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)