BF.C KEYS TO THE GAME: Arizona State

SLOW STARTS AND sudden turnarounds are nothing new to the OSU faithful -- there always seems to be a "lightbulb game" for the Beavers. And Arizona State and their suddenly hurting o-line might just be the tonic OSU is thirsting for this week. If Oregon State wants to get back to their winning ways and begin their now customary mid-season surge, here's what they need to do most in the desert.

Manufacture a pass rush

It's clear that the front four are struggling.  Watching replays of the previous four games this year reveals that only Stephen Paea is getting any kind of penetration on the DL, and doing it against a double team. 
The answer:  If you can't get it done by winning matchups, do it through scheme.  Open up the blitz packages and run the defense like a riverboat gambler, Coach Banker.
Get Canfield a little breathing room
Without the running game working enough to keep the defense honest, the Oregon State coaching staff is going to have to scheme to get No. 5 some time to work. 
In past seasons a struggling offensive line has been bolstered by max protect formations, leaving the tight ends in to block.  Jacquizz Rodgers has evolved into a formidable receiving threat but at the expense of an excellent blocker. 
OSU hasn't used the tight ends a great deal in the receiving sense this year - that could be one of the best ways to keep Canfield on his feet.
Think outside the box
With Jacquizz Rodgers being the clear focus of opposing defenses, the box has been crowded and running room has been scarce at best.  The offensive line is struggling with the inside zone and winning man-to-man matchups, but they are a well coached group with solid athleticism who has can be successful on pulls and traps. 
Get James Rodgers and Markus Wheaton involved in the fly sweep and soften up the edges before pounding the middle of the field.  Runs inside the tackle have been tough to come by, and Arizona State's defensive line is no cream puff.  Get creative to get some rushing yards. 
  1. Control the line of scrimmage.  The five sacks actually aren't as bad as they would seem, three came on the final three desperation plays of the game and the Cats just pinned their ears back.  Still, under 100 yards rushing for Quizz and precious little running room found for the returning Pac 10 Offensive POY means the OL doesn't get a passing grade.  Not an F, but probably a D. 

  2. Limit penalties/mistakes.  Here the Beavers did a good job of curtailing the number of penalties.  Six penalties for 42 yards is by no means a killer and even better, none of the penalties were the worst kind - drive saving for the opponent or drive killing for the offense.  Give the Beavers a B+ there. Mistakes are harder to quantify, but OSU made enough of them they don't get a passing grade in that category either.

  3. Execute scoring opportunities.  First half:  3 trips inside the redzone and 2 touchdowns plus a field goal.  Second half:  2 trips into the redzone, 2 touchdowns.  The Beavers converted redzone trips to touchdowns 80 percent of the time, and those are good numbers.  Not perfect numbers, but good numbers.  Again, a B+. The problem last week was getting to the redzone.

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