Industrious Beavers (A Look Into Oregon State)
Cal fans know just about everything we want to know about our Golden Bears, but sometimes we forget to check the other side of the coin and see what’s there. And this week brings the team Tedford bizarrely struggles with the most at home. Vols, Rams, Bulldogs, Wildcats, and Ducks have all been previewed here with the team’s loyal fans, and this week I discussed Oregon State football with those who Bleed Black and Orange.
The road team has dominated these games in the past, and Oregon State has won its last several times in Strawberry Canyon. What does Mike Riley do so effectively in his road trips that has frustrated the Bears in the past?
I wish I knew the answer to this question, because usually the Beavers do not perform that well on the road. I do know that the Beavers have dominated on the ground in the wins so that means that the offensive line has done a good job as well as the running backs.
In the most recent game in Berkeley it was the defense that played really well as they forced five turnovers and generally looked faster than Cal. The scary thing is the Beavs only scored 23 points to win, so it was the defense that won the game for OSU.
I also think Cal overlooks the Beavers frequently for whatever reason….a lot of Beaver players get extra motivated there also since many have roots in the area.
Sean Canfield has been completing the ball pretty well, over 127 of 193. But over 10% of those completions end up in the arms of the opponent (13 INTs on the year). Is there a QB controversy brewing in Corvallis, or is it just some minor issues that will be worked out on the playing field?
There is no quarterback controversy in Corvallis – Sean Canfield is the man despite his NCAA leading 13 interceptions. There is a combination of things that is hurting Canfield.
One, is star receiver Sammie Stroughter was out for most of fall camp and is now out for the season. When Stroughter is out of the lineup, the Beavers have a difficult time stretching the field. Two, Canfield is not seeing his receivers down field. On the long routes Canfield will look downfield, but not see the open receiver as they break open on the cut.
Three, he is taking a long time to decide where to go with the ball in the pocket. He has had plenty of time in the pocket and usually just makes the safe throw dumping it off the running back out of the backfield or a short pass to a receiver. The coaches are trying to get him to go downfield more, but it seems he is afraid to really air it out for fear of a turnover and he is just not seeing the receivers.
I wouldn’t say these are minor issues as I believe that there may be a mental block to going downfield…He’ll be a top caliber PAC 10 QB in the next year or two….The second stringer is nowhere near Canfield’s ability, if you can imagine that….
Yvenson Bernard seems to be your workhorse, a surprising leader in rushing yards for the Pac-10 (although behind Jonathan Stewart and Forsett in average yards per game). Will the need to win on Saturday come through an effective ground attack? Or will Canfield have to open it up in the air, sans his primary target Sammie Stroughter (out for the year)? Any key parts of the O-Line that need to keep Cal’s D at bay?
Definitely. The Beavers need to establish the running game to keep the pressure off of Canfield. This has been a theme the entire year and for the most part the offensive line has done a fantastic job. Bernard has topped the 100-yard mark in four of the six games this year, with one sub-100 game coming in a blowout against Idaho State where he sat for the second half.
And yes, the Beavers will need to air it out to stretch the defense a little bit to loosen up the defense because if they don’t Cal will stack seven in the box putting a ton of pressure on the offensive line and Canfield. A very scary situation. And Beaver Nation is fine with Canfield throwing a pick while going downfield, a situation that has been surprisingly rare. A good chunk of his interceptions have come on screens where he has thrown the ball up for grabs which drives everyone crazy.
The strength of the offensive line is the right side in guard Roy Schuening (40 plus straight starts) and tackle Andy Levitre combined with center Kyle DeVan. The left side is manned by first year starters tackle Tavita Thompson and guard Adam Speer.
Your running defense is #1 in Division I, allowing 43.3 yards, and 13th in overall yardage. Yet you’re giving up more points per game than Cal (and we’re not exactly the ’86 Bears). Is there something misleading about this stat? What will the plan be to stop the Forsett/Montgomery/Best platoon, and what part of the defense will have the most important role on Saturday?
Yes. The majority of the points have come off of turnovers which resulted in a short field and a tired defense that is on the field way too much. For example, even though the Beavers won against Arizona last week, the offense had the ball for just over 10 minutes for the entire second half. That means that the Beaver defense was on the field in the second half for around 17 minutes in the third and fourth quarter. Any defense would get tired and give up points with a short field.
I am pretty confident of the Beavers ability to stop the run. The front seven are fantastic and they play a lot of people. What really concerns me is Tim Clark who will be making his first career start Saturday. He is confident, but lacks experience and will probably be picked on the entire game. Plus, if Clark or Brandon Hughes, the other starting corner, gets hurt the Beavers are going to be in really bad shape.
No smoke or mirrors about our run D…the points scored against us are mostly off turnovers and short fields…we will be the toughest defense you have seen all year…Riley or Longshore will have to beat us through the air, which, with a rookie cornerback in there for us, scares the hell out of me…
With USC’s earth-shattering defeat, the Pac-10 seems wide open. What does a successful season look like for Oregon State? Who are the players to look out for (i.e. future NFL prospects)?
I think that 6-6 or 7-5 is what we have to hope for…..schedule looks brutal, but I think there’s 3-4 very winnable games left there for us……SC is now among those.
Well, at this point just making a bowl game would be a successful year. Before the year a bowl game seemed like a lock, maybe even the Rose Bowl, probably the Holiday though, but those dreams were dashed pretty quickly.
On offense – guard Roy Schuening, back Yvenson Bernard, center Kyle DeVan, guard Andy Levitre
On defense – linebacker Derrick Doggett, linebacker Alan Darlin, linebacker Joey LaRocque, safety Al Afalava
Schuening and Doggett will most likely be drafted, the others are maybes. Guard Jeremy Perry and receiver Sammie Stroughter would also be on the list if they weren’t hurt.
What will it take to beat Cal this week and add another corpse to the pile of huge upsets?
A familiar cry from Beaver Nation is that if the Beavers don’t turn the ball over more than twice than they will be in the game and I fully agree with this statement. The Beaver defense is fast, athletic and great at forcing a team to be one dimensional. They also harass the quarterback and are constantly in the backfield. If the offense doesn’t turn the ball over, three and outs are okay, then the defense is good enough to keep Cal at bay.
Another key is to not punt to DeSean Jackson. Alexis Serna is the country’s worst punter with a 33 yard average. He is not consistent and cannot directional kick. A punt return could break the game wide open.
Anything I missed about the Beavers that you know about? Let me know in the comments.
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