The new-look for Oregon St. has nothing to do with uniforms and helmets (except for the new "Beavers" logoed practice helmets) this season, and we have actually gotten some glimpses at the new schemes, and a lot of new to the starting lineup players, but today is when the new Beaver coaching staff under new head coach Gary Andersen formally unveils their new offense, under the direction of a new quarterback, and a new defense.
The coming out party will be the closest thing to an actual game that Beaver fans have seen in a number of years, as Coach Andersen is going to divide the team into White and Orange teams, and play 4 quarters of "regular" football, more or less.
More or less in that there will be next to no special teams, and the game will be kept to about 2 hours.
Place-kicking situations will involve only the snapper, holder, and kicker. Kickoffs and punts will be dispensed with.
But it will be "live" actions, with the one exception that quarterbacks, who will be in black jerseys, won't be live targets, which isn't a bad idea, given the one-time logjam is down to just 3 qbs.
The Pac-12 Network will have coverage from 1 PM until 3, and then there is a baseball game a couple of blocks away at 4:05 PM, between Oregon St. and Arizona. so the action will need to wrap up earlier than a regular game would. Halftime will be shortened to 10 minutes, and a running clock will be utilized in the 3rd & 4th quarters.
Still, its a major change from the increasingly glorified practice format former Coach Mike Riley was increasingly employing, largely to minimize injury risk, something Andersen has already changed course from, with faster paced practices and scrimmages, and lots of contact.
The day gets started with an all-morning clearance sale on Beaver gear in Truax, starting at 8:30 AM. Things really begin to look like a game day experience at 11:30 AM, when the kid zone opens on Parker Plaza.
The gates to Reser open at noon, and the football action at 12:30 PM, with the flag football game, followed by the real game at 1 PM, plus a couple of minutes for the tv pregame.
A couple of other things that are new is there is for the first time ever, an admission to the game, of $6. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Oregon State University Marching Band, which will be in their 125th year this fall, and the Cheerleaders, groups the athletic department has forgotten to fund for bowl games before.
Another change this year is there won't be the pre-game autograph tables and lines, with the autograph opportunity coming post game on the field today.
The most discussed chnage this year might be the advent of the running quarterback, in Andersen's spread offense, which is about as much of a departure from Mike Riley's pro-style offense as possible. Instrumental to that will be the progress of true freshman Seth Collins, and whether he can make the progress on his down field accuracy to seize the starting role over redshirt freshman Nick Mitchell.
But as important to that succeeding as anything is likely to be how well Oregon St. can run the ball in the more traditional manner, and so a lot of eyes will be on senior Storm Woods, and a now veteran offensive line.
At the same time, getting to know defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake's 3 man front scheme, which will still frequently rush 4, just out of both 3-4-3 and 3-3-5 alignments will be or interest to Beaver Nation.
Compounding the challenge will be a lot of new numbers to learn, as the defense was going to be going without the majority of last year's graduated starters and rotation players anyway.
At the same tine, though the offense has the far more experienced position groups aside from quarterback, at wide receiver and tight end, as well as at running back and tight end, it is the relatively inexperienced defense that has overall had the upper hand most of the time during spring practices.
It should be a very interesting afternoon.