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Running Game Revival Revealed Another Andersen Era Adjustment

Storm Woods had a great game against San Jose State, and he had some help in doing it.
Storm Woods had a great game against San Jose State, and he had some help in doing it.
(Photo by Andy Wooldridge)

A major factor in Oregon State's 35-21 win over San Jose State was the Beavers ability to not only get the running game going, but to do so with a solid performance from quarterback Seth Collins, who ran for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns, and not have that be the best rushing effort of the game.

Storm Barrs-Woods, who missed the first half of the Michigan game with lingering effects of a sore knee, broke out for 151 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries, which was 1 more run than Collins had.

That's the balance the Beavers need on the  ground, even if it was against a suspect San Jose State squad. This Oregon State team will be hard pressed to win if Collins doesn't have a good game on the ground, but whenever they get that and they get another good rushing game, the Beavers will have a shot. Of course, most teams win most games when they have 2 different players run for over 100 yards, especially when one of them tops the 150 yard mark.

Notably, Oregon State did it without any really big runs. Collins' longest run was for 30 yards, and Woods' best was a game high gain of 38 yards. And when a rushing play that isn't a broken field breakaway is the longest play of the game, over any pass or kick return, you officially have a grind it out game.

That made the job the Oregon State o-line did all the more notable; it wasn't just a case of blowing open a couple of big plays.

What many Beaver fans might not have noticed was another of the adjustments that Coach Gary Andersen and his staff, in this case, o-line coach T.J. Woods, have made. As can be seen in the lead photo, Drew Clarkson played extensively at left guard Saturday evening. What can't be seen is Clarkson's name on last week's depth chart, which contains 11 other names.

"Drew has done a nice job," Andersen said in his conversation with the media today. "We want to get to a 6, or even a 7 man rotation with the offensive line, and the job he has done in practice helped us be able to have him help us in the game."

Whether that translates into a start against Stanford, we will find out when the depth chart comes out, probably sometime Tuesday, and Andersen said Fred Lauina played well too. But at a bare minimum, Clarkson will doubtless see his name in print, and see the field against Stanford.

The team is still a work in progress literally everywhere, but Saturday we saw both the willingness of the staff to make changes, even those not readily obvious, and have the changes produce a measurable improvement.