Since it is rivalry week, I feel compelled to fling some disrespect and have some fun with Oregon State fans. But the team? We need to be careful with snap judgments because this is a highly improved Beaver team, one that is quite capable of beating Our Beloved Ducks and I will explain why. Of course there is always some humor involved when trying to understand our northern neighbors, and I will turn to a good friend of mine, (and of the site) Kim Hastings, for analysis into what he calls “the denizens of East Philomath.”
Let’s start with some facts; Oregon State beat Cal, and should have beaten Washington with the correct ball spots, and this was in Seattle. We were impressed with the Husky defense last week, but Oregon State ran the ball quite effectively through great old-fashioned run blocking against them. With OSU, be prepared to watch the emergence of a new trend in college offenses, of going back to an “I” formation and the snap directly behind the center!
Oregon State takes the snap behind the center often and has Jermar Jefferson deep in the “I” formation, similar to what we saw of Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma so many years ago. Jefferson is the real deal, and the Beavers were superior to the Ducks in analyzing and recruiting him to Corvallis. (He is better than anyone we currently have) When the Beavers run out of the Pistol, it is almost always a Stretch play, but they have more success with it than we do because of their blocking, and even though teams know it is coming. (And they run out of the Shotgun, as well as twin back formations.)
They use tight ends like a fullback and really open the holes well; many have ‘dissed on OSU quarterback Tristan Gebbia, but while he throws a bad one once in a while–ours does too. Yet Gebbia threw superb long balls, and nails the receivers in stride over the middle. He is also mobile enough to get key first downs, thus the bottom line is that he is more than good enough to beat any team. The Beavers are not afraid to pull a trick play out on key downs and points off that tactic beat the Golden Bears last weekend.
They have two tight ends from the state of Oregon that the Ducks recruited lightly, but they block and catch well and can even go long as witnessed versus Cal. Oregon State will run an Inside Zone out of the Shotgun, but change the footwork to end up in a Pistol-like result. Oregon did this years ago, as many major teams do now and it is very effective for them. (I wish we did this now at Oregon instead of the Pistol)
Kim’s comment about the Oregon offense…
“I have come to agree with you so profoundly about The Pistol, that I may put one in my mouth before this season is over.”
The biggest difference for Oregon State is how awful they were on defense two years ago and how improved they are today; the Beaver defense is not great, but neither are the Ducks’ at this juncture, but they are athletic enough to cause Oregon problems. The strategies UCLA employed on defense? Expect to see them today until the Ducks solve them, as they have good coaching and a variety of stunts and blitzes to mess up plays. (Note: Beaver DBs will hold like crazy on key third downs and force the officials make the call!)
Twice Cal was in the Red Zone and the Beavers intercepted passes to thwart all scoring on those drives, thus their defense can make key plays. This is huge improvement in a very short time, and I expect them to give Oregon their best punch. The Ducks should win, but that doesn’t mean they will. If recruiting rankings always mattered … Oregon would have never beaten USC.
Legendary coach Tony DeMeo has written a number of articles for us and makes reference in this one to the four meaningful stats. He felt that the plus-two turnover margin was especially critical now and mentioned to me how Illinois beat Nebraska with a +5 turnover margin, Northwestern beat Wisconsin with +4 turnover margin and wondered where Oregon would be without a +3 turnover margin against the Bruins? In a recent interview he explained that in this COVID year…
“As teams use more RPOs, the defenses will force more passes out of them, and that leads to more turnovers. The teams with the best ball security will win, not the team with the most yards.”
He feels that the turnover margin is by far the most important in a year where mistakes are more prone due to the loss of practice time.
In my view, the Beavers may see this as their best chance to beat Oregon in years, as the Duck defense saved the day last year but that skill level is not present in the 2020 version. Most of us fans talk about the offense, but the fact is … Oregon averaged 35 points per game last year and are averaging 39 points this year, thus the offense is better. However on defense the points given up per game has gone from 16 points per game last year to 26 points per game this year, and that is the difference in this teams future success.
The point I am making is that the Beavers are now at parity with the rest of the conference, and truly can beat anyone; it has happened rapidly, and I have great respect for Coach Jonathan Smith. Like any foe, we do not fear anyone, but respect all. However that “respect” does not have to apply to Beaver fans, and over at Mayberry–an identity crisis is at the core of their confusion.
What is in a NAME?
The University of Oregon has had the one consistent name for 144 years, something the Beavers could only wish for. Let’s look at their list…
1868—Official articles of incorporation in the State of Oregon were filed for Corvallis College. Really? Corvallis College? They are never hearing the end of this…
1872—Changed to the Corvallis State Agricultural College. It sounds like they are trying to hide the fact that it’s an insane asylum. Kind of like Medical Lake near Spokane?
1882—Yet another name change, to Corvallis College and Oregon State Agricultural College. The beginning of split personalities…
1888—State Agricultural College of the State of Oregon. How many states does it take?
1890—Oregon Agricultural College. Are they, will they, dare they, become the Aggies?
1893—OAC “steals” the color orange from Albany College and never officially adopts black. (And they accuse the Ducks of stealing the color black from them?)
1896—Agricultural College of the State of Oregon. Contestant: “Pat, can I buy an of?” Pat: “Two of them!”
1897—Back to Oregon Agricultural College. Why? I didn’t like it the first time.
1899—Once again back to Agricultural College of the State of Oregon. Nope, it is just as bad the second time around…
1908—Another return to Oregon Agricultural College? C’mon… does this really sound better the third time?
1927—Name changed to Oregon State Agricultural College. What state were they in when working on these? I know, I know…the state of confusion.
1937—Now known as the Oregon State College. After all these changes … they wonder why we just call them Corn Valley?
1961—Oregon State College becomes the state’s second public university, Oregon State University. (85 years after the University of Oregon was founded and settled on its name)
2020–Eleven name changes over the years; does this explain a few things to you about Beaver fans?
As always–let’s discuss before, during and after the game below this article because…
“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!
Charles Fischer (Mr. FishDuck)
Top Photo by Kevin Cline
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