This past Wednesday, Oregon State took I believe, a huge step in the winning direction.
Now, only a fool would think that overnight Oregon State will become the vaunted powerhouse they were, under Dennis Erickson. There is a lot of work to be done. However I earnestly believe Jonathan Smith is the man to do it.
Even the most optimistic Beaver fan will concede Oregon State is not a premier college football program right now. For those of you who played the old NCAA Football games, the Beavers would not be a 6 star prestige program right now (Like Alabama and Ohio State). Because of this, certain coaches (cough cough Les Miles) would view us as a stepping stone (this isn't a knock against Oregon State, a large number of programs in America act as stepping stones for eager coaches trying to get their hands on blue blood program paydays).
Being a stepping stone does have its benefits, such as a shorter period of elite level success, however normally after the coach leaves the program, it returns to mediocrity. With Coach Smith, I don’t see him viewing Oregon State as a stepping stone. He's an Oregon State man and won't jump ship as soon as he turns the program around. Look no further than during Jonathan Smith's introduction when he said "...now I'm sitting here in front of you guys (the attendants of his introduction as the next Oregon State head football coach) at my dream job, in my dream town, at my dream school".
After making that statement Coach Smith was visually moved and clearly showed he has no intention to leave Oregon State after he transforms the program. Having a coach who is committed long term will not only allow Oregon State to become successful, but it will allow them to stay successful.
Now, as for his coaching abilities, Smith has always been a student of the game.
He was never the biggest or strongest guy in college. He didn't have the golden arm strength of Brett Favre, or the lightening quickness of Mike Vick. He relied on his savvy, and grit to become a star. After his illustrious Beaver career he went on to hold several coaching posts at various colleges, before becoming the Offensive Coordinator at Washington in 2014. While at Washington, he worked under and picked the brain of one of the best offensive minds in football today, Chris Peterson. It’s not rocket science to know a guy calling plays for an elite offensive team, is a premier football mind.
With his combination of grit, brilliant scheming, and a possible pipeline into the fertile recruiting ground of Southern California (which Coach Smith alluded to in his introduction as head football coach) he could very well turn Oregon State into a spread powerhouse. Only time will tell, but I think the Beavs hit a steroid era homer with this hire.
Watch this Jonathan Smith return to Oregon State video for a rush of nostalgia.