Beaver defense building on last week’s first half

Brenden Slaughter, Senior Writer
Beavers Edge

After showing signs of being a top-tier defense last week, the Beavers will be looking for a complete performance against another top-tier team.

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With OSU’s matchup against USC just three days away, the Beavers are looking to shore up loose ends on the defensive side of the ball before facing the potent Trojan offense. The Trojans boast some of the best true athletes in all of college football.

Offensively, the two straws that stir the Trojans is quarterback Sam Darnold and running back Ronald Jones. Both Darnold and Jones have a case to be the best player at their respective positions in the conference, and the Beavers will need to play out of their mind defensively to have a shot at slowing these guys down.

However, it can be done as the Trojans have looked quite human over the past week with a close contest to Cal and a loss to Washington State. However, the Trojans just wrapped up a two game road trip and return to the Coliseum for the first time since an overtime victory over Texas.

Defensive coordinator Kevin Clune noted that USC boasts some of the best players that they will see all season.

“You’ve got a lot of great pieces,” Clune said. “(Jones) is one of the best running backs that we will face all season, and Sam Darnold is a great quarterback. We have to do our job.”

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The Beavers showed tremendous promise on Saturday last week in the first half against the Huskies but ultimately fell in the second half by way of fatigue and Washington’s adjustments. The Beavers will be looking to get a complete game performance from their defense.

“It’s been a rough season and the guys battled,” Clune said. “Now we just have to get that done for 60 minutes. (In the second half) Washington was able to make some adjustments and there was some fatigue from us. As soon as we lost Jay Irvine at corner, they went and picked on the corners.”

Senior linebacker Manase Hungalu echoes what Clune said about playing good on defense for a full 60 minutes.

“Defensive-wise, it was just minor mistakes. It’s always the little mistakes,” Hungalu said. “We have all the ability to compete with the best teams just like UW. We need to fix the little details and it’s been a problem. It’s always frustrating. This is coach Andersen’s third year and those mistakes shouldn’t happen. They should have been done with after the first year. The playbook hasn’t changed. It’s inexcusable mistakes.”

Washington State gave the Trojans a host of headaches defensively in their win last week and the Beavers hope to draw similar success.

“They had some quickness on the defensive line and they covered very well,” Clune said. “They found a way to get off the field on third down and stay in the game.”

Personally speaking, Clune is excited to head to L.A. and take on one of the most historic teams in the country.

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“That’s why we do this is to play the best,” Clune said. “They’ve traditionally been one of the best and we get to go down to L.A. and I’m fired up to go on a road trip.”

Practice Nuggets

-The Beavers broke out the white helmets during practice today. I expect the Beavers to don a full white look as the take on USC in the Coliseum.

-Aidan Willard really impressed me at quarterback today as he was running the scout team. Willard doesn’t get the headlines as he just often emulates the opposing team's QB, but he does his business very business like and is often impressive in his quarterback play. Today he was wearing No. 14 pretending to be Sam Darnold and his pocket poise, presence, and moxy was very impressive to me. With the future of the quarterback position at OSU uncertain, don’t count out Willard.

-Noah Togiai and Isaiah Dunn were both wearing red no contact jerseys during practice today but didn’t appear to be limited in any way.

-The Beavers were working on designed quarterback rollouts today. After Darell Garretson’s arm didn’t really figure into OSU’s loss to Washington last week, it’s obvious that the Beavers will be looking to get Garretson more comfortable within the passing offense. Garretson doesn’t offer the arm strength that Luton does, but his ability to roll out of the pocket and throw on the run is impressive. His best throws today came when he was rolling to his right where he was able to place the ball perfectly on several occasions.

Click here to read the rest of the nuggets!

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