Times are tough for Beaver bloggers these days. As the lean pickin’s in terms of wins refuse to mount up, the desire to read about their favorite team slips from the minds of Beaver Nation. As my paltry hit count can attest, the reality is that while most Beaver fans understand that Oregon State is going through a rebuilding and restructuring process that could take a year or two, that doesn’t mean they want to dwell on it.
And I get it. Writing this was not tops on my list of things to do today.
But today, all of the Beaver players continue to prepare for Washington State. Today they work hard to shrug off the last weekend and look forward to their next opponent. I am inclined to do the same thing, but want to toss one more hope grenade into the ocean of sadness that a loss like that brings. It is this simple thought:
Football is a game of inches.
Sure, that is a tired old adage, but it is tired because of use and it is used because it is true. Lets look at a few plays:
- Larry Scott had perfect coverage on an early 3rd down and 6 yards to go play. He was right in the hip pocket of the receiver and, while a little behind, it was going to take a perfect throw and catch to complete the ball. And that is what they got. If that ball was under-thrown by a few inches, if Larry could have been a few inches closer it could have just as easily been incomplete and forced a punt by the Wildcats early.
Instead, first down 50 yards down the field for the bad guys.
- In OSU’s first drive, they had a third and six after a solid run by Storm Woods. Seth hit Villamin with the pass, but he was a little late and behind in the delivery. Had Villamin gotten the ball a bit earlier he had a chance to adjust his path and potentially get the first down. Or if that pass comes a hair later and Villamin is able to use his body to block the defender, it is a first down and OSU continues on its way only down 7-0.
Instead, 4rth and 1 and OSU punts to the bad guys.
- Later in the first half, OSU was only down 10-0 the mistakes passing the ball seemed to lead the coaches to try and just run it down Arizona’s throats. They ran three straight runs up the middle with Ryan Nall. The first two got 8 yards but the last one got only one yard and left us in a punting situation once again. Had they ran a fly sweep or a different type of run one of those plays it may have made the difference (we averaged 6 yards per fly sweep). We also had a few missed blocks on the second run that made it harder for Ryan. Shore those up and we get a first down and maybe that changes the trajectory of the game.
Instead, 4th and 1 and OSU punts to the bad guys once again.
In all four of the Beavers’ first offensive possessions the game was not a blow out. 7 – 0, 10 – 0, 13 – 0 and 13-7 are all manageable deficits. Even at 20 – 7 OSU had the ball deep in their own territory but had a manageable 3rd and 5 turned into an unmanageable 2nd and 20 after a penlaty which led to a tipped screen pass and a quick trip to 27 – 7’sville.
Football is a crazy game. A blow out can start small with a dropped pass or a 3rd and long that turns into a 50 yard back breaking big play. A safety and a corner get confused/ 70 yard bomb to a player so wide open it feels like they just ran on the field off the sideline. That is not to say that the play to play grind didn’t have its share of issues. OSU has a lot to work on this week if they are going to hang with a WSU team that is riding high after a successful trip to Eugene.
But, every play has an impact. Win The Day is a silly lie. It is Win The Play, because you never know which one will be the one that changes the game. That is why championship teams try and be perfect for each one. Only then are the Beavers going to be able to win some games they shouldn’t. Only when each pass feels like the last so you better sell out on throw and catch. Only when each block or each line call seems like the most important one of the game. Only when you can play at a championship level from down one to down four on defense will the Beavers win consistently.
When the coaches say Respect the Process, I believe that is what they are talking about. It is not about just running a bunch of fun modern plays, but it is about being strong enough, fast enough, in shape enough and disciplined enough to play each play like it is the only one you have. It means to be able to attack violently and efficiently play after play until your opponent is worn down because your tank is never empty. That takes longer than six months of lifting. It takes longer than a single spring and fall camp of install. OSU will get there through hard work and recruiting. This past weekend sucked and I think we will see a better effort come Saturday. Will it be enough? I have no idea, but I will say this:
If the Beavers win, it will be because they did all the little things and won the game of inches. Emotion can cloud reality, but film never lies and in every blow out there are a hand-full of plays that were close, but not enough. I can think of six in the first two quarters, and that is, unfortunately, six to many.
Go Beavs! Beat the Cougs! (PRO)