Apologies for the MIA from all of us at PNW.

Games have been intense, days long and a few monsoons and work related items mixed in to this football season. But we are back.

The past three weeks have been such an interesting, troubling yet revealing season for the Oregon State football team.

It all started with being absolutely dominated in every phase and section of the loss @ Colorado. At that point, we here were ready to assume no wins for two more years. However, that was part of the classic over reaction Monday. There was some decent play to come out of Colorado mostly on the defensive side.

Moving onto Cal. What an incredible, gutty win for the program. Gary Anderson post game “Go Beavers, how about that” yelling in the camera… priceless. You could tell how much he waited for that first Pac-12 win. Incredible.

Utah was a statement game for good reason. No one is talking about how the Beavs have hung with every team they have played physically. (including Colorado) There haven’t been many cover our eyes moments on defense or offense when it comes to the trenches or physicality. You don’t see Ryan Murphy out there treating a tackle like two dogs meeting for the first time. Or players completely out of position whiffing. The Beavs played with and ultimately lost because of horrid offense against the Pac-12’s most physical team, Utah. They went toe to toe but arguably out hit Utah. If not for two missed FG and snap WORSE than Michigan, they would be sitting at 2-1 in the Pac-12 and be the talk of every sports writer including Gina getting destroyed daily because of her two way predictions.

Onto what we like and don’t like so far about this season:

+ Physicality of defense and offense. See above. We can play physically with anyone. Now to work on skill position speed and talent.

+ Elu Ayudon (99) DT: Becoming a true presence in the middle of the defense and a great face painter. Understatement of the year: we need more face painters. Also, shows up huge in getting in on tackles not just clogging. When was the last time we had a young stud DT?

+ Xavier Crawford (22) CB: Again, young, fast, hard hitting CB that has covered anyone thrown at him and not just turns for the ball but consistently is in run support and physically defeating blocks on the outside.

+ Bright Ugwoegbu (47) OLB: PNW Sports writers eating their own crap right now. We were down on Bright at the beginning of the season but his coach-ability and athleticism has been full on display as he is by far the most improved player on this team and turning into the type of OLB that Gary Andersen salivates over; fast, rangy and “wild” player. He needs to tighten up his technique when it comes to hitting QB’s lower and wrapping up but he is there and plays every play.

+ Art Pierce (21) RB: Hits the whole, durable, complete back with speed. Better overall back than our other RB and a true every down back…

+ Secondary play: Hits on pass catchers, run stuffing, pass break ups, few big plays, etc. Great play by the guys in the back with average pass rush

+ Punting/covering all have been solid minus the bad snap

– Passing game… this is obvious… goes with play calling… see below

– Ryan Nall (34) RB: Disappointment overall on the season. Sources said early that despite his freakish ability and body, he is not a true practice player who puts in the work during summer, spring, you name it. He has gotten by on pure athletic genes. That has shown with his durability being outright ridiculous. Seems like a high school hit can get him out of the game. His big play ability is huge and we cannot deny he made Cal look like Ryan Murphy and Keith Pankey at every defensive position but NEWS FLASH: it doesn’t matter when you cannot stay on the field a whole game. He has yet to play a full game this season. Art Pierce has not just gotten his share of carries but shown his ability to every game run HARD and hit the whole. Cal game was Nall’s first true HARD running game since the Civil War… Maybe OSU should rest him fully for two weeks to see if he can really heal up?

– Jordan Villiam: Where are you? Please bring your 6’5″ 240 pound gazelle running frame back to relevance… Please? We will do anything for you. Your dad loves you.

– TE play post Noah Togai: Very few people have talked about this and kind of pushed Togai’s injury to the side… This has been huge… We have no middle of the field threat or presence… No safety blanket. We have been reduced to four wide sets with sub par receivers… Real bummer on this…

– QB play/play calling: QB play has been poor obviously but we do not think it has been all Garretson’s, Blount’s or whoever’s fault… We are a running team. Period. Andersen talks about that constantly. Yet after Art Pierce drags Utah defenders rugby style for 20 yards, we call a pass play? Ultimate WTF! You run until you are stopped and not many teams have been able to stop OSU’s running game this year…

Leading Rusher average yards per carry (min 8 carries):

Minnesota: 5.5

Idaho State: 5.8

Boise State: 4.7

Colorado: 7.6

Cal: 15.8

Utah: 6.7

Season Total WITH SACKS: 5.4 yard per carry. OSU is 21st in YPC in the nation. And around 90th in rushing attempts… WHY? WTF!

This is the most puzzling and annoying thing ever. We want to limit other teams offense’s… Best defense is a clock churning, rushing offense… Yet we don’t use it consistently? Our o-line has finally gelled together and we have road pavers pulling left and right on run plays… yet we eff around with deep balls and end zone fades that have a 10% completion rate… Not to mention our starting QB is LAST IN THE NATION in passing efficiency… WHY? Doesn’t have to be like this…

+ Marcus McMaryion will play well. PNW colleagues have debated if he should have had the starting QB job in the first place… leadership is quiet though and leading the team is not his strength… Garretson voted team captain… McMaryion has some play with his legs but his true strength is delivering a great ball and playing smart. Hopefully this will lead to the Beavs pushing more to the run game and mixing in solid smart passes with the ability to stretch the field before teams start playing 9 men in the box…

Should be an interesting game at UW. Beavs should cover the -35 point spread but UW is probably in the top 3 teams in the nation. Competitiveness is what we want to see. Overall, Gary Andersen is ahead of schedule in the attitude and physicality of the OSU program which usually takes by far the most time to build… Remember he is only in year 1.5, not even 2 yet… Continue to develop depth on D and playmakers on O and OSU will be looking at not just competition every game but getting over the hump soon leading to wins… sooner rather than later…

GO BEAVERS! HOW ABOUT THAT???

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