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He Said. She Said. The Good & The Not So Good

The He said-She said team braved the elements to be in Corvallis for the Utah game. What did we see from our vantage point high above Reser Stadium?

She said: Offense

The nasty weather played a huge factor on Saturday, yet in the first half the Beavers kept trying to throw downfield. It was not successful as Oregon State had just one passing yard at halftime.

One yard.

While there was some poor execution by both the quarterback and his receivers, plenty of that falls onto play calling.  Why call so many passes in those conditions?

The run game started out strong with Ryan Nall peeling off a 32 yard run to get things started, but then he was unable to go the rest of the game.

Not a problem, Artavis Pierce rushed for 60 yards and averaged 6.7 yards per carry. But he too left the game with an injury.

If the Beavers would have gone more with the run game (even the 4th string running back averaged 4 ypc), I think they would have had a better chance to win.  Not only was the weather indicative of a run game, the Beavers had success running the ball.

Two plays though really stood out to me.  The first was the pile moving run by Pierce in the third quarter.  That was an all out offensive effort and shows just how much this team cares and wants to win.  

The other? The last play of the game where Bolden was roughed up on the sideline.  Players came to his immediate rescue including Sean Harlow who was first.  

Great to see this team have each others backs as I still remember the hit Quizz took against WSU and no one did a darn thing.

She said offensive grade:  C

He said Offense:

I’m not sure what to think of that offensive showing, other than it was weird.   

While his receivers didn’t help him in the least with multiple drops, Darrel Garretson couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn until late in the game.  Then he got injured.   

Walk-on second stringer Conor Blount was pressed into action, cold off the bench, on a 3rd and goal from the 8.  

Fade route to the corner of the endzone was called.  What!?   A pass that requires a ton of touch and practice with your receiver is the best option at that point?  

Then Marcus McMaryion enters the game and looks like the best passing QB in the game.  In 11 total game snaps he passed for more yardage that the other two Oregon State QBs AND the Utah QB combined (76 yards to 66 yards).  How exactly did he drop to third string again?

With the Beavers ending with a 6.82 ypc average (taking out the negative safety yardage), it seems clear they should have ran the ball more.  Ryan Nall going out of the game after one play caused a ripple effect and I’m not sure the OCs fully trusted the backups, hence the propensity to continue passing even in the poor conditions.

In order for this team to be successful, they need to figure out their identity on offense.   At this point, that identity is about as cloudy as the sky over Corvallis on Saturday.

He said offensive grade: D

She said Defense:

Every week I feel that we are seeing progress from the defense. Veterans and young guys alike are clawing and fighting and we are seeing improvement.

After the Colorado loss I wondered which direction this team would go.  Pack it in or continue to fight.  I see fight.

The first half, I thought the defense played OK. The second half they looked downright great.

Bright Ugwoegbu was all over the place making plays. I have seen a lot of improvement from him just throughout the season.  

Senior Devin Chappell continues to make big plays and laid a huge hit on Cory Butler-Byrd, which caused a fumble.

Honestly I don’t think Utah’s offense is anything spectacular, but as we see from the Ute’s, good defense can definitely lead to wins.  

Mark it down, this defense will pave the way for at least one more win this season.

Defensive Grade She said: B+

He said Defense:

As Angie notes, we are seeing serious progress on the defensive side of the ball.

While Utah isn’t an offensive juggernaut, and the weather helps the defense, the Beaver defense was  basically lights out in the second half.

Utah got one short field touchdown late in the game, but that can’t be blamed on the defense.   

In all, Utah’s offense was held to 78 yards after halftime.  78 yards of total offense!   That’s an excellent defensive effort.

The defense did exactly what was needed to win the game.  After starting a bit slow, they clamped down.  It was all there for the taking but the offense couldn’t capitalize.

He said Defense Grade:  A-

She Said: Coaching Overall:

I’ve seen writers who cover other teams talk about coaches being ‘handcuffed’ and not able to do what they want because of the personnel in play.  To me, a great coach is able to create a plan that works toward the strengths that he has to work with and does not try to pound a round peg into a square hole.

I get it.  You can’t simply rely on a run game, but sometimes the conditions require it, and that was the case on Saturday.  

The Beavers will need to have a vertical threat, but right now they have exactly one weapon:  Victor Bolden.  Seth Collins has the potential, but he is still raw and sporadic.  Jordan Villamin once again dropped an easy ball that would have moved the chains and I see his chances for opportunity dwindling rather quickly.

I love the fly sweep and the plays off of the fly motion.  It would be fun to get Collins involved there more, as that should be a staple for this offense.

The game came down to special teams.  Two missed field goals and a safety is an eight point differential and meant the difference between a 19-14 loss and potentially a 20-17 win.

She said grade: C-

He said: Coaching/Overall:

The positives:  The defensive coaching staff dialed up a great game plan and made the necessary adjustments in the second half to stifle Utah’s offense.

Very impressed with Kevin Clune and his coaching.  This defense is improving nicely, even with some pretty serious injuries requiring inexperienced players to play significant minutes.  

The future is starting to look pretty bright on this side of the ball.

The negatives:  The offensive staff made some interesting calls that probably shouldn’t have been made, especially in that weather.

It was almost as if there was no thought given to the weather at all, which started at the beginning of the game based on the decision to not defer and play the wind game after winning the coin toss.

That’s part of coaching, playing to your strengths and being aware of the conditions.  Right now, this team is better defensively, so why not defer and put Utah into the wind on offense?

We can talk about mainly running the ball in those conditions, sort of like Utah did (13 passes to 60 rushes)..but that would make too much sense.  Especially after going for nearly 500 yards on the ground last week.  

It’s almost  like the Oregon State offensive coaches get psyched out by Utah and game plan strangely as a result.  I felt the same way after last year’s Utah game in Salt Lake City.  Remember, they refused to run up the middle and didn’t use Ryan Nall in the rush game at all?

The ugly:  Special teams was nothing short of a disaster.  Two missed field goals (neither of which were even close), a punt snap that sailed over the punter’s head by a good 10 feet and ended up out of the endzone for a safety, and a poorly executed onside kick that didn’t even give the team a chance.   If just the field goals had been executed properly, the six points gives the Beavers the victory.

Just as ugly was the fact that the punt that ended up for the safety could have been kicked with the wind had a run play been called on either the 2nd or 3rd down of that series.  Again, goes back to game conditions and not being dialed in to those.  Head scratching really.

Also, what’s the deal with Kevin McGiven and quarterback injuries?  Just two years ago at Utah State they ended up playing their 4th string quarterback due to injuries.  The Beavers are praying that they don’t need to reach that deep.  Coincidence or….?

All in all an imminently winnable game that slipped through their grasp for a multitude of reasons, some of which fall onto the coaching staff.

He said grade:  A for the Defensive coaches, D+ for the offensive coaches, F for the Special Teams.

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