Winter term has gone and winter weather has come on the Oregon State campus.
And with Beaver fans relegated to third party observers of the bowl season that begins today only from a distance (again), the campus is in the middle of a winter of waiting.
Waiting for anything of importance, and substance. It could be a long winter wait.
Sure, there were the announcements this week of the JC commits and early enrollees to Gary Andersen’s football program. But while there is potential, the reality is we won’t really know for sure until at least September of the impact these early arrivals will have.
Andersen’s track record with highly touted recruits, here and elsewhere, is uneven at best, and this week’s announcement includes hoped for help on the defensive front that already didn’t pan out once at Wisconsin. The whole issue of entrance standards and student success is a complicated one, and one Oregon State as an institution struggles with on a daily basis on a number of levels.
It’s a complex subject, worthy of debate on philosophical, financial, practical, and social level, but the fact is Andersen and OSU Admisisions aren’t in sync with each other, and only time will tell if this week’s newcomers are going to be factors, or afterthoughts.
After sitting through (and very few did) last night’s 71-67 loss to Long Beach St., who entered the game with 2 wins in their first 12 games, in Dam City “Classic” in the Moda Center, it also looks like it will be a long wait for Beaver basketball to recreate what Wayne Tinkle’s first two teams did.
It was a competitive game, but it was also 4-2 5 MINUTES into the game, and only improved marginally as two very marginal teams struggled. At this point, there are only 2 Pac-12 level players on the team, Drew Eubanks and Stevie Thompson. When Tres Tinkle’s wrist heals, there will be 3. That won’t be enough in the Pac-12.
At least the women’s basketball team looks like they will have another good season. Scott Rueck’s squad is unlikely to repeat as Pac-12 champions, but that’s as much as anything because the odds are against any given team taking the title, in a conference with as many as 10 teams with a legitimate chance to make the tournament. A lot of good teams are going to lose some games between now and when we wind up the Pac-12 tournament in Seattle.
The wait for spring football won’t be all that long though, as what will actually be winter ball will begin on February 18, and be done on March 18, as the spring game will come before spring, never mind spring break.
But barring a marked improvement in the weather in Corvallis over the last month, most of it will be in the Truax indoor practice facility, and out of sight of all but those hand-picked to tout touchdown passes thrown against backups.
It’s impossible to predict whether we will see the offense gel under an actual starting quarterback, or if we are headed for another revolving door controversy.
We don’t even know yet who all will be coaching the practices, as Andersen has said he’s going to take his time to choose a replacement for the departed Brent Brennan. Part of the reason for that is Andersen is likely to be making a second hire as well, having shared that another assistant is in the running to move up, but at another program (which means someone first asked Andersen before initiating conversations).
It took until late in the season for last year’s staff shuffling to settle into some effective game plans, and Andersen realizes a smoother start to this coming season would be a good thing.
Another thing we are still waiting on is an Athletic Director, and therefore a vision for the programs, an action plan to actually accomplish it, and a public accountability to provide a means of course correction whenever that plan isn’t accomplished.
The on-campus final interviews that were supposed to happen this past week didn’t, and the storm that closed a campus that wasn’t in session one day and part of 2 others wasn’t the reason.
We do know that conversations with and about Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes occurred, and we also know that Barnes doesn’t have the job at this point.
We also know the hire, which the university, after a brief and ineffective hire of Todd Stansbury, and a too long and at the worst possible time (football season) absence of a replacement, must get right this time, is getting attention, but lacks coordination.
When Steve Clark, Oregon State’s Vice President of Marketing and Relations, who shouldn’t be involved in the process to begin with, says he can neither confirm or deny the reports of the job being offered to Barnes (note he didn’t say he won’t or isn’t supposed to say) being true, its not a good look for the University, which still apparently hasn’t learned that news shouldn’t come through the marketing department, instead of someone actually involved with an important issue, and involved in making an actual decision.
I was hoping by now to write about the new direction of the athletic department by now, not to mention what the Beaver football team will do, and already has done, to take the next step back towards respectability. Or even about basketball games that will mean something come March.
We’ll have to wait a while though, so lets watch the New Mexico Bowl!