The Beavers lost their head coach on Monday as Gary Andersen decided to "mutually part ways" with Oregon State in shocking fashion, and while the players are mourning the departure of their coach, there is still a football game to be played on Saturday between Oregon State and Colorado.
We engage the enemy by posing five questions to BeaversEdge.com writer Brenden Slaughter.
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1. How unexpected was the Gary Andersen news on Monday? Did you or any others close to the program see this coming at all?
Slaughter: "The Gary Andersen news was both parts confusing and shocking. I never thought something like this could be in the works for a guy who was under contract through the 2021 season. However, college football is a business and at the end of the day, the OSU President and Athletic Director both have to make decisions for the financial well-being of the university. I believe that Andersen saw this and realized that this was the best way for everyone involved to get what they want. He left 12 million on the table and put the university in a good position in terms of being able to hire a new head coach. No one near the program saw this coming this soon."
2. How do you think the team will react to Andersen being gone this Saturday? Will it help or hurt them against Colorado?
Slaughter: "I believe that the team will be fired up playing for Cory Hall on Saturday. Often times, you see teams rally behind an interim coach for a game or two. Coach Hall is easily the most energetic and high energy coach on the Oregon State staff and he relates to the players extremely well. Given all those aspects, I think OSU will come out looking for blood. A lot of the Beavers are very upset that Andersen isn’t their coach anymore, and I believe that coach Hall will be able to channel that into productive football for the Beavers on Saturday. They will be looking to take out all of the seasons frustrations against the Buffs at home."
3. What does Oregon State need to improve on in order to upset Colorado?
Slaughter: "For the Beavers to beat Colorado, they have to not beat themselves. Honestly, the Beavers might not be as bad as their record indicates. Sure they are 1-5, but they’ve made solid strides on defense over the past three weeks. The issue for the Beavers is offense without quarterback Jake Luton, who’s been out with a back injury. If OSU can find their rhythm on offense and move the ball against a suddenly suspect CU defense, they just might have a chance to win this game."
4. Who are impact players for Oregon State that Colorado fans should be aware of?
Slaughter: "They need to know about running back Ryan Nall and linebacker Manase Hungalu. Both Nall and Hungalu are the captains of this team and had to deal with coach Andersen leaving more than anyone else as they are the leaders of this squad. Nall didn’t play against USC last week after nursing an ankle injury, but he should be good to go this week. When Nall is healthy, he is one of the most explosive running backs in the Pac-12. As for Hungalu, he just leads with consistency. He’s one of the few bright spots on the Beaver defense and leads with a fiery edge. He had an interception against Sam Darnold last week and is always around the ball. The Buffs will need to know where he is at at all times."
5. What's your score prediction and why?
Slaughter: "I have the Beavers winning 25-21. Colorado has not looked very good since Pac-12 play hit, and the Beavers will be looking to play inspired football for coach Hall. The Beavers will bring out some new wrinkles on offense and defense and will be able to stun the Buffs in Reser."