Anyone feel Disconnected?

Beaver Nation was spoiled under former coaches Dennis Erickson and Mike Riley — when it came to access. Their open-practice policies allowed fans to watch the Beavers up close and personal just about every day. It was easy to feel connected to the program and even get to know the coaches and players on a certain level.

How many of you spent a sunny afternoon or 10 at Pothro Field taking in a practice back then? If you did, you likely remember the family-like atmosphere. Fans of all ages and backgrounds, from children to college students, enjoying the coaches and players working together on technique, plays, and chemistry.

That kind of access went a long way toward creating excitement around the program, even when it was apparent the season could be a long one. When you feel like a part of something, it helps you whether the highs and lows.

Allowing open practices made the Silver Fox and Riles rarities in their profession, as many coaches close them off to fans and even the media due to wanting to keep a tight lid on things, as well ease their rampant paranoia (OK, I am kind of kidding about that, or am I?). Count current OSU coach Gary Andersen as one of those coaches who closes practices.

It’s Andersen’s program and he can do as he sees fit, of course. And I totally get why he favors closing practices. These days it seems like everything ends up online and out there for everyone to see. And would you put it past the Yucks to implement a spy at open practices? 🙂 But I got to be honest, closed practices at OSU feels weird.

It’s perhaps one of the reasons there seems to be a lack of buzz or whatever you want to call it around OSU football. I can’t see Andersen and Co. opening more than an occasional Saturday practice, so I am curious to see how the program and Beaver Nation build that connection that fostered so much enthusiasm and goodwill in the past. Maybe it won’t ever be the same. Maybe that’s the price to pay for more wins.

And of course, winning solves everything… Go Beavs! (RW)

3 thoughts on “Anyone feel Disconnected?

  1. Cameron

    The only thing Riley could do to keep fans interested in the team was hold open practices. Every Beaver fan knew we would lose at least 4 games in a given season. He had open practice to create a little bit of excitement to try to keep you interested before his let down of a season. I have watched many practices but could care less if I go. Wins on the field are all that matter. An open practice for the fans is pointless if we can’t win more than 8 games. Excitement for this team will come when we start seeing W’s. Until then, I would rather they have closed practices and the coaches work the hell out of the players to get them ready for the season. A true Beaver fan is always a part of the team. Excitement is carried over from the success of the previous season, and by the numbers, they have a lot more to worry about other than being “disconnected” from the fans.

    1. Peter Riley Osborne

      Well, I know very few Beaver fans truer than Raju, but your last sentence is totally true. I think right now many are manufacturing excitement because the product on the field was not awesome last year. While I understand your sentiment about Riley and losing 4 games, Erickson also had opened practices. For me, I agree with Raju. I loved going to practices and feeling like I was a part of it. I brought my daughters and they had fun, got to meet players and got to enjoy what I love. Watching the Beavers. So I disagree with your assessment on the value of open practices. I loved them and miss them. But that is just my opinion, just as you have yours. The reality is, without winning no method is really amazing. I would say waiting for wins to be excited is hard as well.

      Finally, I would say that we should be careful poo pooing seasons where we lose four games. We may be pining for those days in the near future if the current staff cannot make the changes they want/need to. With the rise of UW and Cal, as well as solid teams in Arizona, Stanford, the crap sacks and LA, wins are not going to be easy to come by even if we do improve. We will have to do a lot better job recruiting and in our scheme if we are going to get out of the North with wins over Stanford, Cal, UW and the ducks. And that is just the North. This is not a quick turnaround. This is a four to five year deal.

  2. Gary Sedivy

    I think some fans are being overly harsh towards the Riley era, and overly forgiving to Anderson. The statement by Raju, “That’s the price for winning”, presents a paradox. There aren’t wins, only massive losses. The confusion in the coaching staff has not been alleviated. It will take wins, more than four per season, to build excitement in the casual fan. The proof is in the results – and we haven’t seen good ones yet.


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