10.Sep.2011 Wisconsin Post game thoughts
Feel like I attended a clinic–"the dichotomy of how football, how it should and should not be played."
Every time I try to form an argument that this is due to poor recruiting, freshman, time zones, or any other bogus excuse, I always wind up deleting the sentence and coming back to the same, simple conclusion: the Beavers pay no attention to detail, and there is no accountability.
That is the bottom line, and both start at the top.
That is why last week I asked for Riley's resignation. I understand he won't be fired. I understand the process will be:
- Give him this season to right the ship.
- If he doesn't, then a coordinator will be fired in the off-season.
- Give him next season to finish the rebuilding job.
- If that doesn't happen, another coordinator will be fired.
- Give him the next season to right the ship.
- Rinse and repeat.
This is OSU, an ag school where change happens slower than grass grows on the Tundra.
I get it.
I've been a Met, Jet, and Beaver fan for most of my life. I can deal with loses. Many losing teams are even fun to watch if they play the game correctly. What I can't deal with is lack of detail, being unprepared, or lacking intensity. These are three problems that originate from the top. When I say "the top", I mean Riley, but I also mean above him. If the AD cannot reprimand or fire his subordinates, then he has set the tone, whether intentionally or not, for chaos. A coach who cannot be fired rotates QBs. A coach who cannot be fired keeps incompetent friends on staff. A coach who cannot be fired comes to games unprepared. Etc.
Why do studies show professional players perform their best in contract years?
Why do they perform their worst after signing long term deals?
Obviously because having food on the table and money in the bank are motivating factors.
It is truly scary how quickly the wheels are falling off. A vicious cycle is about to ensue. A cycle where donors bail because the product is poor, the product becomes even poorer because donors have bailed, recruits decommit because the product has become poorer, and the product becomes poorer because recruits decommitted. Etc.
What will make me bail is not the losses. It is how the Beavers play the game–the mental component. I cannot witness weak, unprepared players with no attention to detail. I just can't. Sound fundamentals are mandatory. The fundamentals have never been good at Oregon State. It's why I've been a critic for years. But, I take no solace in being right. I'd rather the problem be corrected than be right. And I am officially right. When Urban Meyer mocks the team, there is no debate.
How do I know the issue is coaching? Because I closely watch other teams. For example, Boise State. That is the most sound, fundamental team in the game. While Chris Peterson might not have won vs Sac State or Wisconsin, I know a Peterson coached team would showed up with a sound game plan (i.e. mitigating weakness/playing up strengths), executed it perfectly, and if they lost it would be because the opponent was just better. However, I constantly leave Beaver games with a nagging "what if?" feeling, and to me this says the Beavers are not necessarily worse than their opponents, but instead they are just much more psychologically and fundamentally unsound. They are mentally weak, making critical errors at the most inopportune time. They don't understand how to seize moments. Has anyone preached the importance of third downs to this team? They don't seem to get it. All of this starts at the top. Demanding results from players, preparing them for what to expect, how to handle it, etc.
I watch Peterson or Kelly interact with their QBs. It is intense, demanding, and has a point. Leaders emerge from their programs. I watch OSU interact with their QB, and it is an unstructured mess that hopes for the best. You can see it in each coach's respective eyes–I don't need an interview or admission of guilt. The problem with Oregon State is simple: Accountability has become an illusion. Attention to detail, which was always poor at OSU, is now non-existent. The latter is what drives me nuts and is testing my patience. I think that's true for all of you, too. If the players were sound and giving maximum effort we could deal with these loses. When was the last time you saw an OSU player dive for the sticks and give the extra effort that's the difference between winning and losing? It doesn't happen. The players are now representative of the coach, and the coach is representative of the higher administration and placated fan base that is willing to forgive and excuse.
I have ideas on how to resolve the issue, but they're not worth discussing in detail. The short of it is that your money talks. Use that right wisely and make sure the appropriate people know how you feel.