Rodgers is electric

Hello Beaver Nation, greetings from Newport. I have a bunch of things to touch on, but first and foremost, the Beavers have found a gem in speedy freshman James Rodgers. Four carries for 62 yards, are you kidding me? What a great find. He might be just the compliment to Yvenson Bernard that OSU needs.

Taylor Kavanaugh did an exceptable job returning punts, but personally, I’d like to see Rodgers back there. I really think he, Rodgers, could do some damage – then again, I’m not on the coaching staff, I don’t see these players every day, and I’m sure the coaches know more than I do.

I must say, at least in my area (section 12, row 4), there was certainly a buzz after Rodgers had his first carry. Every time he entered the game after his first carry we were pointing him out to one another saying, “He’s back in, he’s back in, lets get him the ball.” Great job to whichever one of the Beaver’s coaches found him.

From what I understand Oregon State was the only Division 1 school to give him an offer. I can see OSU using Rodgers much the way the New Orleans Saints used Reggie Bush during his first year in the NFL – except for lining him up as tailback. I see a lot of misdirection fakes to him with YB going up the gut, hopefully popping some big runs.

Rodgers needs to touch the ball at least 5 to 7 times per game with another handful of plays where he is used as a decoy. Four touches, four first downs – that is impressive. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the dude is listed at 5-foot-7, 181 pounds – yet he is still a stud.

Next, Yvenson Bernard and the offensive line. What a game. A bit of a slow start, but they certainly did get it going. It would be nice if Bernard had some breakaway speed, but I can live with 29 carries for 165 yards, plus four catches for 23 yards. I know it isn’t realistic to think YB will put up those numbers each game this season, but if he could, it would be a very special year, possibly a Rose Bowl year. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.

I am a bit concerned with the number of touches Bernard had in this game, however, he has proven that he can carry the load, so the benefit of the doubt goes to the coaching staff. And Yve doesn’t put up the numbers he does without stellar play from the offensive line, many props to those guys. The hogs up front created some nice space for Bernard to run in. Lets hope left guard Jeremy Perry isn’t out too long, although his backup, No. 51 Adam Speer, did just fine.

The Beaver "D" looked great. I can live with the defense giving up 196 yards, only 18, repeat, 18 yards on the ground. The defense did a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback, especially in the first half, and the way they were flying to the football was phenomenal. It is going to be very difficult for any team OSU plays to get outside. One thing that does worry me is over-pursuit – however, often times if the first guy to the ball carrier over pursues, there is a second guy right behind him to make a play.

OSU didn’t force any turnovers, and did give up the ball twice – one interception each from quarterbacks Sean Canfield and Lyle Moevao – and if the Beavers can do that and still win convincingly, that is definitely a good thing.

The way our defense flies to the ball they are bound to create some turnovers – it is the offense’s job to take advantage of those opportunities.

As far as the quarterback situation goes, despite the fact that OSU’s first touchdown of the 2007 season was scored with Moevao under center, I think it is clear right now, that Sean Canfield is the man at quarterback. He certainly didn’t have eye-popping numbers – a few drops didn’t help any – but he did seem to settle down and did a solid job directing the Beavers’ offense in the second half.

One complaint/question – why roll a left-handed quarterback out to his right? This happened, I believe, in the red zone shortly before the touchdown grab by Darrell Catchings. The throw when Canfield rolled right looked awkward and was batted down.

I would like to give props to the special teams coverage units. Utah had a total of five kick returns and one punt return, the average of the kick returns was 13.4 yards with the longest being 18, while the punt return went for seven yards. If the OSU coverage units can keep that up, things are looking good.

After watching the Cal-Tennessee game – memo to OSU coaches – DO NOT punt to DeSean Jackson. For those who did not see his punt return for a touchdown in the game, look it up on YouTube– trust me, it was impressive. It looked like something Reggie Bush or Dante Hall would do. I would rather have a 30-yard punt out of bounds than a 50 yarder that gives him a shot at a return.

Back to the Beaver defense – OSU did it last year, and they’re doing it again this year – rotating a number of players and keeping guys fresh. I especially like the situational substitutions. Slade Norris played very well in pass rushing situations, as did Victor Butler on the other side.

Of course I was at the game, but also, I recorded it and watched ir on TV, one statistic they gave was that OSU is 35-5 with the lead heading into the fourth quarter under head coach Mike Riley. This win against Utah gave the Beavers their 22nd win in 23 tries with the lead going into the fourth quarter.

I don’t want to leave out the new-look Reser Stadium. The south end zone looks great, as does the new jumbotron. I do need to mention that the jumbotron operator needs a lesson. Folks in my area were disappointed, I’ll give a ballpark figure of a half dozen times, numerous occasions we were looking to the board for a replay of a key play, and it wasn’t there.

Good luck to the Beavers playing at Cincy this week.

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Jake Schubert is a new/old contributor to BeaverFootball.com. He writes for the Newport News-Times in Newport, Oregon and can be reached at sports@newportnewstimes.com. Jake has been to every home football at OSU for eight consecutive years and he is looking to make it nine this year.


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