04.Dec.2010 Civil War Post-game Thoughts
This was one of those games where the final score wasn't indicative of how close the game was. The defense did some positive things. At times they looked like Cal, getting in the backfield and stymieing the option. But, Oregon is relentless and won't take no for an answer, much like the guy who walks into a bar and asks a hundred different girls to sleep with him. Eventually one will say yes. Well, eventually Oregon broke some big runs.
The Beavers played their tails off. It was refreshing to see, but also frustrating, because if they had played that hard all year they'd most likely be going to the Alamo Bowl.
Regarding the coaching staff, there were some terrible gaffes. Riley should have called a timeout with 50 seconds left in the first half. Possessions matter versus Oregon. It's possible Poyer gets a big return and sets up points. I'd like to see a reporter ask Riley why he didn't call timeout. I suspect it's because he was afraid Oregon would change their mind and go for the TD, or he feared a penalty that would give Oregon a first down. He coached scared. Will someone in the media ask a difficult question please? The calls to kick field goals were weak. I understand that Riley knew Katz could not make the plays on 4th downs, but you still have to try to make that play if you want to win the game. At the time I thought, "not the worst thing, since it cuts it to two scores", but at the same time another voice was saying "field goals will not win this game." Riley got caught up in the game and situation. Before the game kicked off he knew field goals would not win it. He was lured by the temptation of the two score game. He should have used his unemotional, pregame reasoning. He's been coaching long enough to know better.
Danny Langsdorf has become a liability. The Ducks knew what plays were coming based off tendencies (i.e. watching film) and formations. He needs to go. Based on how many WRs the Beavers have recruited, I think he might be handed his walking papers. How many years does a kidney get you? It's another difficult question that needs to be addressed. Media, dare you ask it?
That must have been the fifth game this year where the telecasters commented on how poor the line looked. Too much has been asked of Cav. He needs some talent with which to work. Offensive line is the last place to skimp scholarships. The special teams have been so solid this year, but how do you not prepare for a fake in that situation versus a team that's probably only second to Boise State in trick plays and the standard for aggressive play?
Banker had the best game of all the coaches. The score doesn't support that statement, but the phantom PI call blurred what was a good defensive performance. It was encouraging to see tackles for a loss and disciplined play (at times). Has he figured it out, finally, and now just needs the team speed to execute better? On the flip side, his body of work has been so poor of late that maybe it's time to let him go? His contract expires after next season so he'll definitely get one more shot.
I don't have an issue with the Ducks going to the title game because they are the best team in the country and earned that distinction on the field. The Beavers are content just thinking about the big game or being involved with other teams associated with big games. At some point the program needs to take a step and be the team in the spotlight, not the competitive opponent big name schools schedule for an easy yet respectable win. TCU used Oregon State as a stepping stone, as others have in the past.
Finally, it's hard to be excited about 2011 with Ryan "Dirk Diggler" Katz at the helm. His football IQ is low, probably in the 30 or 40s. Can this be corrected in the off-season? Evidence suggests QBs under Riley improve, but that doesn't make me feel good about what I saw, nor does it make me feel confident about next season. My biggest hope from this season is that everyone from fans to coaches to the AD now realizes the importance of confidence and psychology in sports. If lessons like that are learned then the season wasn't a total wash.