A serious question

I'm going to start off with a statistic this week, then a question – this is not a rhetorical question – this is a serious question. I'm curious what my fellow fans think.

Stat: through two Pac-10 games, the Beavers are ahead 33-0 in the first quarter, after that, they are down 84-13.

Question: What does this stat say about the OSU coaching staff?

Does this say they do a great job during the week and just can’t make adjustments during the game? Does this mean we don’t have the athletes to keep up for a full game with Pac-10 competition? Are our guys not as well conditioned as the players from Arizona State and UCLA?

I found myself asking these questions Saturday night as I was watching UCLA put up 28 points in the fourth quarter. If I had the answers, believe me, I’d tell you what I am thinking – but quite honestly – my mind is blank. I have no answers.

For quite a few hours after the game Saturday I was just plain numb – and no, not because I wore shorts and flip-flops to the game. I don’t know why the team struggles as much as they do. I know there is talent out there on the field – it is very evident in the first quarter – but why can’t this team sustain its success for more than a quarter?

Let me give another stat here, I heard this one on the radio post-game show: OSU converted just 1-of-14 third down opportunities. Amazingly, of those 13 failed tries, four were COMPLETED PASSES.Here is a rundown of third downs throughout the game:

  • Third-and-one – James Rodgers run, no gain;
  • Third-and-20 – pass incomplete; third-and-six – pass complete to Anthony Brown, 7 yards, first down;
  • Third-and-one – Yvenson Bernard run, loss of two – holding on the play is declined;
  • Third-and-17 – pass intercepted;
  • Third-and-12 – pass complete to Brandon Powers for 9 yards;
  • Third-and-seven – pass complete to Brown for 2 yards;
  • Third-and-10 – pass complete to Brown for 4 yards;
  • Third-and-eight – incomplete pass; third-and-four – incomplete pass;
  • Third-and-six – Matt Sieverson run, 3 yards; third-and-nine – Bernard run, 4 yards;
  • Third-and-13 – pass complete to Bernard for 4 yards;
  • Third-and-10 – Canfield sacked for a loss of 13.

Is anyone extremely frustrated after reading all over that? I know I am.

Something has to change. I don’t know what it is, but something isn’t right.

The outcome of this game can be specifically placed on the ineptitude of the offense and lack of execution on special teams. I’m not going to name any names, but I think you all know who I’m taking about as far as special teams go. Not only did a certain individual make a boneheaded play to cost the team 15 yards on Alexis Serna’s best punt of the night, but then he blows three consecutive kickoffs. The second one wasn’t as bad, but the first and the third – you have to be able to catch the ball on a kickoff. And if a player can’t do that, the coaching staff needs to put someone back there who can.

I think most people who actually know me would say that I am a pretty optimistic person. I usually see the silver lining to even the darkest cloud. Right now? I’m not sure I do.

I don’t know where the team goes from here. Of course I’d like to see things turn around, but with trips to USC, Cal, and Oregon left on the schedule, it is going to be very difficult for this team to make a bowl game. I would be very disappointed if this team doesn't make a bowl game. The seniors on this team deserve better; I truly believe that.

But, I’m not going to put this game completly on our two No. 5s, finger pointing does no good. I can't imagine what it feels like to fumble three kickoffs in a row and essentialy hand a team a victory, but I know it wouldn't feel good. I think in a game like this there is plenty of blame to spread around evenly.

I know Serna had a rough game with that missed field goal and some punting issues, but I want to give that guy some props for hanging in there. We know you aren’t a punter by trade Alexis, just hang in there. You’re a tough cat, and I, for one, respect what you are doing for the team.

I haven’t done this yet so far this season, but I want to give out a few game balls.

First, Yvenson Bernard – 27 carries, 125 yards, one touchdown, six catches for 14 yards – solid game from one of our senior leaders. Second, Brandon Hughes. One interception, five tackles and three pass breakups. Not just for those numbers, but while watching the game, that guy stood out; he had a very nice game. One more game ball goes to Greg Laybourn. Number forty-four had 15 tackles, eight solo, and he was all over the field. He was very impressive.

As a whole, the defense had nine tackles for loss, including three sacks. Once again, I was pretty satisfied with how the Beaver defense played – in the fourth quarter they were just on the field too much and no matter how many guys play or how many standouts are on the squad, that is bound to take its toll.

Hopefully the Orange and Black attack will have a solid week of practice and come read to play four full quarters Saturday against Arizona. The Beavers need to play well in all phases of the game, offense, defense, and special teams to even their record at 3-3.


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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