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Oregon State's bye week came at a perfect time as the Beavers have been blown out in their three losses this season, and their lone win came from behind against an FCS opponent in Reser.
The Beavers' players and coaches were able to take a step away from the grind of practicing from Friday to Sunday. Oregon State returned to the practice field on Monday.
"The bye week was good," head coach Gary Andersen said. "The bye week is always good, regardless of where it comes, but this one was in a good spot. It was good for recruiting to get the coaches out there. It was the first week of school for the kids, so that transition was clean. I thought that went very well for them. They're back into the flow of school now. The timing of the bye week was quality."
The Beavers could certainly use a win right about now, but that's going to be very hard to accomplish in the next few weeks as they face the upper-echelon of the conference. This week's opponent? The defending Pac-12 Champs and the No. 6 team in the country, the Washington Huskies.
"In my opinion, they're well deserving of the ranking," Andersen said. "They're an outstanding team - well balanced with good players on offense, defense, special teams - without a doubt. There's a lot of people that talk about the weapons that they have on the offensive side of the ball and quite frankly, on the defensive side of the ball and on special teams. To me, the group that needs to be talked about also is the defensive and offensive lines - very talented kids. They change the game.
"It's a quality team. We're excited to prep for them. We obviously had a couple of practices last week, and we're back into it again today. We'll get after it again tomorrow. I'm excited about the opportunity to come back home and play a football game, and the kids are excited about that also."
Oregon State is last in the Pac-12 in total offense, 11th in the league in total defense, last in the league in time of possession, and last in the league in turnover differential.
The only major statistic that Oregon State ranks near the top of the Pac-12 in is red zone efficiency, as they are 9-9 on red zone attempts, which is tied for first. The bad news though is that they are last in the Pac-12 at number of times getting into the red zone.
"You can't be consistent if you are not making the proper decisions in critical moments throughout the football game," Andersen said. "That's definitely been lacking. ... We definitely need to coach that. The kids need to focus in on it. We need to put kids in position to make the right decisions."
Gary Andersen's tenure at Oregon State has had a revolving door of quarterbacks, and the Beavers will start their second quarterback this season as Jake Luton suffered a gruesome injury to the head/neck area in the fourth quarter of the WSU game. Darell Garretson, the starting quarterback from last season (before he too was injured for the season) will be the QB1 this weekend against the Huskies.
"Darell has done a good job," said Andersen. "It will be vital to the success of the offense - how Darell plays. Conor [Blount] is in the situation of coming in to play also as the backup now. Darell is excited about the opportunity. The kids have always believed in Darell. Darell has done some really good things for them in games."
Andersen feels that Garretson is back to where he was before being injured throughout the season.
"We all know in the first game he definitely got banged up a year ago, and he seemed very, very good all throughout fall camp," Andersen said. "He seemed healthy, especially as we've gone through this season."
The Huskies boast a Heisman contender quarterback in Jake Browning, an impressive running back in Myles Gaskin, and an incredible wide receiver Dante Pettis, who is tied for the most punt return touchdowns in a career.
Playing keep-away and winning the special teams battle is a key for Oregon State to have a chance on Saturday.
"Obviously, no one is going to sit here and say that we're just going to kick the ball right to him," Andersen said. "We'll try to get it away from him as much as we can. He's a talented kid. ... The key is to get the ball [high] up in the air. He is very, very calculated on his opportunities when they're going to come his way. He's unselfish too. If it's not there, he's not going to force it."