As we get ready for the first game of the Beavers’ 2016 season, I wanted to take time to accent some of the biggest battles for the game against the Golden Gophers:
- Beaver Guards and Centers versus Minnesota’s Defensive Tackles:
Minnesota returns some pretty athletic depth at defensive tackle. The Beavers return two very experienced guards in Lauina and Andrews, but also break in a brand new center in Yanni Demogerontas. Minnesota has some of the same names from last year like Stephen Richardson and Skott Expe, but also have introduced JC DT Merrick Jackson who has been impressive in practice. Minnesota is so stacked at DT that they are toying with some 3-4 formations to get more of their DT’s on the line of scrimmage and utilize their depth at linebacker to get pressure on the QB.
Minnesota is going to try and put a lot of pressure on the interior three linemen of Oregon State and hope they can keep them from getting to the second level with their double teams. Or even worse, that they can get penetration with one or two players on the inside and ruin the read option mesh for our run plays. Andrews, Lauina and Demgerontas are going to be asked to not just stop them, but move them and get them to pick a side. Hopefully that side is their back side five yards down the field.
- Darrel Garretson vs the Minnesota Secondary:
While Minnesota graduated two NFL draft picks in their secondary, they do return two of their top tacklers in the secondary and two corners that have game experience. Currently 3 members of their secondary are on multiple award watch lists. In addition, Minnesota has the most consecutive NFL draft picks in their secondary of any Division 1 school. So their coaching is probably decent from technique to talent evaluation.
On the flip side, Garretson should be playing catch with one of the deepest and most talented groups on OSU’s team right now. Should the receivers be able to get open, how will Darrel do getting them the ball? That is a huge question for the whole season, not just this week. It is not going to be good enough to just improve on last year. This team will come at the Beavers and this secondary is a legit, Power 5 conference defense. So we will see how well Garretson does. If he lights it up, it should be a great indicator of what our offense will look like this year.
- Tracy Claeys vs Gary Andersen
Ask any Beaver or duck fan about the coach on the other team and you will most likely not hear nice things. If Chip Kelly was coaching Minnesota, Beaver fans would have a different feel for the game. Minnesota feels that way about Wisconsin. Many in Minnesota remember the 2013 game for the West title that ended in a confrontation in the endzone during the presentation of the axe trophy. While we don’t think much about it, and I am sure Coach Claeys isn’t putting a ton of stock in it, I also think that he will not be sad to come out and beat a Gary Andersen coached team.
These two coaches respect each other a lot, which is why Coach Claeys is not about to overlook the Beavers because of what he saw last year. In fact, he respects him so much, he actually had his players put the word ‘RESPECT’ on the helmets of the players they see as the biggest threats on the OSU team. This is not someone who is unfamiliar with what Andersen and his staff want to do at Oregon State. They know it very well and are going to be as ready as they can be.
It is going to be a crazy season, and the first game is as wild as it gets. We will see how the Beavers do on the road in a hostile environment. If you want to get a good idea of what this season will be like, the first game is the perfect start!
Go Beavs! Beat the Gophers! (PRO)