A disappointing season in 2018 has Oregon State's defense fired up and hungry

Lindsey Wisniewski

Forget the offense, the defense is all you need to remember from Oregon State's football scrimmage on Saturday night.

In front of nearly 500 fans at Reser Stadium, the defense made a statement, recording five three-and-outs in the first six drives of the day for a total of eight three-and-outs on the night.

"They had one touchdown on probably what, 10 drives? It's a win," linebacker Avery Roberts said. 

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But that wasn't the whole story-the Beavs d-line also had strong pushes up front, they were physical at the line of attack and there was a level of accountability Oregon State players failed to show before.

So, what's changed in Oregon State's defense in a matter of months? For insider linebacker Shemar Smith, the answer is striking.

"We have angrier guys, hungrier guys who can make plays in the backfield," Smith said. "Basically we're getting a push up front. We have more pieces to the puzzle."

Roberts echoed Smith's sentiments.

"Honestly, I think guys genuinely care more," Roberts said. "That's really what it comes down to. Guys are really trying much harder, not even on the field, but after trying to get better."

While it seemed like Oregon State's defense had won the day, coach Jonathan Smith wasn't quite sold on the idea.

"Yeah we're pleased with a lot of things they did," Smith said. "There was some back and forth. I was pleased with their energy and the way they tackled."

Oregon State's defense is far from a finished product. The Beavers failed to hold a conference opponent to fewer than 500 yards last season, giving up an average of 45.7 points and 536.8 yards per game-129th in the nation.

Consistency will be key for the defense heading into the 2019 college football season. Their first real test? Oklahoma State on Aug. 30 in the season opener.

A disappointing season in 2018 has Oregon State's defense fired up and hungry originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest

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