Oregon State Coach Gary Andersen's weekly press conference, 2 days after the Beavers suffered their first home shutout in 18 years, was his shortest of the season. About the only good news was that Dwayne Washington, who left the game early in an ambulance, was back at the Valley Football Center this morning, and smiling.
Washington remains highly questionable for this week's trip to California though. There was also no word on progress for Treston Decoud, who left the stadium in the same ambulance 2 weeks earlier. Practice this week will tell more, but Andersen didn't sound like he expected help to return as Oregon State prepared to face the "Bear Raid" offense.
Another player who won't be making the trip, or suiting up again for the Beavers, for that matter, is WR Datrin Guyton. Andersen announced that Guyton has been dismissed from the team, for the usual reason, violating unspecified Athletic Department and team rules. The promising red-shirt freshman had 14 catches for 178 yards.
Guyton was involved in an animated disagreement on the sideline during Saturday's game against UCLA, and was sent to the locker room. The full details of the event have not come out.
It did not sound like the dismissal was Andersen's idea in the least.
"I wish it wasn't this way, but it is that way," Andersen said. "I'm excited for his future when he decides where he wants to go, and I'm here to help him. I'm not excited that he's not with us. He is a good kid. It's just, it is what it is."
"That's really what I have to say on it, other than the fact that I am going to help him get to his next spot, because I think he can be successful. Kids make mistakes. That's where we're at."
That commentary raises considerable question about whether Andersen is in control of his own team, and sounds like an edict from above. In what's headed for the worst season since the end of the dark ages, the last thing a thin, injury depleted team needs is to send talent away. Especially without a considerably better explanation than was given.
Equally disturbing was the lack of any real update on other injury situations, including, but not limited to quarterback Seth Collins and RBs Chris Brown and Ryan Nall.
Collins and Brown have missed the last 2 games, and Nall went out of Saturday's loss to UCLA after "hitting his head too hard."
What happens in practice will give us an idea of whether any of them will be back this week or not, but the theme of not having a very detailed update from the team doctor is becoming another very distressing sign of a program adrift.
The Beavers desperately need Collins back on the field, after 2 weeks of inept offense that refreshed everyone's memory as to why NIck Mitchell dropped out of the quarterback competition back in summer camp. And the 4th quarter should have also reminded everyone why Marcus McMaryion isn't the answer either.
Not that Collins will necessarily transform the offense, but it was better with him scrambling than the debacle we saw Saturday.
Andersen's post game comment Saturday acknowledged as much.
"Either we're coaching them wrong or they're refusing to learn," Andersen said. "The blame goes right smack between my eyes. I'll look at it, I'll evaluate it and try to make it better."
Or just maybe, there aren't enough players with the talent at some positions on this team to get the job done at the Pac-12 level.
Andersen did address what will happen now that Oregon State has been eliminated from any chance at the post season, for only the second time prior to the Civil War since 1998 (though also for the second time in the last 5 years).
Acknowledging that this team, being both very young, and still learning new systems, really need the extra 3 weeks of practice that a bowl game would have garnered, Andersen said that the last 3 games of the season will be used in that manner, with extra reps for younger players. And since they will have gotten extra work, some will likely see extra game action, which may or may not increase the chances of salvaging a win, and avoiding the worst season of Beaver football since the end of the Pettibone disaster.
"The young guys will wake up tomorrow morning, and they'll have an opportunity to be in there with their position coaches to coach them off that scrimmage today at 7:45 AM. So they'll get a 45 minute position meeting to go over that scrimmage, and it will be evaluated just like it was a game, because that's basically what it was. And then we'll go out and get some individual time. So we will get those 15 practices in with those young kids as we move through," Andersen detailed.
"This time of year, we can do that, because our older kids are out there for the time they are. Practices are not as long this time of year as they were 2 1/2 months ago. We're within the rules and we're gonna take advantage right up to that 20-hour mark. Maybe right at 59 seconds, we'll chop it off, but not much before that."
A substantial part of the day was also spent in rehashing the signal-jamming counter calls by the Oregon State defense that both UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen and Bruins head coach Jim Mora have called out. This would amount to much ado about nothing, except that with a return trip to the Rose Bowl on next year's schedule before the next 2 year break from UCLA in the schedule, and Rosen departs for the NFL, creating some extra bad blood between the Beavers and Bruins doesn't seem like a good idea just now.
Fortunately, today did bring word of another commit to the Beavers, as DE Joah Robinett from San Marcos, CA, announced his plans to come to Corvallis.
This came shortly after another DE, 3 star prospect Doug Taumoelau from Salt Lake City, had announced.
At least recruiting hasn't apparently suffered as a result of the recent struggles.