First glimpse at Andersen’s O this spring

GARY ANDERSEN IS a longtime defensive coach but don’t forget that he was a center during his playing days, and a pretty good one. No one knows exactly what we’ll see from his new Beaver offense but we should at least get some of the first hints this spring.

Gary Andersen has said the Beaver O will look more like his offense did when he was the head man at Utah State (2009-12) rather than when he was at Wisconsin (2013-14). He didn’t say exactly like USU – there will be changes and tweaks. Still, what would a similar offense look like in Corvallis?

In basic terms, a wide-open spread offense -- but also one that is balanced between the run and the pass figures to be in store.

Andersen is going to run the ball – not like the power attack of a Wisconsin but he does like to run. But perhaps what he most likes is the threat of the run – both from the running backs and the QB. That opens up a lot of ways to stress a defense.

When the threat of the run is established, that’s when you’ll probably see more play action, pass plays out of different spread personnel groupings – as well as more options for running outside the tackles.

When it works, Andersen’s offense has defenses on its heels. The QB during his Utah State days would pass regular on first down, second-and-6 or fewer, third-and-4 or fewer with high-percentage passes. As USU would stretch the defense out, they’d then start pounding away with the run game.

When it doesn’t work, seemingly successful drives can suddenly stall with a failed third-down conversion.

Andersen has also said the Beavs will vary the pace -- at times they'll look like the Beavers did last year, taking almost all of the play clock. Other times they'll endeavor to be if not as fast as, say, Arizona in between snaps, then in the same zip code.

Andersen will need time to get his type of players in place. As great as his time was at Utah State, it’s important to note he went 4-8, 4-8, 7-6 before the 11-2 breakout season.

Granted, Oregon State is in a lot better place than USU was – Utah State had experienced 11 straight losing seasons and had gone 6-30 the previous three years. Still, it’s asking a bit much, given what’s in the cupboard, to expect Oregon State to compete for the Pac-12 crown in his first season.

There will be a transition period. There always is when a new coach and staff come in with new schemes. The question is how long.

But if you want something to look forward to now, consider that in Andersen’s final year at USU, his quarterback threw for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns while his running back rushed for 1,512 yards and 15 TDs. That’s a pretty good balance, something Oregon State fans haven’t seen for a while.

If you want to take a look at a full Utah State game from 2012, here’s the 48-41 OT win over No. 19 Louisiana Tech.



NOTABLE NOTE:
Spring drills get underway Tuesday, March 3 and wraps up April 18 at 1 p.m. with the Beavs' Spring Game.

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