31.Aug.2014 What We Can Learn from MLB and Some Possible Solutions.

As many of you know, this idea that “you can’t recruit to Corvallis” drives me nuts. But let’s just pretend for a moment that it’s true.

I’m a big baseball fan…more so than football. And watching the Tigers/Royals fight for the division just reiterates what I instinctually know — that payroll doesn’t matter. It’s how the players on your team play the game that matters. The Tigers have the 4th highest payroll in baseball. The Royals have the 18th highest. I mention these two teams because they’re in the same division. If you want an even more extreme example, take the Dodgers at #1 in payroll and the Oakland A’s at 27th (only 3 teams have a lower payroll). The Dodgers are 76-60, and Oakland is 76-57. What does Oakland do better than the Dodgers? The fundamentals. They pitch well, get on base, and they hit timely. There is also a defined identity (they don’t try to find it every year).

Let’s concede OSU has worse talent than USC and Oregon. Okay, now what? Do we use it as a perpetual crutch, or do we find creative solutions to level it? I argue for the latter. Some ways to do this might be:

  1. Recruit speed. “Speed kills”, as the adage goes, and this is true the lower the level of competition. Recruit raw talent if the speed is there. Especially at skill positions and linebacker.
  2. Recruit an efficient QB who makes good decisions. Someone like Dan LeFevour would be perfect for OSU. Sure, he will not make the NFL, set Pac-12 passing records, and will not “look the part”, but he’ll do everything right. Again, at a lower level like college ball you can get away with not having a big arm if you have everything else. Because everyone has speed in the NFL a guy like LeFevour would be a disaster. But let some other team recruit the prototypical passer and develop him for the NFL, and instead focus on an all world NCAA level QB. We know Riley passed on Kellen Moore…that was another perfect NCAA QB. There are guys like that out there to be had. Completion % is a lot like OBP in MLB, which is how the A’s win. Efficiency is underrated, so recruit it.
  3. Have a nasty secondary. Most NCAA teams pass a lot…make them fear your secondary. Al Afalava was a perfect college safety. 18 year old kids have not yet learned how to be fearless. They will not want to go over the middle if your secondary is loaded with psychopaths.
  4. Spend coaching time on fundamentals rather than mastering a complex playbook. What we see every year are college kids trying to learn Riley’s pro playbook, when 99% of these guys will never turn pro. That is an extremely wasteful use of time. Simply if the playbook, and use all that new found additional time to cleanup the fundamentals (e.g. penalties, false starts, precision execution, etc).
  5. Etc etc. I could go on with many many more ideas, but it’s Labor Day weekend, and I am headed out now. But you get the idea. The Beavs claim they can’t recruit, yet even if we concede that, they cannot claim they’re efficient. In fact, I’d say they are one of the least efficient teams I’ve ever watched. If OSU wants to hire me as a consult just contact me. I’d help change this shit around within weeks.

If you can’t beat them or join them then outsmart them; Mike Riley has to be one of the most stubborn (possibly dense) coaches around. He’s trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. This is not the NFL, this is not even Canadian Football, yet he’s making the game esoteric for young kids, not recognizing¬† weaknesses, not recognizing undervalued player traits, and just not thinking outside the box or creatively in a town where you have to do that to win. If a person isn’t willing to adapt or change their philosophies they’ll eventually get in their own way. If you try to force something that isn’t natural it’ll eventually fail–this goes from relationships with women to the U.S. Bond Market to NCAA offensive philosophies and everything in between. Forcing = failing. For all Riley’s football knowledge (as the Pollyannas claim), he doesn’t have much common sense or creativity.

30.Aug.2014 Beavs/Hawaii

I’m watching the Washington @ Hawaii game.

This Hawaii QB is mobile and runs the read option. He’s making good decisions. Their D is playing well, too.

Now add Norm Chow being brighter than Riley, Beavs having to travel, and the surprisingly raucous crowd…this game is a week away but I’m getting a Utah 2008 deja vu feeling watching this.

Post Game Thoughts

A lot of “A win is a win” going on via Twitter. That’s a rationalization method, as we all know not all wins are created equal.

Let me ask you this: If they Beavers had won 45-0 without any flaws, would you feel like absolute shit, as you do now?

Of course it’s the Mamma Machados of the world spewing that BS. This win was ghetto and jank. The only positives I saw where Justin Strong making some nice plays and taking good angles, Grant Bays looked good at times (was really high on him as a recruit), Nelson had nice coverage…can’t think of much else. Yeah Zimmerman had a nice game, but those balls were gift-wrapped, and I don’t see that translating to him having a breakout season in the Pac-12 once competition picks up.

The rest was all typical OSU. Over a 9 month period we read crap spewed by the mainstream media saying that this year is going to be different, but did you see anything different? That is all propaganda to get us hopeful and excited about a mediocre, if not bad, product, and spend our wages on it. But there was nothing different, and nothing to get excited over. I saw the same exact bones of last year’s team, and the year before, and the year before…etc. All that changes is the cast of characters. It’s a perpetual vaudeville show up there in Corvallis with the directors and choreographers remaining the same and the performers changing. There can’t be “teaching moments” if you don’t have teachers who have mastered the subject. This is why we see Banker looking like a fool year after year, for example. He’s a so-so D coordinator and is probably more suited for high school football. But since OSU is “poor” we’re told he’s awesome. A more honest statement would be “this D coordinator sucks, but he’s one of Riley’s best friends, Riley doesn’t like change, and Riley is signed for life, so you’ll have to deal with it.” At least we could respect the honesty of that.

Also, OSU has such low self-esteem. That low self-esteem starts at the top, and it’s not necessarily verbal (they say the right things, it’s just forced and insincere). It’s more how they act. Hiring gimmick coaches like CR, signing Riley for life out of desperation, etc. These are the actions of desperate people who think lowly of the university, yet are trying to create a buzz. That unspoken message does get passed down to fans. The loyal fan will take the unspoken cue and run with it, making up justifications that do become spoken and eventually spoken so much they become belief. “Nobody can recruit to Corvallis” is a good example of this. That starts at the top via unspokens and moves down the chain. The loyal fan, therefore, plays a key role in this smokescreen. A better message would be how to creatively move beyond these perceived and self-fulfilling beliefs. I’ve offered so many solutions in that regard, but they fall on deaf ears. This is a bit of a tangent but not entirely…what we say today on the field is due to the process off the field, and it starts at the top and percolates into the players and fans’ expectations and self-worth. It’s sinister, and I won’t accept it, which is why I’ll never agree that “a win is a win”. Today’s win was absolute shit. I repeat: absolute shit! Not all wins are created equal, and I will not let these assholes tell me or my readers otherwise.

Have a good Labor Day weekend, Beavos. And I look forward to another season of madness here at AB, the only source of real talk.

29.Aug.2014 Portland State @ Oregon State Game Thread

Here we are Beavos, another year wiser and another year balder.

Kickoff to the new season is at 1pm.

I’m going to wait until after this game (should be more like a scrimmage, but Riley will find a way to make it close) to give predictions on the season. Gun to my head right now I’d say Beavs finish 7-5, but teams never win the games they should, and the Beavs are especially bad at it. What they have going for them is an easy schedule, so 7-5 should be the low barometer. I don’t see a magical season here, but we’ll wait until after tomorrow before making big picture calls.

With regard to the Portland State game, what I want to see is if (a) the Beavs can get a big lead and then (b) if Riley will pull the starters and give the backups some valuable experience. If he doesn’t, we’re stuck with the same old dumbo Riley. Other than that, this game isn’t very interesting.

Go Beavs

28.Aug.2014 Bunch of Stuff and Portland State Pregame

Ryan Nall will be a RB eventually, H-back this year if he doesn’t redshirt.

“Ryan will eventually be a running back, but with our depth, it’s going to be hard to find him time there this season,” Riley said. “The most likely place for him to play this year is H-back. I told our coaches to practice him there but to also keep him up to speed at running back. As the season goes, we’ll decide whether to play him or redshirt him.”

OSU coaches envision the 6-2, 240-pound Central Catholic grad as a bruising, fast back, perhaps along the lines of ex-Beaver great Steven Jackson or former Stanford standout Toby Gerhart.

“Ryan is powerful, with good feet and a knack for running,” Riley said. “He has the heart for it. He wants to do it, and we’ve liked what we’ve seen.”

I’m okay with that. I felt LB was the best fit, but I had TE and RB right behind that. I don’t see why they can’t play him on both sides of the ball? I’d do LB primarily and then RB for short yardage and goal line.

Some huges basketball recruits visiting this weekend, and the Beavs have a legitimate shot at every one. I’d rank the likelihood of committing in this order: Tinkle, Thompson, Bruce. Drew Eubanks will be visiting, but he already committed. Great offer sheet for him.

Their profiles:Stephen Thompson, Tinkle, Bruce. Wayne Tinkle is doing a great job so far. Apparently all you need in order to recruit to Corvallis is….to actually try recruiting to Corvallis. Shame on Riley and all the fans who fall for that crap excuse.

No pre-game thread for Portland State since we know the Beavs should clobber them but likely won’t, with the outside shot of National embarrassment. What else is there to say about that game?


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