This week at Stanford, Oregon St. Offensive Coordinator John Garrett will take on an increased degree of responsibility for calling the plays for the Beavers.
For those hoping it will lead Oregon St. out of some of the offensive doldrums the Beavers experienced against Utah, its important to know that Garrett, who began the season on the sideline so he could work directly and in detail with not only quarterback Sean Mannion, but all of the offensive position groups, on in-game adjustments, has been upstairs in the coaches' booth the last 2 games, and calling a substantial portion of the plays in both games.
And Head Coach Mike Riley, who called the plays exclusively in the first 4 games, will still have his input, and on occasion, his say on the play.
But its also important to note that the same general system, with Garrett making most of the calls, and Riley essentially checking off on the decisions, which many found to be a problem against Utah, also produced 445 yards, 278 through the air and 167 on the ground, and 36 points in Boulder.
"I still interject a lot," Riley said. "It's better this way. I can have input in what I want in there and still keep tabs on what's going on with everything, else."
It will be mainly on Garrett at Stanford this Saturday though, against the one defense in the conference that's tougher than the Utes, to make the right call.
It's not the first time there's been controversy about play-calling at Oregon St., or a transition in who makes the calls, as Riley called his own plays for years, before finally handing the task over to Danny Langsdorf for 2 seasons. And after Riley resumed play calling under popular demand, it was Langsdorf that called the plays the last 2 games of last year, the near upset win in the Civil War, and the Hawaii Bowl win over Boise St.
We shall see how it goes this time, but it might be well to reserve judgement past whatever happens in Palo Alto until the results in what could be a shootout the following week against California, and almost certainly will be the following week when Washington St. comes to town, presenting the Oregon St. offense with much different parameters to work with, are also known.
But given that these 3 games are the ones most likely to be winnable as Oregon St. strives for bowl eligibility, and in a year where the Pac-12 is almost assuredly going to over-fill its meager bowl tie-ins, hopefully at least a 7th win that takes some of the uncertainty out of getting to the post-season, it might be the most important stretch of games Garrett will ever face with the Beavers.