Oregon State is coming off a tough loss to Hawaii and starting to look like all the old Oregon State teams of the past. While Hawaii was a very winnable game, and Oregon State should have won, they left all Oregon State fans with a sour taste in their mouth. Oregon State also did not handle this loss well as a slew of problems have arisen brewing inner turmoil. Looking to regroup and start their winning ways, Oregon State faces Cal Poly in Reser this week. Cal Poly is on the lower end of The Big Sky teams and should be an easy with the Beavers.
1. Fix the Inner problems
It was seen around the internet that Gus Lavaka threw punches after the game against Hawaii, out of frustration. This is very uncharacteristic of the Beavers and of Gus, which may speak to the overall frustration levels. Gus was also not the only player to throw punches during the game as Kaleb Hayes was also seen throwing a punch earlier. This is a very bad look for the Beavers and the whole coaching staff. This should speak to the frustration of the losing ways, but also the lack of winning that has been seen at Oregon State. I expect Coach Smith to handle this swiftly and it should not be an issue again in this season. For Kaleb Hayes, to throw a punch at a teammate during a game while surrounded by coaches is unacceptable and speaks to the fact that this coaching staff needs to bring together this team. Team chemistry is what this Beaver team will need to ever be successful. If they have a bad showing against Cal Poly, or even somehow lose, I would expect to see a full meltdown by this team and lack of confidence in the staff and teammates. We have experienced Beaver teams that are more focused on individual stats rather than team success, and those teams have been very unsuccessful.
2. Run Up the Score
This may seem unsportsmanlike or a bad idea against an FCS team, but I think this is needed for the players and fans alike. If there is a repeat of the Portland State game that Oregon State barely won a few years ago, we will likely be looking at another 1-11 season. This Beaver team needs confidence in their offense and to find what works outside of just throwing Isaiah Hodgins the ball. If Oregon State can find a dynamic playmaker and have a breakout game for someone like Tyjon Lindsey, it will make this offense less one-dimensional. The run game has been successful but if the passing game does not get rolling, Oregon State can expect stacked boxes and lots of pressure to the inexperienced right side of the line. Jake Luton has the talent to lead a dangerous passing attack but needs the confidence to open up and start to take the top off of defenses. Cal Poly should be an easy team to do this against and a good way to reset this offense after an ugly showing against Hawaii.
3. Defense gaining momentum
The Oregon State defense was not great against Hawaii but it showed improvements over the tough start against Oklahoma State. Hawaii is infamous for being an Air Raid team and Cal Poly is the exact opposite. Cal Poly is a run dominant team that runs a Wing-T offense that tries to stretch defenses and fool them with running option plays. Their pass game is not a big threat and mostly only used as a change of pace to catch a defense off guard. The Beavers have always struggled against the run, so it should be a good way for the Beavers to gain confidence by stopping the run of a team that will run a lot. The defense needs to have a good game and not allow a shootout to an FCS team going into PAC-12 play. If the defense does not have a good showing, it may only discourage them more and not set them up for play in a conference that looks like it should have multiple winnable games. I expect the defense to be well prepared and have a good showing against Cal Poly and look to prove something to the fans and the nation that has already written off this Oregon State team.