Who do you trust?

I have been struggling with something lately.  It is an unusual place for Orangey McOrange Pants to find himself, as someone that saw some good in Beaver Football from basically Kragthorpe on. It wasn’t always universal and it wasn’t always strong, but I always kind of trusted my assessments of the coaching staff, even before I really knew what I was talking about.  I always thought Kraghorpe needed just a bit better athlete and he could have done some damage at OSU.  I always thought that Pettibone just needed the offensive line and QB to run his offense. The injury to Tim Alexander against USC really crushed that team because he was the guy (and showing it) that could get it done for them.  Defensively they were there.

With Riley and Erickson, I knew we were always in it.  I had seen enough of both of them to know that they could get players, that they could evaluate talent, that they could develop talent and that they were going to be better than whatever you saw on paper.  More often than not, what was on paper was scary, yet they won a lot of games for Oregon State.

So with Andersen, I just instantly trusted him because of his reputation.  The three things I would attach to my opinion of Gary were recruiting acumen, defense and Intensity.  Wherever I read about him, I read about players loving him, about organized coaching systems and relentless recruiting. So I figured we would be fine with him and even predicted 5-6 wins last year, mostly because I thought he could do a lot with the offensive line talent we had (and because Coach Woods had crushed it in Wisconsin with similar talent).

Since then, things have changed. I have seen a lot and scratched my head a lot and been impressed a lot.  I feel like the three pillars of Gary Andersen that I felt coming in were his strengths have proven out. His players love him, he is relentless in recruiting and his whole organization is not only huge (31 staff members versus 20 for Riley) but a unified and efficient machine.  The thing is, if I am being honest, i didn’t really see the coaching or development aspect of his staff last year.  While there were tons of injuries and a modicum of internal turmoil and purging that needed to happen, I was left scratching my head on some of their decisions on personnel, on play calling and how the team just didn’t seem to improve, even individually.  Some will look at the duck game and say that was a huge improvement, but was it? I mean that was against the worst defense this side of Texas Tech and their specialty was the second half defensive melt down (see most of their games last year).

So now I find myself at a quandary.  it has been only one year and sheesh, I should get over myself right?  The thing is, i can’t.  Without the trust in their ability to develop talent and manage the game and make solid personnel decisions, i am kind of at a loss. I just have this kind of negative tint to how I view things.  Are the recruits we are getting going to be good enough for us to win in the Pac 12 if they are not going to be developed well enough or put into position to win? Are we going to be able to keep some of the position coaches we have if things go south in 2016?  Is the OSU job just too hard for coaches that don’t have a schtick that separates us from the rest?  Right now I am seeing a lot athletes with Beaver offers go elsewhere. Are we going to be constantly fighting the guys we initially wanted on Saturdays?

With coaches like Peterson, Leach and Shaw in the North alone, are we going to be able to get wins against them with less than stellar coaching?  Even Dykes has shown constant improvement, and that is a good place to start.  He cam into a Cal situation very similar to ours.  A program in disarray and with a mass exodus of players.  He promptly went out and won just one game in 2013, but then used a 4-1 start to go 5-7 and build some momentum. In that 5-7 campaign, they lost one game on a last second Hail Mary to Arizona (49-45).  In his third year the Dykes led Bears went 8-5 and had multiple draft picks and all conference players including the number 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

So are we going to be like Cal this year?  I am not sure.  Sonny Dykes has a proven offensive system that puts up tons of points. He is in a hotbed of talent at a school with an amazing academic reputation.  Dykes also inherited an amazing offensive arsenal with Lawler, Treggs, Goff and many others. Can OSU replicate that style of success without those advantages?  I am not sure.

With all of this in mind, i have decided to be Elsa and let it go.  To abandon my worries and fears and recognize that I cannot trust the coaches because I don’t know them yet. I don’t know how they handle adversity, how they prepare players and what they can do with their own, supposedly hand picked talent.  6pm on September 1st I will be able to truly start forming my opinion of this staff.  Whatever tsunami of terrible that washed over the team last year has passed and this year there is really no excuse to not see a good bit of improvement.  Two years of training, working, familiarizing and building of this team should show in the play on the field.

Just like any new relationship, I have to give it time to build that trust.  Just like every relationship, I cannot put too much stock in what other people say, but form my opinion with my own interactions with that person.  I cannot look at Andersen’s past and use that because each one of those coaching jobs were with another team with different needs, hurdles and advantages and staff. We had some rocky first few dates last year, now I am looking at going steady and I have to make sure I trust this staff enough to take this step because the implications will last for at least three or four years.

I mean, i am a precious flower after all.

What do you think?  Am I crazy?  Lonely? Both?

Go Beavs (PRO)

11 thoughts on “Who do you trust?

  1. Roger

    I am not as “off the deep end” as you seem to be. After all the losses, over all the years, I am willing to give these guys 2-3 more years. At 70 years old, the one thing I have learned is this – “have patience, grasshopper!” We have not had this kind of hard working, relentless staff before, we are not used to these kinds of resources being made available FB, we have never seen this kind of a national effort in recruiting. After only ONE season with this crew, I ask myself why so much angst out there, why so much negativity about recent commits day in/day out, why such a huge amount of woe is me/us?

    1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      Good points, and I appreciate your comments! I too am pretty sure i am way overreacting. 🙂 That being said, I look at what our peers are doing and I find reason for concern. We may very well come out and punch Minnesota in the mouth and start showing a new identity and be someone that teams hate to play and that they feel lucky to beat (if they can even do that). For me, I am just going to sit back and wait and see, but I am not going to assume anything. I am not going to pretend that our coaches are better than anyone else or that we will develop players better than anyone else because I have not seen them do it. So i am ready for whatever happens.

      As for recruiting, there is no way of knowing if these guys are going to be great or ok or terrible until we actually see them in a game. Most likely that won’t be for two or three years. So there is no reason to make them feel bad or to rip on players that choose to come to Oregon State. I just won’t do that. But I won’t pretend that I don’t think that teams we play every year are not recruiting very, very well. I will not look at a UW, who are in the top two for Foster Sarell, a 5* offensive lineman from Washington who is literally one of the best players I have seen in years coming out of high school and say that we out recruited them. Our guys through training and practice and coaching could end up better, but right now he is pretty dang good, and probably would be our best lineman the moment he walked on campus.

      So until I see our coaches show they can develop talent and coach them up on the field, I will probably worry about their evaluation of talent and who they are getting on campus. But I am patient and I can wait for them to prove one way or another that they can do it. When Mike Riley offered James Rodgers, I wasn’t super worried because he had my trust in his evaluation skills and James had exceptional film. Had Mike offered him in 2003, i would have probably been a lot more concerned. And, in the end, totally wrong about my evaluation. Which I may very well be now.

  2. Tanner Cheyne

    I know that I often come off as preachy, but I promise this is a comment meant for encouragement. I have thought the same way as you my entire life. I hate getting picked on. I hate the “little brother” comments. But I think one thing that separates true Beaver fans from the rest of the NCAA (rhetorically speaking) is our tenacity. I’ve never met a group of people who, despite all odds, still show up day in and day out to support our team. Look how we rallied behind Jonathan Smith, Ken Simonton, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Brandin Cooks, to the point that I (and others) thought they should have been legitimate Heisman candidates! Was it misguided thinking? Hell no! It was the kind of positivity that attracted me to OSU to the point where I was hellbent on graduating from OSU without exceptions. Sure that sort of thinking can get you in trouble, but the rewards are so much more pure. Look at the difference between Beaver fans’ opinions on the 2001 Fiesta Bowl and University of Oregon fans’ opinions on any of their championship bids. Does that make me a loser when I say that was my favorite year of Beaver football? No. I don’t expect a bowl season every year. But I want one because I want Oregon State athletes (specifically the football team) to be rewarded for competing at a high level while also attending one of the premier colleges in the nation (and if you don’t believe me there, remember that OSU is one of two colleges to have Land, Sea, Space, and Sun Grants). I want to know our players as people, not just be some sort of “Next Man Up.” I want to tailgate with the same group of drunkards every fall because they feel the same way as me. We all have our “What was Riley thinking?” stories. We all have our first game stories. And we all have our “I was at the game where they upset” stories. We all have that common underdog mentality. But that mentality proves itself year after year. We are not an elite football team. We will never be an elite football team. If that’s what the great people of Oregon want, cheer for the Ducks, or Alabama, or the New England Patriots. I’ve come to the realization lately that football is more than just a championship. A trophy is just a trophy. Memories, on the other hand, build communities. That’s why I’m a part of Beaver Nation. Go Beavs!

    P.S. Tell Raju I say hi. I could say it myself, but I like hitting on him in a public forum too.

  3. Gary Sedivy

    I agree with you, and choose to hold off making a judgement on Anderson as a head coach. I felt that fans were overly critical of Riley, and put way too much hope and faith in Anderson and his new staff. Last year was a debacle, from lousy defense to awful quarterbacking. I thought Anderson’s staff did not adjust to adversty very well, which is one of the main complaints some fans had about Riley’s staff.
    I think the jury is still out. If there is not improvement, significant improvement in the quality of offense and defense, it will be very, very, very disappointing.

  4. nancy osborne

    I think you are a super fan so I will give you a very showy sunflower in orange and black!!

  5. wcbeav

    “With Riley and Erickson, I knew we were always in it.”
    I agreed wholeheartedly with this statement until 2009 (Vegas Bowl) and I would not be prone to take to task folks who “believed” up until the Alamo Bowl. But at some point it was not the same Riley and in 2013 and 2014 we were basically never “in it”. Maybe Mike will find his mojo again in Lincoln, but that is just me being nice. My opinion is that college football passed Mike Riley by, he was lost on the sidelines his last two seasons (plus the second half of the Alamo Bowl). It is inarguable that modern offenses passed Mark Banker by on a November afternoon in 2008 and he never recovered and Riley never thought to replace him.

    1. wcbeav

      Ooops, no “edit” so I will continue by saying that Andersen is a guy who believes and wears that belief on his sleeve making him a great fit for OSU. Will he get Oregon State into the upper echelon of the PAC12 and reach a BCS bowl or four? I’m skeptical on that point but I do believe if he can’t do it, basically no one can (within the rules). It’s a daunting task but at least he has a vision. A vision that OSU hasn’t seen since OSC had it under Tommy Prothro. I also think given the nature of college football and where it’s headed, OSU is “on the clock”.

    2. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      I would say the ASU game in 2014 and the Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona games in 2012 were examples of always being in it. I don’t think Banker had as much of an issue with modern offenses as they had issues building quality depth. The biggest mistake in my mind was the firing of Newhouse and then hiring of two offensive recruiting coaches. Had they gotten a solid LB coach who could recruit those few years, maybe the defense would have been better. I love Newhouse, but he was the one that presided over the late 2000’s classes that really saw OSU take a step back athletically. After LaRoque as a JC, the linebacker group really struggled, and struggled to develop.

      Ultimately, everything that needed to happen did. Riley needed to go, we needed something different and we will see what path the Beavers take from here on out. But I just get tired of people stamping on Riley’s nuts every week, especially since it will take a huge leap for the coach replacing him to be able to match his success. I hope he does and I hope this year ends up better than I think it will, but ultimately, 2017 is the year that most of the team should be Andersen guys, and that will be the true test.

      1. wcbeav

        “I would say the ASU game in 2014 and the Wisconsin, UCLA and Arizona games in 2012 were examples of always being in it. I don’t think Banker had as much of an issue with modern offenses as they had issues building quality depth.”

        Well it’s your blog Peter, but the ASU game, albeit it a solid win (and coming one week after arguably the worst loss in program history) was one of Riley’s two wins (the other a squeaker against a rotten Colorado team) in his last 14 conference games. Two and twelve doesn’t scream “always in it” to me. As for Banker, I find your comment laughable (no offense) as the Beavers absolutely stunk against spread offenses and mobile QBs even in the first quarter of games and early in the season. If I really wanted to be a jerk (oh, why not?) it’s more like “always in it” better describes FCS teams visiting Reser towards the end of the Riley era. And I’m not “stomping on” anybody’s privates, just stating facts.

        Do you think Riley can match Pelini’s 67-27 at NU?

        I worry about Andersen as well, but Riley was done in (and with) Corvallis for whatever reason, as you (sort of) stated.

        Go Beavs!


        1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

          I think Riley will surpass Pelini because Pelini is far worse than Riley. We will see when it is all said and done, but last year was going to be horrid for the huskers no matter what, especially with Pierson-El out for the season and the class they had coming in before Riley salvaged it with four four star players to close out the class.

          But as for Banker, lets be clear, the last two seasons under Riley were not awesome. But your numbers are a bit misleading since you left off the four conference wins in 2013. So while 6-12 is not acceptable, it is not 2-14. And if you look at the spread options, high octane teams they played after 2012, in 2013 they lost by one to the ducks while holding them to the third fewest points all season, they never gave up more than 23 defensive points to ASU in the Graham era, WSU only had 1 win in 3 tries agains Banker and all 3 games they held them below their season average for points and yards. They won both their games against Rich Rod and Arizona. The teams that they had the most trouble with was the ducks, which while inexcusable was the norm for everyone, and the Huskies in the last two years (His defense played great in Seattle in 2012 but didn’t get the win). His defenses regularly played well against USC (until 2013), UCLA, Utah (with the exception of 2013) and Stanford.

          But like you said, and we can both agree, 2013 and 2014 were not signs of a program on the rise and his time needed to be done. For lots of reasons. What is going on at Nebraska is the result of the fog clearing for him, and him making tough decisions about who to take and who to leave as well as hitting home runs with his hires of Keith Williams and John Parrella this year. They have the staff and recruiting to dominate the B1G West in the next two or three years.

          So I agree with everything past the Pelini question. 🙂 And, I think you are awesome and am glad you came to make me earn it on my blog!

  6. Blowcheese

    Blowcheese here. Nice takes Peter71. I think you are where I am as far as not having expectations. In a broad sense I trust GA being head of the program. I know his command isn’t perfect but fans will buy in if Beavs can start showing life. That’s where the question marks come in for me. Longer term fans remember that the turnaround from worst to first really started with Riley I inheriting Rocky Long’s D and then building a between the tackles run game about 1997. I distinctly remember Beavs winning a game in the 4th quarter against one of the Texas Big 12 schools at their place by running the damn ball. I was staining my fence outside and listening to Aune ( I think?) and distinctly remarking Hey this is different. It was a very efficient Joe Lunchbucket tough you out win. Didn’t seem like an upset, it just seemed like Beavs knew what they were doing.

    Beavs have not known what they were doing for at least a couple of seasons now. Whatever system Riley had was broken before he even left. The hallmarks of efficient quarterback play, run balance on O and hardnosed Linebacker U stingy Run D with all league corners owning their islands- That was gonzo a few years ago. Not sure why but it doesn’t matter now. What matters NOW is finding a hallmark to build around. I thought GA would be a defensive guy but Sitake’s schemes last year were woeful and worse the staff seemed to blame the players.

    Peter since you mentioned Cal and Wazzu as the next rung up on the comeback ladder it is important to mention they pass the snot out of the ball and that’s all they do. They will forever be limited by how good they play catch out there and yes its entertaining as hell and I would rather lose 47 to 56 than ANY loss we had last year but it’s still a feast and famine way to live. I don’t mind if GA goes the other way and tries to trademark a different niche around a bad ass defense or a team that toughs out wins in the 4th quarter with execution and conditioning and character.

    here’s the problem- I didn’t see Any tarmac getting laid down last year. The d*ck game was what you said it was. They got bored on a few possessions and turned the ball over to the beavs enough that it eventually made their piss poor defense actually tired. Not sure the score reflected a game that was put away in the second quarter.

    And that was it. In many ways this season feels like year 1 to me and if I see the big rolling machine rolling (no matter how slowly) and the orange crew out there sweating and smell the asphault cooking I will be ok with that. I do not want to see more senseless personnel shuffling, I do not want to see game plans being thrown to the wind because of a lopsided scoreboard. And I do not want to see players protecting themselves because the game seems out of reach. In short, it can be Year 1 in terms of results but the action better not look like last year if you want my trust.


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