With Colorado coming to town on Saturday for Homecoming, the Beavers hope to channel their energy into their first Pac-12 win.
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The Oregon State football team has been through more in the last 48 hours than most teams go through in a year or more. In that short time span the Beavers lost a head coach in Gary Andersen and named an interim one in Cory Hall.
Many team members have had to deal with conflicting emotions but at the end of the day, the Beavers have six games left to play. As wide receiver Jordan Villamin put it yesterday, “We can’t be a lost puppy.”
Today was the second full practice under Hall, and the Beavers appeared to have a mojo and a swagger on the field that wasn’t always there under coach Andersen. At times, the Beavers appeared to not have a toughness or identity with Andersen that they had been longing for.
This isn’t to say that Hall is suddenly the savior of Beaver football, but he’s certainly done a nice job of energizing the players under some very poor circumstances. It’s too soon to say whether or not Hall’s version of Willie Taggart’s “swag surfin” will have any effect on the players on Saturday, but it’s certainly created some excitement within the team.
“We have been very excited this week,” linebacker Jonathan Willis added. “Coach Hall has focused more on Colorado. (This week) we’ve came together more and have been more fired up. We are communicating better and are excited to come out for this game.
With Colorado, the Beavers have their work cut out for them even though the Buffs currently sit 0-3 in Pac-12 play. This is a very experienced coaching staff with Pac-12 championship level experience and they just haven’t hit their groove this season. For those Beaver fans who think Colorado is going to be a good opportunity for the Beavers to get a win, I would say not so fast.
The Beavers lost to Colorado State 58-27. Colorado beat CSU 17-3.
Granted it’s one game, but the Beavers will need to come out and play out of their minds under Hall to get the win. CU is still the more complete team and boast one of the best tandems in the Pac-12 with quarterback Steven Montez and running back Phillip Lindsay.
Defensive coordinator Kevin Clune noted that Colorado is going to be a challenge in all aspects.
“They have very good skill position guys,” Clune said. “I believe that next year you are going to be talking about (Steven) Montez like y’all are talking about (Josh) Rosen, (Sam) Darnold, Luke Falk, and Jake Browning. (Phillip Lindsay) runs extremely tough and has earned every inch he’s taken. The receiving crew is very good as they all are returners from last year.”
Defensively, the Beavers will be looking to do better against the Buffs this season as the Beavers were blown out of Boulder last season. Montez had a monster day throwing for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns which were all to Shay Fields who hauled in 169 yards. The Beavers couldn’t stop Colorado on offense and couldn’t get any offense going of their own as the left Boulder a 47-6 loser.
This year, Clune hopes the Beavers will be more prepared for what the Buffs bring to the table.
“There are a lot of little things that we can do better,” Clune said. “Their run game is something that we have to knock out. They hit a screen for 60 some yards. That is something that cannot happen. We have to play together and play as 11 strong and not allow those things to happen.
Clune declined to add much of his thoughts on the Andersen situation other than just how as coaches they have to move on.
“We have a job to do,” Clune said. “That’s the great thing about football is that tomorrow is a new day. The clock keeps ticking because there are things to do. You can sit around and wallow but that ain’t gonna help. We are trying to win a ball game against Colorado.”
Willis noted that despite the loss of Andersen, the Beavers still have a job to do and that they need to come out firing against Colorado.
“We have to come together and focus on beating Colorado,” Willis said. “We still have six more games. We all know that we need to pay attention more and focus more and the team as a whole needs to come together. We need to get behind coach Hall and get wins in these next few games.”
* Practice Nuggets *
-Cornerback Xavier Crawford was in sweats on the sideline as he had a cast around his right hand. It doesn’t appear that he will be back on the field anytime soon.
-The Beaver defense is continuing to make strides on the defensive side of the ball. The linebackers and defensive line continue to impress me as they have been flying to the ball. All things considered, the Beavers rushing defense has been better as of late.
-The secondary is still OSU’s weak spot. Without Jay Irvine and Crawford, who both sat out, the Beavers have been turning to Kyle White, Shawn Wilson, and Isaiah Dunn. The two most impressive performances came from Wilson and Dunn as they appear to be the best two corners. White was beat deep on one occasion. I like White’s physicality, but his deep pass coverage still needs improvement.
-Elu Aydon made a really nice play on defense as he was able to sniff out a screen pass and snag an interception from quarterback Aidan Willard.
During 11-on-11 work, the Beavers brought back the music as OSU got hyped before the short session. I really like the vibe that Hall has brought to the team.