Not one head football coach or coaching staff would say that their team is absolutely where they need to be right now, and there is nothing that their team needs to work on. All coaches feel that there is room for improvement, especially headed into the third week of the college football season.
Even Nick Saban, Head Coach of the top-ranked Crimson Tide, wasn’t satisfied with his team’s week one drilling of then 20th ranked USC. He voiced that his team needs to improve their execution and consistency. He also ripped his staff and players during their week two win against Western Kentucky. Coach Andersen is similar in his desire to improve. He always believes the Beavers can improve in certain areas.
Although, the Beavers looked much improved in week 1 from their atrocious 2015 campaign, there are still aspects of their game that they need to improve upon. Hopefully, this team used their BYE week effectively as they prepare for Idaho State and their Pac-12 schedule. Here are some things the Beavers need to work on...
Protecting the Quarterback
Beaver Nation painfully witnessed Darrell Garretson taking numerous shots from a strong Minnesota front 7. They also cringed when they saw Garretson lying on the ground after his second fumble, courtesy of a hit delivered by true freshman Tai’yon Devers. Fortunately, Garretson was able to get up and continued playing well for the Beavs. Seeing Darrell on the ground, a bit dinged up is something Beaver fans do not want to see this season. If this team is to have any success this year, they need to keep opposing defenses off of Garretson. Hopefully the offensive line watched the film closely and learned how to fix their mistakes.
More Consistency in the Run Game
I’ve always believed in the idea that if you can’t run the ball up the middle, especially in a 4th and 1 situation then you don’t deserve to win that football game. On the Beavers, second to last drive of the Minnesota game, they had two shots to get the first down. One on 3rd and short and another on fourth and 1. They couldn’t convert either time. Credit the Minnesota defense for making the necessary stops but the Beaver offense, especially the offensive line need to push opposing defenses back further for running back Ryan Nall and the rest of the Beaver offense. Now, I won’t totally rag on the offensive line; they did solid work in the screen game. And Nall had a decent 71 yards on 13 carries, but overall the team rushed for a paltry 89 yards on 34 carries, which equates to 2.6 yards per carry. I would like to see that same aggression and execution from the screen game translate to the run game.
The Need for Explosive (Big) Plays
During week 1, the big plays were there, and the Beaver missed them more often than not. Oregon State’s receivers are too talented and should be making more explosive plays. Whether it was the Minnesota pass rush, dropped passes, or just that the timing was off because of the first game. This is an area where I am confident that the Beavers can and will improve upon. There were flashes of Oregon State’s potential, like Seth Collins 25 yard catch and run, Nall’s 40 yard run, and Victor Bolden’s 30 yard touchdown reception. But Jordan Villamin needs to show more than he did in his one catch, 5 yard performance in week one. He is too good to have a performance like that, considering that Villamin has the talent to become one of the best receivers in the conference. Bolden, Collins, and Villamin are truly big play threats but they need to play up to their potential.
Force Turnovers and Pressure Opposing Offenses
If the Beavers want to be successful in 2016 they’re going to need to win some turnover battles. The Beavers lost the turnover battle 2 to 1 against Minnesota. Getting pressure on the quarterback is crucial in forcing turnovers. When the opposing quarterback feels pressured, he’s more likely to rush throws and make other sorts of mistakes. Overall, Oregon State’s Defense looked much improved in week 1 compared to last season. But, if they want to keep making strides and improve upon their win total from last season then they will need to force some turnovers. And find ways to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
Learn How To Win Football Games
The last time the Beavers won a football game was September 19th, 2015 against San Jose State. Oregon State is currently on a 10 game losing streak. Against Minnesota, the Beavers had a 23 to 17 lead entering the fourth quarter but couldn’t close the deal. While there a ton of factors that go into winning a football game like turnovers, time of possession, penalties, big plays, total yards among others. An important factor in winning is having confidence and a winning attitude. This team needs to develop their confidence, trust each other, stay positive, and perform up to their potential in order to start winning football games. The Beavers cannot afford to look past their FCS opponent this Saturday. Remember Eastern Washington in 2013, or Sacramento State in 2011? The Beavers even had some difficulties against Weber State last season in the first half, and the same goes for Portland State in 2014. The Bottom line is that the Beavers, with their 10 game losing streak, should not expect an easy victory against Idaho State. The Beavs need to stay focused, respect their opponent, and focus on executing the game plan. If the Beavers can put the game out of reach early it will do wonders for their confidence moving forward.