The Oregon State Beavers come into a home game after another disappointing loss. Flashes of last year are starting to become more frequent as the possibility of going 1-11 again becomes more...well, possible. The Beavers showed flashes of winning play against ASU but, like always, could not put together a complete game. If they hope to beat the Washington State Cougars, they will have to play a complete game and execute these keys.
Key 1: Set the Tempo
The Beavers can’t come out on offense and go 3 and out. You have to at least get a couple first downs and the ball moving. On defense, they need to not get gashed on the first drive for a touchdown. With the situation they are in, if these continue, it will become a blame game. The defense will blame the offense for not giving them time to rest and not flipping the field position. The offense will blame the defense for allowing Moses to part the Red Sea through them. Momentum is a huge part of a football game. The offense and defense feed off of each other. If they get down early, we will likely witness a blowout and fans heading home early.
Key 2: Be a Team
This slightly ties in with the first key but it’s important enough to have its own section. Last year after Andersen left and we lost to Stanford in a nail-biter we saw this team fall apart. It was never more evident than the 69-10 embarrassment handed to the Beavers by the Ducks (FTD). The team fell apart and it turned into players wanting their own glory. Each player was only worried about their own successes and turned on each other. There was a lot of internal fighting and finger pointing throughout the team. A new staff brings new hope, but so far, not much better results. If the Beavers want to be successful they’ll have to channel their inner 2004 Detroit Pistons. Gus Lavaka has the Afro like Ben Wallace and everyone wears face masks like Rip Hamilton. This team has to buy into actually being a team if they want to go anywhere. That means picking each other up after a mistake and wanting the other person to be successful even if that means sacrificing your own stats. The great football teams all have this with wide receivers blocking downfield to spring a run or defenses running straight to a player after a mistake to console them.
Key 3: Defense
I think this has been evident in the past games. The defense has looked bad...like really bad. They show some glimpses but getting continually gashed on the ground kind of ruins any hope. The bright side is last week Washington State had 0 rushing yards. Granted, they didn’t run the ball. This gives hope the Beavers won’t give up another rushing record. Washington State does have a lethal passing attack that will be a very big problem if they can not generate a pass rush. If they can force Washington State to run the ball and get out of their element they have a chance to keep this game in hand and put the pressure on the offense. The Cougars do have two very talented running backs in this backfield, so this will still not be an easy task if they do.
Oregon State played Washington State very well the last time they came to Reser. They met an unfortunate downfall in losing that game, as they had it well in hand. The Beavers will need to channel that and come out firing on all cylinders if they hope to shock this Washington State team and get Coach Smith’s first conference win.