Sometimes you can watch a game and say “Wow, that is the blueprint for doing ‘x'”. I remember hearing that when Stanford beat the ducks a few years back and many thought that the Chip Kelly offense had been deciphered by the Cardinal. And in a way it had been. What was the answer?
Recruiting better players at every position.
Stanford as a team is disciplined and has sound schemes, But they are not clever or unique schemes. They are schemes based on age old defensive techniques and one other really important ingredient: Winning all the one on one battles.
When OSU played ISU this fall, Idaho State made some good plays and had some bright moments. They left the game very happy with the results because they competed well against the Beavers. The reason was, they knew they were out-manned at every single position. They knew that if they lined up and tried to take the Beavers on 11 on 11 play after play, they were going to lose and lose big. Which they did. But that game for the Beavers didn’t feel great because ISU had success against us, and the Beavers are just too talented for a team like ISU to have that kind of success.
That was this week. Stanford was just too talented. Our line couldn’t sustain blocks and the Cardinal were getting pressure rushing 3 and 4 players. Our receivers had a hard time getting open and our QB had a hard time standing upright. On defense, we had no answer for their run game. Their passing was horrendous and they really only passed a few times because most of what they wanted to do on the ground worked. In fact, had it not been for bad snaps by Stanford’s first year starter at center, the game might never have been as close as it was.
For Beaver Nation fans, we shouldn’t leave that Stanford game thinking we blew it. We should be excited at how well we really did against a team that is finally healthy and is honestly the most talented team in the conference. Maybe even more so than Washington. This was not a blow out and it was never going to be because Stanford has a terrible offense. This was also a Stanford defense that has been mired in injuries and young new starters going through growing pains and is now finally healthy. Look at this injury report for their WSU game. Not a stellar look for a team that was playing a high octane offense.
I left the Stanford game and my recent reviewing of it impressed with some of the play by the Beavers. I also left a little concerned about some of our position groups and how we are going to respond to some of the injuries and dings from this weekend as we prepare for a road game against equally dinged up UCLA. All I know is that this game was the litmus test of where we are at in terms of talent and the answer is not quite there. Good things and bright spots, but we still have a lot of recruiting upgrades to make before we can turn this game around and make a boring but talented Stanford have to work hard to stay in the game.
THE HALLOWEEN SPICE DROP AWARD OF SUPER GREAT STUFF
I tossed and turned on this one a bit. I wanted to give this player the Jujifruit Award to be honest, because of their limited time on the team and limited reps in the field. But Andrzej Hughes-Murray really was just a beast all game and deserves an award for excellence. His 9 tackles were tied for the lead and his one tackle for a loss was a huge play for the Beavers. He also was instrumental in a lot of plays that forced Stanford to go away from the goal of the play. Andrzej is tough enough to take on blockers while being athletic enough to get around them. He is a part of a nucleus of great players that Andersen and his staff have brought in on the defensive side of the ball. Great work Andrzej!
JUJIFRUIT AWARD OF IMPROVEMENT
This one I am going to give to Blake Brandel. The Redshirt Freshman right tackle has been been thrown into the fire this year and for the first few weeks, it was hard to see a lot of improvement. The last three weeks it has been very visible. Blake has improved on finishing his blocks and his intensity from snap to whistle. As this rebuild continues to take shape, Brandel is one of the cornerstone’s of the future for the Beavers. Great work Blake!
GOOD N PLENTY AWARD OF SUPER CRAPPY THINGS
I waited until today to post this because I didn’t want to post the Candy Report on election day. Not because of ad clicks or media cycles, but because I knew what was going to get this award, no matter what the result of the election. This award of the worst in football is actually more about the worst in society. While I know I am setting a precedent of using this light hearted section for political or social reasons, I felt that nothing in football compared to what I was going through in the election.
We have a new president. Our system of electing presidents resulted in a winner in Trump and a loser who conceded in Clinton. But what happened around it was the worst. Not because of the candidates, they are who they are and we put them there. No, it is because of the way we were with each other. It was because people lost respect for family because of a barrage of memes on facebook (something I hate yet begrudgingly use so I really see no need to capitalize it because I don’t respect it or my own use of it). It was because my seven year old daughter came home in tears because of what was said to her at school. It was because I would look at a huge portion of the country that I love and think of them as idiots. Or worse, as un-American.
Today I am not happy and I was never going to be happy, because now I have to live with the feelings I have gained from the election cycle. I have to repair relationships or end them because they are beyond repair. I have to start to love again, because despite what I have seen recently, history has taught me that love always wins. It’s just that sometimes the battles are very, very bloody.
So this week, the winner of the award for being the worst is me. Because I let this election not be a discourse of ideas and compromise but instead a reason to hate. As I try and fix that, I hope that I can see others do the thing. Winning and losing are both things that can be done well or poorly. My hope and prayer for this country I love is that we do both of them well, because we are going to need each other to make sure that our ideas, dreams and goals don’t get lost in the noise, but instead enhance the message of what America really was meant to be:
A place where dreams come true.
Sorry modern election process, but you get this award because you do everything to destroy what you were meant to preserve.