MacIntyre expects Oregon State to take page from Arizona's playbook

Scott Hood, Staff Writer
CU Sports Nation
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USA Today

Mike MacIntyre expects Oregon State, a team he contends has nothing to lose after former head coach Gary Andersen walked away from his job Monday, to take a page or two from Arizona’s playbook when the Buffs and Beavers battle Saturday afternoon at Reser Stadium in Corvallis (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Two years ago, in Andersen’s first year Oregon State employed a dual threat quarterback for most of the season. Seth Collins, then a freshman, was the Beavers’ starting signal caller for the first seven games at quarterback, rushing for 100+ yards three times, including 152 yards against Weber State in his debut.

Collins finished the 2015 season as Oregon State’s leading rusher with 580 yards and eight touchdowns. However, Andersen wanted a quarterback with better passing skills and told Collins he would move to wide receiver in 2016. Collins contemplated transferring, but eventually returned to OSU and last season was the Beavers’ second-leading receiver with 36 receptions for 418 yards.

Now a junior, Collins has 12 receptions for 130 yards and 1 TD midway through the 2017 campaign. He is one of six Oregon State receivers with between 10 and 19 receptions on the season.

Oregon State’s two quarterbacks this season (Jake Luton and Darell Garretson) are both drop-back style signal callers. Luton suffered a season-ending back injury at Washington State on Sept. 16, forcing Garretson into action.

However, after seeing the enormous success Arizona enjoyed with a running quarterback (Khalil Tate) last Saturday night, could the Beavers copy the Wildcats and turn to the athletic and speedy Collins to try to accomplish the same thing? MacIntyre believes Oregon State will do exactly that considering the interim status of the coaching staff.

“I would think they would,” MacIntyre said. “We’ve been practicing for that. We’re practicing for (Collins) to be at quarterback some and running around. I would do it if I was them. We couldn’t tackle (Tate).”

Besides Collins running the football, MacIntyre expects Oregon State will stick mostly to the ground game with Ryan Nall (350 yards rushing on 62 carries) and former Oregon RB Thomas Tyner (104 yards on 22 carries) handling most of the responsibilities for the Beavers.

That strategy makes sense considering Colorado has allowed nearly 180 rushing yards per game, including 413 last weekend to Arizona and 253 to Washington three weeks ago.

“They’re big and powerful runners,” MacIntyre said. “Nall and Tyner are big backs that can run. They’ve run the ball well at times. We’re going to have to fit it up better and be more stout inside and hold the point (of attack) better. We’ve been working on that.

"We’re going to have to tackle those big guys and get them on the ground. But that’s easier said than done. We have to do a better job coaching it and take better angles. I definitely think they’ll try to pound us and do some things with those guys (Nall and Tyner) in terms of attacking us. We have to be ready for it.”

Oregon State’s disappointing season (1-5 overall, 0-3 in Pac-12), Andersen’s sudden departure and the 1 p.m. local kickoff time should produce a somber atmosphere inside Reser Stadium on Saturday. In many ways, that should help the Buffs.

“Our team has to bounce back,” MacIntyre said. “We had a tough loss. Now we have to go on the road in play in a little different environment with the situation going on there.”

Colorado is looking to snap a 3-game losing streak, and in the process pick up its first Pac-12 win of the season. Should they fall to the Beavers, attaining bowl eligibility could prove challenging with upcoming games against Washington State, USC and Utah, three teams with a combined 7-2 Pac-12 record.

However, at 3-3, MacIntyre says the Buffs still have plenty to play for.

“I have had teams that kind of lost hope,” MacIntyre said. “But I don’t think this team has even gotten close to losing hope. This team has just gotten mad. That’s a good emotion when you push it the correct way. We have to put our energy and emotions in our preparation.”

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