With a matchup against the USC Trojans on tap on Saturday, the Beavers returned to the practice fields on Tuesday looking for answers.
Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up now!
This weekend, the Beavers travel to a place where they haven’t been since 2014.
The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Due to the Pac-12’s scheduling quirks, the Beavers missed USC in 2015, and 2016. Perhaps unfortunately for the Beavers - those were the years when the Trojans were the most vulnerable.
Despite a loss to Washington State in Pullman last weekend, the Trojans boast the presumed No. 1 overall draft pick in quarterback Sam Darnold. Even though Darnold has had a rough start to the season by his and USC’s standards, he is still one of the most complete players in the conference and has to look at the Beavers as a get-well game.
While the Beaver defense was much improved against Washington (at least for the first half), the offense's inability to stay on the field is ultimately what was the Beavers downfall against Washington. The Beavers absolutely need to get better on that side of the ball, and nobody feels the brunt of that responsibility more than quarterback Darell Garretson.
“I played alright in my opinion,” Garretson said. “It’s not where I wanted to play, but we have to just get better in all phases of the game. Up front, the quarterback spot, and everywhere else, we just have to do better. Whatever we have to do to make those changes we will.”
While OSU’s offense struggled it’s important to remember that keeping the ball on the ground was OSU’s game plan and they didn’t plan to throw the ball downfield much at all.
“You guys all saw the game,” Garretson said. “Obviously we thought we could run the ball and create some momentum there and what happened in the game is what happened so we just have to move on from there and learn from our mistakes.”
Garretson also added his thoughts on USC uber-talented defense under defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast.
“I’ve watched a good amount of film,” Garretson said. “They are a good, fast, and physical defense that is long at the corner spots. We have to play our game and do what we do and come out attacking.”
One of the more intriguing storylines last Saturday was the notable absence of Isaiah Hodgins. He didn’t register a snap despite being healthy. McGiven offered insight on the situation as Gary Andersen deferred to him when asked about the receivers involvement.
“The game plan was that we were going to be in a lot of 21 personnel and he was the third receiver,” offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven said. “We had (Villamin) and (Collins) as the starting receivers. The game plan didn’t have as many receivers involved as we were trying to get two backs on the field. I expect him to be out there this week against (USC).”
The Beavers got a bad dose of injury news on Tuesday morning as OSU’s weekly injury report came out. The list is as long as it’s been this season and has several notable injuries.
Below is the comprehensive list for those who missed it.
OSU's Injury Report vs USC
CB Xavier Crawford
RB Ryan Nall
RB Artavis Pierce
S Drew Kell
CB Jay Irvine
DL Paisa Savea
QB Jake Luton
LB Kesi Ah-Hoy
TE Noah Togiai
CB Jaydon Grant
K Zach Standish
LB Shemiah Unutoa-Whitson
CB Dwayne Williams
Given the massive impact of several of those injuries, the Beavers could certainly have their work cut out for them on Saturday. The most notable and new injuries are to Xavier Crawford, Ryan Nall, Jay Irvine and Kesi Ah-Hoy.
Given how important those three guys are to what OSU does on both sides of the ball, the Beavers will need some guys to step up and make their impact known.
Running back Thomas Tyner will be in line for a bigger workload against USC. After dealing with conditioning, injury, and other issues for the start of the season, Tyner feels 100 percent and is ready to step up and shoulder the load if Nall is out.
“I felt fresh and back to my playing weight of 225,” Tyner said. “We are capable of taking on top teams like Washington. We held them to seven points in the first half and it shows we are capable of competing with those types of teams. Playing the whole game is what we need to do.”
"I was really really pleased with how he came in and what he did," McGiven said about Tyner. "He went in there and made the most of his opportunities and I loved how he approached it."
OSU will certainly have their work cut out for them against USC, but OSU hopes that they can get a better showing offensively compared to Washington.
“It’s frustrating for the coaches and the players,” McGiven said. “The players are out there working their tails off fixing things they can fix execution wise. We are working hard to try and put them in a position to have success schematically. We are all in this together and we will keep working and try to put a better product on the field.”