As I dust off the ol’ keys and prepare my review of the first game of the 2016 season, i am reminded of a few things:
- This is year two of a multi-year rebuild.
- The coaches are not letting that crap slide, so we shouldn’t either.
I doubt a single coach or player is sitting there thinking “it is ok if we lose now because in two more years we will dominate!” They are doing what they can to win and the players are training like winners and coaches trying to coach like winners.
So I am going to blog like a winner too.
I had picked the Beavers to lose this game this year. I thought they had too far to go to catch a team that was playing pretty well towards the end of last season. I thought a long trip to a hostile place week one with so many new faces and new coaches or coaching duties would hurt the Beavers too much to pull this out.
But I also thought that the coaches and players worked so hard that they would not go silently int the Minnesota night. And I was right. While I think that Minnesota did better than the score indicated, I think the Beavers showed they are fearless and adamant about not being losers this year. They came to Minnesota to win, and they just about did it!
I can point out the line play (not awesome) or the receivers (see offensive line) and get all negative. I can also point out the secondary (pretty dang good) and the quarterback play (much improved for sure) and get too positive. But we are of the championship mindset in these parts so here is what I saw:
I saw a team play their butts off, never back down and get very close to winning a game no one gave them a chance to win. They beat the spread by almost half, making money for the faithful who thought that Vegas cannot measure heart. I saw them play cleanly and take care of some major details that have plagued us in the past.
So while I don’t like the loss, and moral victories are a sham, I can respect that this team followed through with what they were taught and that was to play hard. No one can look at a guy like Devin Chappell or Manase Hungalu and say those guys didn’t give everything and ring some bells. They looked like the players Andersen has been talking about, and that was great to see.
That effort will get us a win in two weeks. I can almost guarantee it. Whatever happens in the future, I think that this team did one thing very well. They were the embodiment of what we had been told. They were hard working, non-quitters. That I can get behind!
Halloween Spice Drops Award of Awesomeness
I gave this away, but honestly, Devin Chappell not only played amazing, but he also was just impressive in how he hit people and played fast and fearless. For a guy that came here from Western Oregon because he knew he was good enough to play at this level, he sure as heck showed it.
Also, his mom works at my favorite food cart in Eugene, so while she didn’t bribe me, I thought I would give a shout out to Lani Moku and their amazing food that can be found daily at The Beergarden! (Hint, that place is rad and owned/operated by Beavers. I feel no shame in the plug)
JujiFruit Award for Improvement
I almost gave this to Hunaglu because he is amazing. But he will win it later and I wanted to call out someone that was really, really good. Xavier Crawford was also a stud out there, breaking up a HUGE pass that would have been points for sure had he not. He also was the hammer on a few Minnesota colored nails throughout the games. The secondary showed the most to me in this game and they were ready and played hard and with passion. Xavier and Devin both showed this to me and both deserved awards this week.
Good N Plenty Award of Shame:
I am going to give this award to something dumb that I have seen in college football lately.
It’s absence from February through August
This weekend has been a beautiful array of great football, huge upsets, Alabama flexing their muscles, huge questions about the football hierarchy out there and, of course, the Beavers. While I would have loved a Beaver win, and a duck loss for good measure, I take solace in the fact that football is going, the Beavers are playing hard and competing and I don’t have to hear the endless puke of prognostication that permeates our lives from about June to September.
Polls are shattered, pre-season picks dumped and new heroes arrive every week. It is the best part of the year and I cannot help but be excited about the next few weeks because as i get older, I am a fan of football, not just a team here or there, but of the whole dang game.
So thanks for coming back! Oh and I mean College Football, not that crazy circus that they call the NFL. That isn’t even really the same sport.