17.Oct.2009 USC @ Notre Dame & What it Means for The Beavers

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Watching this USC game, I don’t see how we’re not 4-3 (2-2) at this time next week. I was really interested to see how Notre Dame matched up against USC because their team is very similar to OSU in several key facets:

1. No pass rush–Barkley has looked good, mainly because ND can’t get near him. He has Tom Brady or Manning-like protection. ND has good athletes, at least in terms of recruits, on their DL…so if they can’t disrupt the QB I don’t see how our line sniffs pressure. What do we have, 4 sacks all season?

2. Bad secondary–ND secondary isn’t very good. Neither is ours. Pretty much the same talent level on both squads, and Damian Williams has torched these guys. The only Beaver capable of slowing him down is Hardin due to his size, speed, and physical stature, but our coaches refuse to play Hardin because he’s too shy/quiet in practice. Good stuff.

3. Good offense–ND has a good offense. They’re 35th in total offense and OSU is 39th. They do it more with the pass while the Beavers rely on the run and screen game. It seems you can move the ball on USC this year, but they’re getting good pressure on Claussen and tighten up at key moments. Canfield is nowhere near the QB Claussen is; therefore, if Sean receives similar pressure you can expect a reversion to the turnover machine of 2007. What Quiz did to them last year is moot due to all the changes on both teams’ lines.

I actually think ND is slightly better than we are because they can slow the run. For as long as I can remember we’ve had major issues–more so than most schools–with sub 4.40 running backs. McKnight, Best, Bush, Stewart, et al all seem to have field days versus the Beavs, hitting the edge early and often. Actually, when was the last time the Beavs bottled up a featured RB, sub 4.40 or not, for less than 50 yards against a team that runs a pro-style offense? I can’t think of one. Couple this with the lack of pass rush and the fact we don’t put our best players on the field (*cough* Hardin, *cough* bench Frahm, etc), and I forsee a long day of Tanqueray washing into the belly of Angry.

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  • Beavocalypse says:
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    You make some good points, but despite everything you have just said, Notre Dame lost by a touchdown and were in it to the very last second because USC is playing thuggish defense. Then again, we haven’t won down there in a very, very long time. The players will have to play the best game of their lives, especially the offensive line.

    If not, we’ll be seeing Moevao play again because Canfield will be killed. Then Moevao will receive a season ending injury.

    Not that I wish either thing happening, but those defensive ends at USC look terrifying, and Mr. Remmers is going to be doing a lot of “look out” blocks.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Do you like our chances? I’d like to be presented with a counter-point so I feel better about the game. I just feel it’s a terrible matchup, and despite being negative/cynical I do pick the Beavs in any game where I can justify it.

      Then again, I told my step-father to bet the house on USC during the 2006 season–thought that was a sure loss. Luckily he didn’t, but with this recession that house isn’t worth much anyway.

      • Beavocalypse says:
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        Well, I wasn’t saying I was liking our chances, Angry, but I was liking that we had a chance at all. Here’s a couple things that I like about our chances.

        1) Quizz- Yes, I know it’s a different game and different players, but I’d say USC’s defense was better last year, looking impervious in games before and then after the game we had with them. Quizz gives us a great deal of versatility, and I think he gained much needed confidence in the game with Stanford. The fact that he takes care of the ball (I don’t believe he has a fumble at all) and the fact USC D-line looks like they pin their ears back on a LOT of plays suggest that maybe our guy will slip by them. Or get killed. Or he’ll kill them with yards on screen passes, which are one of our team’s strengths (granted, we do it about a billion times)

        2) The first Mr. Rodgers- One of the things that broke that 2006 game wide open for us was a Sammie Stroughter punt return. If James continues playing special teams, assuming we don’t see Kavanaugh on PR’s, we could see him regaining lost momentum, or adding a little more hurt. I suspect the fly sweep will be effective here. James has been making clutch catches and plays in general.

        3) Wildcat formation- It seemed pretty successful against USC, so maybe the fact there’s an extra week of prep for a series of Wildcat plays might assist us.

        4) Canfield- For someone that has been defending him, Angry, I’m a bit surprised you’re so quick to throw him under the bus. I don’t think he’s going to be a turn over machine. The dude is throwing at 69.7% I believe (granted, they haven’t all been dangerous passes for the opposition, but it shows he isn’t throwing into heavy traffic)- with some of his few slip ups not completely his fault. He took some beatings in the first couple games, and he’s showing a bit of escapability- and if Mr. Badtoe Clausen can get a few nice scrambles on USC, so can Sean. I think #5 will be ready to give a valiant effort, and it’s really up to the O-Line to match his intensity.

        5) O-Line- They have improved, but you’re right in asking “Is it enough”. I think Coach Cav will have them ready to at least keep Canfield alive. We’ll see if that will be enough. So this isn’t much of a counterpoint, but I think the last two games warrants just a tiny bit of optimism. Also, I seem to remember Mr. Remmers actually flourishing against USC. Maybe someone will call him out and he’ll do it again.

        6) D-Line- Ever since Riley and co. made the adjustments on the line, there has been better play, and the fact they were able to slow down Gerhart and harass Luck shows that at least they are becoming a threat. I was seriously impressed with the way they were able to fight through that “Giant” formation Stanford employed, and I have a feeling that we’ll see more production from our second DT (I know some might not be impressed by Olander, but the dude has put up a tackle or two, at least) The fact we’re seeing more of the second string and less of Ben Terry and Kevin Frahm will only help us. Plus, despite how impressive some of the tailbacks were for USC, I thought they looked vulnerable at time- call me crazy, but I think McKnight might cough up the ball at a critical time during an inside run.

        7) Secondary- Meh, I can’t say that I like us here- at all, but I can’t deny they have improved since Mr. Toomanytouchdownehs (Tuimanei #28) is out only helps. Dockery and Clark have played fairly admirably, so I don’t think we can blame their efforts for the sad state of affairs against Arizona and Cincy. Collins, with more reps with the #1’s this week will get even more comfortable in the starting job he has earned. Lance Mitchell should do well, again.

        8) Kristick- Well, the guy hasn’t exactly hurt us…and despite my agreement with you that he doesn’t deserve as much love from the Oregonian press, the guy plays a consistent game and assuming he stays healthy, he helps us. I have a feeling he’s going to play like a wild man, unless an army of stingers keeps him down.

        9) Riley- I know, I know..the guy has flubbed at key junctures this season…but he is the only coach that has been consistent against pistol Pete, and I think it’s only a matter of time before he picks up a win in the Colliseum. Plus, you gotta hand it to the guy for at least getting what he has ready to play and the fact that even in defeat we haven’t been out of a game, which is all that is really needed to defeat USC (See: Washington’s victory, and ND’s near-tie). Riley also likes to get aggressive against USC, which is good because we have a great “pop you in the mouth first” mentality. I don’t know what the stats are, but we do play really, really good first quarters.

        10) Special teams- We were able to slow that fella down from Stanford and we’ll need that. Hekker has a great boot- so we might have a compelling field position game. Kahut scares me…but then again the dude hasn’t exactly LOST a game for us yet, so he isn’t the second coming of Serna/LSU. I like our return game, and I’ve really liked our punt coverage on both our kicks and against opponents, See: Arizona State.)

        11) Finally- I believe we just match up well against their style. Even our last loss at their place is misleading because we just didn’t play our game. This year we have arguably more weapons on offense and a passable defense- and Riley gets them ready to play against USC almost every year. Also, USC looked just damn undisciplined on defense against ND, and if you give a Riley offense enough rope- they WILL hang you.

        Still, it takes all 11 of these items to work perfectly for a win. We can only hope that USC will feel the hangover from a game that was far too close.

        I’m not saying we have the best chance, but I think our chances are better than some might think. But I won’t claim to have more knowledge or better observations- I’m just a Beaver fan that loves watching the game of football. I was always more of a soccer guy 🙂

        • angrybeaver says:
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          Good post. Has me rethinking the game in terms of why the Beavers might have a chance. It’s not for the reasons you list, but they did trigger a thought process.

          • Beavocalypse says:
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            Well, I hope the reasons I listed might have been SLIGHTLY compelling. haha

            Write a new article, Angry, I’m bored and I want something insightful to read without the orange and black lenses.

  • G Joubert says:
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    It’s because the game is in LA that’s the biggest factor. The Beavs have a chance but not much of one. I give them a chance for two reasons: (1) they have performed okay on the road this year, and (2) they looked much better against Stanford last week in all departments than they had previously all season.

  • Beavers4life says:
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    Angry,

    write a blog about this cause I will follow you on this every step of the way…getting fans into the stadiums and not watching it on the JumboTron from the parking lots!!! If you don’t know what i’m talking about, here’s a video the Oregonian did during the Stanford game!!!

    http://videos.oregonlive.com/oregonian/2009/10/we_dont_need_no_stinkin_ticket.html

    Ok with that said, I really honestly think the Beavs, with a bye to get healthy and have a chance to evaluate their game films will be a huge advantage. Grant it I didn’t see much of the USC/ND game, but it appeared that Barkley got hit on one of his shoulders and so that might be a vulnerability by USC. I just have a good feeling about this game coming up this Saturday.

    Another thing, the Wildcat formation is an interesting formation to run and USC might not know how to stop it, nor what plays we can run out of the formation. Also, Quizz at fullback and Quan at RB….Brilliant!

  • Diggs says:
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    I too am a little leary of how much time Canfield is going to have in the pocket to make his decisions. But, i’ll also agree with Beavs4Life that I feel a little bit better about this game down south than i have say, the last few. I’ll pullin’ for the beavs either way though and having the faith!

    And about the fans watching from outside the stadium, Beavs4Life… I would love to see a writeup on that too. It’s all good and dandy and particularly kinda cool, ONLY if we were packing the stadium. I’ve read a few blogs and such about how our attendance is in the toilet (in addition to being marked up with comments from duck fans) and those empty top corners on the new side are a little frustrating to see. Come on people… Especially when the headlines read “Where are all the beaver fans?”

    • Beavers4life says:
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      Diggs,

      That’s where i’m getting my info from..the Oregonian. It upsets me SOO much to see the fans OUTSIDE when they could be INSIDE cheering and seeing it first hand!!!! These are adults that are doing this! If they have the time, money, and energy to Tailgate OUTSIDE THE WHOLE GAME, they surely could be spending it to be INSIDE!!!

  • beavfan4 says:
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    Joe Mcknight last year against the beavs: 7 carries for 10 yards (1.4 yards per carry) and a lost fumble. I wouldnt quite consider that a field day…

    • angrybeaver says:
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      USC, as we all know, uses a running back by committee–there is no featured back. They gained 86 yards total. Also, Stephon Johnson had 48 yards on 7 caries for a 6.1 average. And Gable had a 6.3 average on 3 carries.

  • Beavers4life says:
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    Angry,

    You going to do the segment on those watching the game from the parking lot or not?

    • Diggs says:
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      Touching on the lack of attendance too maybe? 😀 People need to get their butts to the games!! They could go hand in hand.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      Yeah, I’ll write something up about it. I’ve touched on the attendance issue in other posts, dating back to Cincy and I think even earlier when the opener didn’t sell out.

  • JuneauJim says:
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    Ok Angry,

    I watched the ND/USC game and came to a completely different conclusion than you did. I think we have the best shot in a long time to win at SC.

    The biggest thing I saw was the lack of team speed for both ND and USC. I didn’t see anyone on the field as fast as Quizz or James. McKnight didn’t look like a game breaker to me. The big tight end is a huge problem though. Given that Pete had to show that on Saturday gives Mike and his staff a week to figure out how they are going to stop him.

    SC didn’t look like the team from years past that could score 21 points in 3 minutes. They have broken games open by scoring and immediately forcing a turnover and scoring again. You look up and a game that was close now seems out of reach.

    As Quizz goes, so go the Beavers on Saturday. If we can rush the ball effectively, the passing game opens up. I don’t think with this personnel we will ever become a huge down field threat. But ball control with the pass (6 yards here, 8 yards there) coupled with a 100 yard plus day from Quizz and we are right in it.

    • OSBeavs says:
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      JuneauJim,

      I love to drink beaver colored kool-aid and I do all too often, but SC is still a strong team this year. Realistically this is a very difficult game for us to win but can be done. The question is did Seumalo’s and Cav’s crew improve in the bye week. Having met both, I like their philosophies and believe in them as coaches, they may have gotten the much needed time in this week. Watch the line this Saturday and that will tell the tale of the game.

      There is no doubt that quiz and james are talented but I do believe that SC has the speed to keep up. Hopefully we use their speed against them as we did last year. They had a tendancy to over pursue which worked out well for us. That said, over pursuit should not typically be an issue on elite level teams. Also, the rest of the team needs to make plays because the Rodgers cannot simply continue to carry us. Good teams like SC will take strong players out of the game and force you to beat them with other players. I will continue to drink the orange kool-aid this Saturday and best of luck beavs.

      • angrybeaver says:
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        Having met Seumalo and Cav, what specifically did you like about their philosophies?

        -angry

        • OSBeavs says:
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          Seumalo impressed me because his philosophy was simple. It is hard to replicate it how he says it, its impressive when he runs it down. Seumalo basically explains that he wants his D line to play fast and play mean (obvious). Basically he explains two types of play he wants from his D lineman. In some situations they have to play tough against the guy in front of them. The other situation is when the D lineman follows the path of least resistance. The path of least resistance seemed to be what our d line did so well last year, it seems like we are avoiding that tactic this year. It may be due to the players that we have, we dont have four amazing D lineman like we did last year.

          Coach Cav generally just talks about zone blocking. The zone blocking scheme works very well for quizz but the way it blocks just doesnt seem to work for McCants. I may be mistaken but I feel that McCants almost needs another scheme (which is unreasonable to add). I may be mistaken in my thoughts though, probably why I am writing a comment on a blog and not coaching college football.

          • angrybeaver says:
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            You aren’t coaching college football because you choose another path. Let’s not make coaching out to be brain surgery. I think it’s fair to say that fans, viewing players from the outside, can be more correct about a player, scheme, etc. Just as an outside opinion can many times be correct about a marriage–sometimes when people are too close to something they’re blinded by some obviousness. If coaches were always right, as you’re implying via your self-deprecating joke, they’d never lose games, never be fired, etc.

            -angry

          • OSBeavs says:
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            Well there is some obviousness about the self depreciating joke, I was attempting to make light of the situation. The job typically does come with some obvious nepotism. I do not pretend to know as much about the game as the college coaches do at this point in my life, that is why I attended a clinic to meet and listen to them. That said, I am praying for a win this weekend, it would be a nice springboard for the rest of the season.

  • angrybeaver says:
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    Beavocalypse,

    I will soon, probably later this afternoon. Ridiculously busy at work (60hrs+ this week) and my lady beaver was in town over the weekend so I didn’t have much time.

    • angrybeaver says:
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      I whipped up some thoughts on my lunch break. Not thrilled with the post b/c I would have liked to expound on some tangents but it’ll do for now and i’ll just add points in the discussion/reply area.

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