me. When you watch the film, as my trench report tomorrow will show, you will find that we have a pretty damn good center.  In fact, Josh Mitchell was the best player on offense for the Beavers, and maybe on the whole field in Ann Arbor. Josh not only managed a very stout front seven, he made the correct calls, blocked like a mad man and owned players all day.  It is rare that linemen stand out to most people, but for those that think I am taking crazy pills, multiple sources have graded Josh out very well, including our very own Coach Andersen.

I gladly give you the gift of the Spice Drop Josh, as you have earned it with more than just your play. Your leadership and experience are invaluable this year and will leave an impact on the next few to boot.  Enjoy!

The Jujifruit Award for Most Improved Player
This one was a little harder, but in the end, I have to go with Kyle Peko.  Kyle was tossing guys around like bean bags in a giant, 100,000 fan corn hole game. It was such a great moment for me to see Kyle make those plays because of all the struggle he has had to get here.  While the announcers took a jab at his scholastic struggles, they forgot to mention that he did everything he was told to by OSU, and that OSU was wrong.  They also forgot to mention how hard he worked to make OSU better last year, even with his future in doubt.  Kyle is someone we should all want to root for.  A good man, a good father and a good husband.  He is also apparently a great freaking football player who will only get better. In a game with few bright spots in the final three quarters, Kyle was a good one and someone to watch in the future.

Great job #99!

The  Good N Plenty Award of Shame
This week was tough.  I mean you had some really horrid football going on.  While the Pac-12 North, outside of the great state of Oregon, rebounded well, you also had teams like Auburn that looked like the most physically talented inept team East of Hawaii.  There was just a lot of bad football in general this weekend.  Unfortunately, something worse was revealed that had overshadowed bad college play.

The NFL and its group of lying liars.

Now while I am not a fan of the guy and he played pretty horrid, Jameis Winston cannot help that his team is horrid. He cannot help that he was drafted by a team that is run by a coach whose best QB he has ever had was Jay Cutler.  He cannot help that they decided that a player how played on a team that was virtually hand picked with talent in a weak conference (Florida State) was more valuable than a player who played in one of the toughest conferences in the nation and had noticeably less supporting talent.  It is not his fault that they felt someone that had a lot of off the field issues and more interceptions last year than the second overall pick had in his entire career was the best choice for a team with a ton of holes in it.

It is not his fault that every decision made by the NFL, from announcers to columnists, to radio personalities created a persona that Florida’s own Winston was the second coming of Joe Montana.  It is the NFL’s.

I as not surprised by what happened at Tampa because I knew all along that the NFL was lying.  I knew for three reasons:

  1. Steve Mariucci was adamant that Winston was the best interview he had ever had.  This cannot be possible since he coached Steve Young and interviewed players like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  It is also not true because Winston has looked lost since the Pre-Season, something that Manning never did.  It may have been a funny interview, Winston is a funny guy, but to say he has the best X’s and O’s mind he has interviewed is a stretch.  If so, he should never have looked lost.
  2. Additional lies were abound in the NFL combine where Winston had issues completing NFL throws to spots on the field.  He ran an almost 5 second forty and did nothing to separate himself from anyone.
  3. Agents knew he had issues. Agents are always right.

This is just another example of the NFL wanting to create excitement (Manziel) without substance. It is the manufacturing of a star where there are serious doubts.  A guy that makes terrible personal decisions isn’t going to just turn on great on the field decisions. Especially for a quarterback. I really hate the NFL. I hate the way it runs as an organization, as a non-profit and how it basically does just enough to distract you from how evil it really is.

The story on Sunday shouldn’t have been about Peyton and Leaf, or what a bust Winston is. Winston always had questions and always was going to be a project on a terrible team with a terrible system.  But thanks to the NFL wanting to make a few more bucks in the spring, they basically set Winston up to fail. Good work NFL, you kind of suck.

This crappy award is for you, NFL. I should give you a lifetime achievement award, since it seems like every week you are in the running.