12.Sep.2011 Is Mike Riley Depressed?

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I explored this option in Sunday's comment area, but I think it warrants its own post.

There have been mutterings that the program's collapse is due to talent deficiency. I find this argument hard to accept for two reasons:

  1. Oregon State has never had good talent. And I actually think the talent has improved at every position except running back.
  2. The current decline began after the 2009 Civil War. The Beavers had the same talent in the Las Vegas Bowl (as the CW), but looked like a completely different team, confirming the problem was mental.

I believe the bigger issue is a string of difficult games that have subconsciously deflated and defeated Mike Riley. Follow this time line with me:

  • In 2009, Mike Riley believed he could take OSU to the Rose Bowl.
  • Riley lost a close, emotional game to his rival, who he then watched play in the Rose Bowl.
  • The Beavers missed out on a respectable bowl, and wound up in the Las Vegas desert wind.
  • During the Vegas Bowl, Riley's countenance was that of malaise, depression, disinterest. The players were also disinterested and unprepared. This was the start of a trend.
  • Riley had a chance to make amends for that loss the next year in a big time game versus TCU. Again the Beavers suffered a difficult loss that took it's emotional tole on Riley.
  • Rinse and repeat versus Boise State.
  • After the team grinds out a few 3 point wins, the Beavers have more heartbreak in Washington. The Beavs' emotions leg down for the rest of the season.
  • Beavs suffer three more humiliating losses in Washington State, UCLA, and Stanford.
  • Riley loses a 3rd straight Civil War. Ducks go on to the National Title game; the chasm between the two programs has never been larger.
  • The Beavs opens the 2011 season by losing at home to Sacramento State. The team looks clueless and mentally unprepared.
  • Riley gets embarrassed on the national state as Urban Meyer and Chris Speilman question his coaching and suggest the Beavs aren't in the same stratosphere as Wisconsin.

Since the 2009 Civil War, the Beavers are 5-11 for a 31% winning percentage. More alarming and telling is the malaise since that game. Before then, they were able to emotionally engage and give maximum effort. It made loses more bearable. But since that game, the Beavers have "checked out", with their only inspired victory coming against USC, a team they always play well (for some reason).

So what is going on?

If you have access to the 2009 Civil War and Las Vegas Bowl, go back and watch them. Note Mike Riley's body language, countenance, and emotional involvement. What you will see is a sad, defeated man with glassy eyes. We even saw Riley's defeatest attitude last week when, as time was expiring, he let the clock bleed rather than trying for a touchdown; a touchdown that would stave some embarrassment and give his team confidence to build upon.

Riley seemed briefly inspired this spring after hiring Coach Brennen. That waned during fall camp and now it's gone entirely.

In the comment area of my last post I wrote this response to a commenter:

I don’t know if Riley even realizes that he’s not preparing as hard. Could be a subconscious thing where he knows how much effort (and luck) it took to get to that point (i.e. cusp of a Rose Bowl). I think he is depressed/defeated and more unprepared than ever. I think it’s subconscious. The guy has never had fire, but he at least needs to find the tinder bundle within.

I think this sums it up. I don't think Riley has consciously checked out. I think he thinks he is still trying, but the thing about depression is it's hard to be objective. That's why depressed people ultimately seek outside help. They cannot see the forest from the trees and untangle the subconscious web of emotions on their own.

I actually find Riley's plight to be sad, and I find myself more empathetic than angry this morning. Maybe people are right. Maybe we do need to rally around the guy and support the team rather than criticize? Nah. But I can definitely sympathize better now that I realize what is going on.

The guy needs to admit there's a problem, seek help, soul search, and dig out of this. If he can't do that, then he needs to resign. Our head coach is a defeated man.

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  • ace0099 says:
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    Apologies for going Out of topic, but we could use some good news anyway…

    The basketball team got another commitment today from 6’5″ SF Langston Morris-Walker

    • ean says:
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      do we eve have an extra roster spot?

      • ean says:
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        by my math we only have 2 spots open for next years team and now have 3 commits. I wonder if Rob knows of someone leaving early to play overseas or if Murphy is done because of injury or what?

        • Billy says:
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          I’ll take my hammering, but I would be overjoyed if Rob now knows how to coach the basic fundamentals of basketball.

          • ean says:
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            not too sure who is going to hammer you. This will be a big season for Rob with not much room for excuses.

          • JackBeav says:
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            The point in college hoops is that you recruit and sign kids who already have the fundamentals in place, then you foster their maturity. Other than Ricky Claitt’s leadership and Seth Tarver’s defensive skills, he inherited nobody with any redeeming fundamental skills. And deficiencies in fundamentals make the whole team appear deficient in hoops. It’s an immediate virus which affects even effort on the floor. “One bad apple” would be more than apropos.

            It’s hard to explain in this format, but when one guy slacks on defense, the whole defense might as well just sit down on the court. If he slacks on offense or breaks the play down for his own amusement, then the team also suffers on offense. Having one person fundamentally deficient on a hoops team is like a grand master letting me make two moves for him in a chess tourney final. His plan is likely out the window in my first move, but he’s stuck with me for one more.

  • Helmsley says:
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    I think you’re almost spot on and you’ve supported your suppositions with numbers. However, coaching football is not an empathetic profession, generally, and certainly not at Pac-12 level. You do it or you’re gone and anyone who’s in it, especially for as long as Mike Riley has been, knows what he needs to do.

  • Mike says:
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    I wonder if Riley reassumed playcalling duties he would be invigorated. Your post is spot on, there was just no energy, no fight. I’m not a big celebration guy, but want to see more of what we showed on a few plays in the 1st half (wynn big hit, rusty sack, unga filling the gaps).

  • Helmsley says:
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    OSU Women’s volleyball had a good pre-season. Start Pac-12 this week. Women’s xc in the mix, men’s and women’s soccer ok. I’m using this blog to acknowledge these other OSU sports and their participants for which I am most grateful.

    • ean says:
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      With Volleyball the Pac-12 is so much better than any other conference that doing well preseason doesn’t mean much. Hopefully they end up doing okay though.

    • Geoff Whittier says:
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      cause no one gives a crap about women’s volleyball or soccer

  • TheAntiAngryBeaver says:
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    I can’t believe I am about to say this…but I agree 100% with Angry!

    Since that cold Thursday Night in Eugene back on December 3rd of 2009, this has not been the same OSU team or coach. We’ve all seen the results since that game. Some times I actually wonder, what if’? What if OSU had won the CW in 08 and 09 and gone to back to back Rose Bowls? I can’t imagine the type of players that would be at OSU now and the money that would have come in from donors. Heck, Banker and Langsdorf would probably be head coaches elsewhere and be another team’s problem, not OSU’s.

    Last year is a great example of how on certain weeks this team is prepared and other weeks it is not. Easy, dominating wins vs. Cal and USC had the look of a 8-10 win team. Yet bad, no emotion loses against UW, UCLA, and worst of all WSU. It was litterally like watching two different teams. The Sac St game this year further proved that point. I firmly believe this is a (very young) talented team. And if they played at a high level each week they could easily win 7-8 games.

    I am sure I am in the minority, but I believe Riley is the best guy for Oregon State Football. I honestly don’t see a better coach coming to OSU any time soon. And with is contract, he isn’t going any where. He can make the tough decision though and fire or demote his assistants. He took steps this year with position coaches. I believe along with Riley, neither Langsdorf or Banker have been the same since 12.3.09 and their time at OSU is coming to an end.

    What I’d like to see from Riley/OSU the rest of the year
    1) Play hard every game!
    2) Pick a starting QB and stick with him. I think Mannion is the future and is just as good if not better then Katz, so put him in and let him take his lumps. A 4yr starter at QB, a 4yr starter at RB. Add in all the young talented WRs we have? Give them a solid O-Line….WOW!
    3) Riley needs to take over the play calling again. It might renew him and that could spread throughout the team

    I told my friends Saturday after the game, that if we get these young kids game time now and Riley actually mans up and fires Langsdorf this team could easily win 9-11 games next year. 7 home games next year and the road games will all be very winnable. I don’t want to have 2011 be a wasted season, and I am not 100% convinced at this point it will be. However maybe this is just a down turn. I’ve seen a few posts about Erickson and ASU. Well, he was great in 07 with ASU. Then it took three bad years to get back to the point where ASU was a top 25 team and a threat in the conference. That might just be OSU’s issue now.

    • USAFBvr says:
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      You are absolutely correct about one thing. Riley isn’t going anywhere. He’s onboard for awhile. The contract through 2019 ensures that. He can do something about the coaching staff. I just don’t see him making any significant moves though. I think getting rid of Newhouse was a really, really hard thing for him to do. He’s given too much of the control of the defense to Banker, so for him to replace Banker, he’d have to hire someone with absolute credentials and then pay more attention to the defense than he is now. I don’t think he really wants to do that. Also, he’d just as soon point to the top defenses the Beavers fielded under Banker half a dozen years ago.

      Riley is an offensive-minded coach, but a coach from an older generation. I think that is why he bought into Langsdorf. He probably figured that Langsdorf would be the young up and coming coach with the innovative ideas and he could weave in his own years of expertise to create an offensive juggernaut. The only problem is, I think that Langsdorf isn’t as bright or innovative as Riley hoped for. We can point to how Langsdorf has been behind the wheel of some of the most productive offenses in Beaver history, but was it Riley steering the ship while Langsdorf was merely the figurehead? I think Riley does need some young talent to keep pace with the developments in the game, but he needs someone not named Langsdorf. I would love to see someone like Jonathan Smith come back to OSU as the offensive coordinator.

      J. Smith is the O-coordinator up at Montana. He was previously QB coach at Idaho and (I think) he had a lot to do with the development and progression of Enderle during his senior year. Unfortunately, I think J. Smith needs to spend a few more years proving himself at the FCS level as an O-coordinator before he gets a bigger opportunity. Wasn’t it Erickson (or Riley) who thought that J. Smith was one of the smartest students of the game that they had ever worked with (as a player). This is what we need. Someone young, innovative, and smart to build our offense around. How in the world can we not be halfway decent with the Katz/Mannion, Rodgers/Cooks, Bishop, Wheaton, Halahuni, Agnew, etc? Those are some really quality athletes and playmakers. I’m not going to say this could be like the years with Chad, TJ, Prescott, and Mauer, but those players are good enough to get this offense moving.

  • ean says:
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    Well it is all kind of speculation but this theory does make a lot of sense.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      I think it is a bit provocative for a lay person to diagnose depression, but that’s my Angry and I don’t necessarily disagree. Sometimes though I think it is as simple as the coaches had a couple of pretty blase recruiting classes, lots of injuries and defections and a coaching staff that is about five years behind the trends. You can’t tell me that the linebackers, o-line and d-lines are at the same talent level as in the past. All of these second tier programs kind of bounce up and down, look at Illinois, Maryland, California, etc, etc. And yes if there is too much “bounce” the head coaches get canned.

      • JackBeav says:
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        blase->blasé… é=Alt+0233

      • angry angry says:
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        I didn’t diagnose him. Hence the question mark. I’m just saying it looks like he’s depressed, and considering the (circumstantial) evidence it makes a lot of sense.

        Regarding talent: I think the talent on the 2011 roster is better than the 2009 roster except for Quizz and Paea. On defense, the DEs and LBs are much better. I guess now that we have a rookie QB you can say Canfield was better, too. Am I way off?

        • ean says:
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          Canfield was better his senior year than Katz or Mannion are now IMO. Clark and Dockery were a better CB set then Poyer (who has been disappointing) and Martin/Reynolds. I’d also take David Pa’aluhi III over Unga (he knew the system better).

          But you are right for the most part there isn’t a real difference in talent. Of course maybe the leadership is different (players and coaches).

          • mckalk mckalk says:
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            I might be out of my mind, but I just don’t think the talent is there or else they are so confused by the coaching that they don’t play as well. They play slow and without passion. Talent is not only physical, but mental.

          • ean says:
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            yeah… I think that is some of it. When you play young guys they have not gelled yet. Some guys too like for instance Owen Marecic (just off the top of my head) are not that amazing athletically but so far above everyone else when it comes to seeing the game. I think Angry might be putting a little too much emphasis on pure athletic talent rather than football talent.

          • mckalk mckalk says:
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            To be cliched, when Jacquizz left and James got injured, the Beavs lost the two “gamers’ that they had left. Maybe Riley has completely gone off his rocker and he is recruiting guys with his personal mindset. I would like one or two football players out there who are bat shit crazy and strike some fear into the opposition.

      • USAFBvr says:
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        One of the smartest posts yet. We are a second-tier program and we will have to take our lumps every couple of years to be poised for that one big year. I wonder sometimes if our issues wouldn’t bother us as much if Oregon wasn’t near the top of the polls and in the national title hunt.

  • BeavGirl BeavGirl says:
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    damn angry. you could be totally right (even though it is quite an assumption about someone you don’t know personally :p.) I hope Riley starts seeing a therapist/considering medication because the players can’t afford it. Riley’s MO has always been “take the less talented players and build them up”. He actually has quite a bit of talent already on the team, but the “building up” on his part I just don’t see anymore. The problem that angry has already stated is that he THINKS he’s the same guy, doing the same things, has the same attitude, etc but clearly he doesn’t. That’s why I don’t think he’s going to do anything about it.

    I sort of want him to find this post/blog but at the same time I feel embarrassed because we are all speculating on his mental health. Riley, if you’re reading this..we aren’t judging you, we support you if you decide to seek treatment!!

  • StarcraftSquall says:
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    This is a repost, for discussion:
    Here is the updated Pac-12 Power Rank Poll Statistics after Week 2 Results:

    STAN 143.95
    ORE 143.91
    AZST 134.40
    USC 128.70
    UTAH 127.60
    WASH 125.93
    ARIZ 124.97
    WAST 123.34
    UCLA 122.12
    CAL 121.36
    ORST 120.76
    COL 118.84

    As you can see, the Beavers are at the wrong end of the list. Not a big surprise considering their performance over the first two weeks.

  • Orange Lantern says:
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    At this level it isn’t about learning lessons and “improvement” that isn’t coming. You watch NFL games like the Jets and Cowboys and both teams have fight and are capable. I just don’t see hardly anyone getting blown out as often as Riley. As a former NFL coach he should be able to have his teams playing at a minimum level of execution Getting goose-egged like he does in high profile matchups shows that the team does not have the focus or attention to detail to compete back and forth and score enough to keep it a ballgame.

    I just don’t think you can keep doing the same thing time and again as a program without the whole fan base checking out like Riley and the team has as far as bringing high energy and executing. The team has been horribly flat many time last year and both games this year.

    You watch other teams and they are celebrating and happy after big plays. We seem to be going through the motions with little confidence at all.

    I hate Riley’s “I think” mentality. He says a line we want to hear like “this team can be pretty good” and then he qualifies it with “I think”. That is the root of the problem right there. He has to believe in his own abilities as a coach to get wins first and foremost and instill that confidence in his players. But Riley never has that confidence and every interview is about how “It will be difficult” and “we have to continue to grow each week” and blah, blah, blah. It is about games and manning up and winning as a whole program from head coach down to every player put in the game. We shrink in most bigger games and that is a reflection on Riley. The 1-15 record in September. These are horrible statistics and show he can’t coach the team to a minimum level of quality until 5 weeks in. Can we ever succeed as a program with this and when do we have to move on as a university to a more confident leader.

    I do believe we can do better. There are coaches out there with more fire and who will demand more out of their players. I just think BDC is a lousy risktaker and unlike otherscholls who go out and find capable coaches on the upswing he would rather play everything as conservatively as possible even when it leads to a very stagnant program with little to energize and excite the fans and things clearly headed in the wrong direction. OSU could use a breath of fresh air more than any other program I can think of atb this point. This is unhealthy to continue as we have. That is why Riley is definitely starting to lose control.

    I don’t know if anyone else was listening to the postgame but Riley sounded like he was nearly in tears. It was kinda odd and not exactly what I am looking for. He knows he just can’t get good enough results for us with his limited ability which is becoming easier and easier for teams to deal with as they progress and we have awful playcalling with Langsdork and shoddy defense with Banker.
    He sounded like he was just told he would not be the coach next year unless he pulled out 7 or more wins this year and he figures there is no way in hell he is going to do it.

    I don’t think he was told that by BDC at this point but he sounded VERY DEFEATED. I just don’t know how you can move forward and expect good things with a defeated head coach.

  • Ronix1080 Ronix1080 says:
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    Best line I have heard so far about our season…God, its scary, OSU scores less than me.

  • numbers says:
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    We need to find a place for Langsdorf to go. Riley is too buddy buddy nice guy to dump his friend like he needs to. But I think if it can be sold in a way that Langsdorf has a coaching spot somewhere else, probably a step backwards to D2 or 3, then maybe Riley will be comfortable releasing his buddy. Bobby D and Riley need to find a home for Langsdorf and send him on his way. They can even pollyana him saying, look Assistant Bruce Read was able to leave and come back, heck even Riley was able to leave and come back. So go out there and win at the D3 level Dorky, cause its not going so hot here. Do well for awhile and we’ll bring ya back on. (and god I hope they never actually do)…

    • Billy says:
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      You are most correct. Only 20 years ago I was watching him qb Mcminnville High(they were winless with him at the helm in 1990 and I think won 1 or 2 in ’91). Not totally his fault, of course. My point is he is not old enough nor been around long enough to qualify as a D-1 OC. He does not have the experience. This bullshit that MR has taught him all he knows about play-calling and he is now ready is a crock! Also, totally off topic, ran into Scott downtown the other day. His love of Mac is well-known. One of the main reasons he retired at only 34-35 is he wanted to be back here with his family full time. Two of his kids are still in the school system here and he wants to be around for their athletic activities. Be very glad Pat is coming back. Although the future is not carved in stone, Scott is here to stay. Don’t even mention commuting. Waiting out 2 hour rain delays in the spring would make for an exceedingly long day for him. Tommy Paterson, Joe’s older brother, also echoed these thoughts to be and he knows Scott better than I do. He played for him at Linfield.

      • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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        Scott? Mac? Pat? WTF is that all about?

        • Billy says:
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          Brosius, McMinnville and Casey. Sorry, thought that was a given. Most on this blog are pretty well-versed when it comes to Beaver sports. My mistake. Just goes to show once again, never assume.

          • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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            Thanks! 🙂

            Here I was hoping that maybe one of them was a possible candidate for the football HC job at OSU.

            But first things first. Fire Bobby D! Next …… if coach Rob doesn’t show more game management skills than he’s shown in the past then he’s a candidate for the next one to go. So right now it’s a toss-up between him and Riley. bwdik

          • Billy says:
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            You’re most welcome! Loved your first sentence. Would be great if Riley had half the passion and competitive drive Casey has. Also, your second paragraph was pretty damn decent! Game management comment is right on. You can’t be pulling kids every 2 minuters and expect them to get into the flow of the game. Look what Roberto Nelson did(34 points) when everyone was suspended. Next games it was back to being pulled in and out every couple of minutes. Result: 2 points in each of those last 2 games.

          • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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            With respect to coach Rob: In retrospect I should have mentioned fundamentals too – like rebounding, moving without the ball, ball hogging, playing catch outside the key and then casting off some low percentage shot, etc., etc.

            I’m getting frustrated just thinking about it.

          • Billy says:
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            I’m with you, not to mention he can’t seem to teach them how to MAKE free throws. I usually bury my head when we are at the line.

          • angry angry says:
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            It’s actually the same problem the football team suffers from. No detail, no fundamentals, etc.

          • WFO WFO says:
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            I don’t think they’re going to have to fire Bob D.

            My guess is that Pat Casey is coming back for one more year because Bob’s gonna retire next year and Pat will be AD.

            Having a proven winner and program builder as AD is the best thing that could happen to OS sports. He’ll put pressure on the head coaches to produce or move along.

        • JackBeav says:
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          Brosius, Minnville, Casey and baseball.

      • Billy says:
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        thoughts to ME

  • Orange Lantern says:
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    Riley gives updates:
    http://beaverbyte.com

    • numbers says:
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      wow. so instead of whipping this team into shape this week and weekend, the coaches will go recruiting. Not really the best time for that IMO. What are they gonna say to recuits? Come to Oregon State and we will fuck with your phsyce? They need to stay home and right the ship. Last two weeks arent selling anyone on this program. If they were 1-1, I’d feel way different.

  • jasonthebeaver jasonthebeaver says:
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    Subscribing

    • Jayson says:
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      Jason. When you check the box for follow up comments, do you get an email for new every post?

      • VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
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        Yes, but gmail will lump several emails into a thread so it’s very easy to follow (don’t have to open each individual email to read). I type “subscribing” when I want to follow a thread but don’t have anything to contribute or ask.
        Love this site!

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Angry: You might be right, then again ……. At one time someone (or someones) indicated that Riley’s wife didn’t like the Willamette Valley and preferred living in Southern California so if we’re throwing WAGs out there it’s also possible that he’s down in the mouth because sweet cakes is giving him grief. Then again we might be making a mountain out of a mole hill and trying to find excuses for the guy. bwdik

    • TheAntiAngryBeaver says:
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      If that were true, he’d be at USC right now (or ASU) when they offered him the job.

  • BeaverBeliever21 says:
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    Oklahoma appears to be ready to apply to the Pac-12 before the end of the month and of course Ok St would come with them. If Colorado doesn’t a want a West/East format it can still be worked around. Just move Utah to the North and leave USC, UCLA, Colorado, ASU, UA with Ok St and OU.

    If OU and Ok St are accepted (I think undoubtedly they will be) the conference will have even more offense with even more shaky defense.

    http://texas.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1263940

    • WFO WFO says:
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      Fuck Colorado.

      Don’t get me wrong,I like the history of their program and I’m glad they joined the conference but they have been members for weeks and have yet to play a league game. They can go where they’re sent and like it.

      Split that shit down the middle and send them east.

      • Gman says:
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        Best response yet. Hahaha.

      • StarcraftSquall says:
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        Old Pac-8 in the West Division. Arizona and the Newbies in the East. We get our presence in Southern California back, Texas and Oklahoma get some semblance of the Big 12 remnants, and everybody shares the revenue. Everyone’s happy. Except maybe Utah and Colorado, neither of who were the big fish in the first place. If they don’t like it, they can give up the revenue the Pac-12 Network and television deal will generate.

  • StarcraftSquall says:
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    Sign of bad times: Mike Parker and Jon Warren spending half of the Joe BEAVER show in Corvallis talking about the Corvallis-Crescent Valley high school football game, which nobody cares about.

    • JackBeav says:
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      Seumalo

    • silverstream055 silverstream055 says:
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      Yes, Isaac Seumalo. Looking forward to watching him in orange and black next year.

      My kids are in the CV football program, so I went to Friday night’s game. Seumalo dominated on both sides of the ball — big, strong, excellent technique (as befits the son of an OSU coach). Oh, and quite a game, too (Corvallis won on a last second 43 yard field goal that cleared the bar by maybe a foot).

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Can the OSU trainers/strength coaches fix Agnew’s hamstring problem or is this what we have to look forward to?

    The following is from Oregon Live a great website which I encourage everyone to visit often. Hopefully that covers me w.r.t. any kind of copyright issues for my coping the following.

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/behindbeaversbeat/2011/01/countdown_to_signing_day_orego.html
    “…After nursing an injured hamstring back to health, Agnew exploded for 175 yards in the first half against Hazelwood Central, the 2009 Missouri state champion. But when his injury flared back up, Agnew was pulled from the game and then missed seven games according to DeSmet coach Pat Mahoney….”

    7 games!!! YIKES!!!!

  • mckalk mckalk says:
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    It can heal so Riley can overuse him again. Let’s see what influence the new trainer has.

  • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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    I’m so glad we finished the bridge here in Sandpoint…finally something proper to jump off around here.

  • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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    And for UofDuck or whatever your handle is…thanks for gracing us with you’re presence again, but isn’t there some green koolaid waiting to go choke yourself on?

    Love you.

  • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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    I’m gonna say it…I want Riley to stick around and be successful. Call it cognitive dissonance or whatever, but I almost feel like we’ve suffered together, and I’ve invested myself in his program to give up now. I like the guy, just think he’s held on to the wrong guys for too long. Notice though that he’s starting to call these morons out in his interviews…talking about shitty play calling, db technique, odd play calling…I read that he’s finally ready to make some changes.

    I’ve Always been somewhat of a Riley apologist, admittedly, but for what it’s worth I think he has something yet to offer Beaver Nation.

    So fucking chill (orange lantern et al).

    • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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      Hmmm…somewhat incoherent…fitting I guess. Shoulda paced myself for the two MNF games…lol.

    • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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      Try to control yourself, soon Pure Orange will be back on the air and then you’ll be able to hang with the “speak no evil” crowd.

      Until then we don’t need some self appointed board monitor telling us what we can and can’t say.

      • JackBeav says:
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        My, my… did someone give themselves a wedgie?

      • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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        Really? Self-appointed monitor? Who’s telling whom what they can and can’t say? the “chill” comment was intended to be a little tongue-in-cheek, but geez, maybe it was good advice after all?

        Give me a break. Let me clarify my post for you. I think Riley can still effectively lead this program, especially now that he seems to be as disgusted with his coordinators as most of us are. The last few interviews he’s made very pointed comments about play calling, bad schemes, bad technique – that’s a new twist for Riley…he’s never played that card with the media before, so maybe there’s some decent change on the horizon. One can hope, because things are a mess right now.

    • USAFBvr says:
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      Uh, poor form here. There are plenty of places to visit if you want rainbows and lollipops assessments. I left all those sites because they were making me sick. One week it was okay to criticize, the next, every guy was an apologist. This is about honest feelings and honest assessments. You can be happy if you want, but don’t criticize others’ negativity. Also, throwing around the F-bomb makes you sound like a child. Of course, I guess you could be a child???

      • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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        Seriously? Rainbows and lollipops? That’s hardly my outlook or the intent of my post. Read above. And…I’ve been following/posting on Angry’s site since it started, and for good reasons…but thanks for the tutorial anyway, and for the etiquitte lesson.

        But mostly, and seriously, thanks for your service.

        • JackBeav says:
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          Are you kidding? Service? He is/was in the AF. That’s not service. That’s a vacation. 😉

          • JackBeav says:
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            Touchy bunch today. Can’t even throw flak at fairies who need an extra long and fixed runway just to land their lawn darts.

            Kids these days….

          • WFO WFO says:
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            Yeah no shit.

            We used to go on det to Holloman and Nellis and I was always amazed at the length of their runways.

            Their landing gear and arresting hooks looked like pencils compared to out F18s. They’d come in and do a mile long wheelie to land so they didn’t break their spindly jets.

  • JackBeav says:
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    News is a couple days old, but here it is. Chris Brown really liked his official on the 3rd, and the Beavs are one of his top three along with Az and late-comers UW.

    I have no idea what recruits are thinking about the state of our program, but I don’t see it as dire as some do right now anyway. Yes, I think the coaches deserve two weeks of hell for putting us through the first two weeks of the season. And yes, I think some heads should roll if we don’t get some semblance of order.

    But the annual September Fail is almost over, and the annual “ok, now let’s play” is soon to begin. If the latter fails as well, then all bets are off. But I think prospects know how this team ebbs and flows by now. And I think they think they’re the ones who are going to change that painful process for the better.

    Another dynamic that hasn’t been mentioned is the lack of a certain alum’s voice when it comes to certain matters like the state of our program. Yes, the 2009 CW was deflating. And that’s what showed in the Vegas bowl. But it should have stopped there. We were all geared up for another run through the league last year before James went down. But there was no Al Reser in Riley’s ear for the first time in a long time. I think he was an important sounding board for Riley in his last years, and I think Riley missed his form of criticism and friendship.

    • JD says:
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      I don’t have a lot of time to follow recruiting. Could you please give a quick summary of Chris Brown?

      • JackBeav says:
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        RB from San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno. He’s a quick back with some good size (6′, 200#) who likes to start it north/south then find lanes on the second level. But he can also find the edge if he wants. He has quick feet through the line, and he seemingly just bounces off would-be tacklers with great balance and sometimes impossibly low pad levels. He has excellent vision, and he runs to daylight as if it was food and he was a starving lunatic. And to top it off, he can change direction without losing speed. I can’t really give you any running styles to compare, because I think he’s on his own level. His soph highlights don’t do him justice, but they’re still fun to watch.

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          Chris Brown? The guy who beat the crap out of Rhianna? Damn, recruiting ain’t what it used to be.

        • JD says:
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          Thanks JackBeav, that was way more in depth than I was hoping for. Hopefully the Beavs can pick up some top O lineman to create the daylight.

    • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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      The Jekel and Hyde character of last year’s team and its failure to come on as the season went by are the recent mysteries. Its up to Riley to straighten that out. I think Jack is right, as otherwise, how in hell could recruiting be looking up?? The recruits must look at the situation as needing THEM. Yes, I will be the salvation of OSU!

      Hey, nothing wrong with that. Youthful imagination. Still, I need to see some coaching magic from Riley in the coming Pac 12 games, to reassure that he hasnt totally lost it.

  • StarcraftSquall says:
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    Question for everyone:
    If the Pac-16 comes into being the way we think it will, how much of an advantage would that give us into the Texas recruiting pool (yes we have footholds already, but only in certain places)?

  • USAFBvr says:
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    Well, I don’t know if he is depressed. That would take a clinical diagnosis. Unless someone on here is a psychologist or psychiatrist, I wouldn’t lean that far.

    Riley might be feeling a bit helpless. He isn’t stupid. He knows this team always starts out poorly. It doesn’t matter that we have different players. It’s always the same thing. I’m sure he realizes that it would be much better if that DIDN’T happen. I think, based on interviews, that he is trying to think of new ways to change the results in September. No matter what he does, it’s not working. Also, perhaps he is feeling a little heat from the Administration. Maybe not.

    I believe Riley really cares about the school and wants to deliver a good product for the school and for the fans. He just doesn’t know how. The only thing I can conclude is that he doesn’t know how to motivate. Which is actually surprising to me. The guy played under Bear Bryant for goodness sakes. One would think he would have picked up a thing or two from that historic coach. I’ve said it before. Based on how many Beavers get their chance in the pros, it’s not that he or his staff are bad coaches. They obviously have taught their players the technical parts of the game well enough and they have recruited players athletic enough to play in the pros. This is certainly beyond what we saw through the 28 years of futility. That suggests to me that the players we have now are better.

    What Riley doesn’t know how to do, perhaps can’t do, is prepare a program year in and year out to compete in the time period he is allotted to do so. If he could start practicing in June, I guarantee you the players would be ready to go by September.

    I don’t know how he’ll do in two weeks against UCLA. His team has got to be feeling pretty bad. They had high hopes. He’s got a QB who is going to be in serious emotional hell if he isn’t given back the starting gig. I don’t care what anyone says to the media. Katz isn’t going to be of much use to the coach or the team if he loses what he’s worked so hard to keep. Somehow, he’s got to motivate the players to put the work into practice and make them believe they can still be good. At the same time, he’s going out on recruiting trips this next weekend and is going to have to look some players in the eye and convine them that although we are struggling now, the future looks bright at OSU. That’s gonna be hard, I don’t care who you are. Then, the coaching staff will have to come back after that recruiting trip and continue to try and motivate his team for the next couple of practices before the game.

    If he doesn’t win the UCLA game, I don’t see how they win any game this year. After going 0-3, no matter what he says, I don’t believe the players are really going to think they have a chance to go bowling. Moreover, as soon as they get down in a football game, there is going to be this little voice in their heads that goes, “here you go again, you are already losing and it’s just going to get worse…you guys aren’t good enough to compete.”

    If Riley can’t motivate himself, how is he going to motivate the team? Stress will takes years off your life and will make you really, really tired…very very fast.

    The only way to fix this is to max out, right now, the number of young players who play. These guys are just excited to play college football. They know they have 3 more years ahead of them after this one, so if this season is lost, who cares. Also, you get them valuable game experience and you can really get a chance to see, in game situations, who the players are that you will be able to count on for the next three years. Should help recruiting I would think. But what do I know? I’m just a simple country boy…

  • silverstream055 silverstream055 says:
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    For quite a while, many of us have been calling for Riley to shake things up and make changes. I think Riley has been trying to do that this year. He brought in new coaches. He made changes in recruiting. He changed how practices are run. He made Fall camp more competitive. He played more freshmen (including for the first time starting a true freshman tailback, Malcolm Agnew, while demoting senior tailback Ryan McCants to special teams). Now Riley is about to bench an established QB (Katz) and hand the reins to a redshirt freshman QB (Mannion).

    That’s quite a bit of change in a short time, especially for a guy like Riley. Riley appears to be struggling at the moment with all this, and making mistakes (including mismanagement of the Sac State and Wisconsin games). Riley is taking serious heat from fans and the media, some of it deserved. Riley also is trying to deal with players he likes and has known for years (such as Katz and perhaps McCants) who are very upset about how they are being treated.

    Riley wouldn’t be human if he didn’t feel bad about some of this — and I think Riley does feel pretty bad at the moment. (But that’s as far I can go, since I’m not a doctor and not a person qualified to say who is or isn’t suffering from depression.)

    Change is hard. The job is far from done, and more changes need to be made. But at least Riley is making changes, and that’s important. I think it makes sense to wait until after UCLA to pass judgment on Mike Riley and on this team. This UCLA game is huge for Riley, for this team, and for OSU’s football program. I expect Riley and the team to rise to the occasion (but I wouldn’t bet my life on it….)

  • Beavker says:
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    Being raving mad isn’t good, but look around. Look at the coaches in big programs that get on their kids when they fail, and on the refs when they feel they are getting ripped off. Watch the Nebraksa/Fresno State game. I’m tired of watching flacid coaching staffs (no pun intended). I wan’t some fire. OS is a perennial underdog/overachiever type school. We need coaching to reflect that. We don’t have that. Losing to Sac St. and flailing again on natl. TV vs. Wisc. after Sac State flops in week 2 and the Beavs have flopped against most quality non-conf opponents would get someone fired. Not here. Not at Lunchpail U. I think we all just gagged on our bologna sandwich.

  • boycat says:
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    Good post No one here can or should diagnose Riley as “depressed,” but the idea that he is deflated, discouraged, and dispirited, for the reasons you list, does resonate. But add to that list another element. The rival you mention isn’t just any rival. It’s UO, with all that pizzazz, national buzz, Phil Knight/Nike money, and flat-out success which that it carries with it. And UO’s rise to national prominence, 2 PAC-10 championships in a row, a Rose Bowl appearance followed by a slot in the national championship game, corresponds 1:1 timewise with your theorized devolution of Riley into a blue funk. Maybe Riley looks out over the landscape and sees that his in-state rival for resources and recruits is so far ahead there’s no way he can keep pace, not now, and not anytime in the future he can see.

    • Beavker says:
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      Then we need a fighter. A hard nosed bastard that will ‘will’ his kids to victory…so to speak.

      Not sure who that would be.

      • mckalk mckalk says:
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        Someone a little crazy with a unique system like Mike Leach or June Jones would be fun. I think Rocky Long or Bronco Mendenhall fit the “hard nosed” description, but I’m not sure any of the four would come to Corvallis though I do wonder if things get more enticing if the league becomes the Pac-16. I would think any head coach would be trying to get a slot in a playoff system if it comes to that.

        Also, I forgot to mention on SIRIUS radio Mike Leach co-hosts a college football show. They had Mike Riley as a guest last week before the Wisconsin game. I getting waiting for Leach to tell Riley he wanted his job! To Angry’s point, Riley sounded kind of tired and unmotivated in the interview with Leach also.

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          I can’t edit today for some reason………typo “getting waiting” should have been “kept waiting”.

          • BeaverBeliever21 says:
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            Heard Dwight Jaynes was on the radio the other day and said Bronco Mendenhall would love to come back. So there’s that.

  • silverstream055 silverstream055 says:
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    Rick Neuheisel may be feeling worse than Mike Riley: http://www.latimes.com/sports/columnists/la-sp-simers-ucla-football-20110913,1,4486465.column?track=rss&dlvrit=111760

    We couldn’t have a better opponent than UCLA to start our PAC-12 season and right the ship on September 24 at Reser.

    • mckalk mckalk says:
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      I hope so, but Texas is godawful on offense right now and it is not inconceivable that the Bruins somehow win a 14-13 borefest. Then an 0-2 Beaver team is facing a 2-1 Bruin team. Beavers have played down to the Bruins level and worse the last two times.

      • silverstream055 silverstream055 says:
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        Agreed that the Beavs “have played down to the Bruins level and worse the last two times.” Also agreed that UCLA could conceivably beat a Texas program that is struggling.

        In fact, the QB situation at Texas is eerily similar to the Beavers’ QB situation: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/847012-texas-football-is-another-qb-controversey-the-best-thing-for-the-longhorns

        Still, if the Beavers could pick any opponent to start their PAC-12 season at Reser on September 24, it would be UCLA, or so it seems to me. We owe thanks to the scheduling gods for that one…..

      • JackBeav says:
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        The Beavs have also played up to UCLA’s level at times as well. We just always seem to have fun against them at home for some reason. I recall one post-game where the south goalposts happily walked away and down the road.

      • Beavker says:
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        I’m interested in the WSU and SDSU match up this weekend. Not a world beater, but if WSU beats the Aztecs, they are looking good going into a suspect Colorado game and a suspect UCLA game…that puts WSU the favorite vs. the Beavs!

        • mckalk mckalk says:
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          I never thought I would be typing that Wazzu is leading the nation in scoring at 61pts a game no matter who’s the competition.

          Agreed, it will be interesting to see if Rocky Long can shut them down. WSU does now have D-1 level receivers and apparently two QB’s and I guess much more.. Someone mentioned somewhere that it is realistically possible that WSU starts 5-0 with conference wins against UCLA and Colorado and I think that is more wins or ties the number of wins for the previous three seasons combined.

          Here’s another scary thought. They could be playing the Beavers for bowl eligibility with a 5-1 record (after a presumed Stanford loss). How the world has changed!

          • Beavker says:
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            and OSU playing for their first win of the year. At some point, the magic is going to run out and the house of cards is going to fall like a ton of shit bricks. We thought that was last year? “Not so fast my friend”…to quote Lee Corso. 1-11 Beavers team this year.

          • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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            I’m not far off from you…which one though? UCLA?

          • Beavker says:
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            UCLA or Cal.

        • helmsley says:
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          Did you think WSU wasn’t ever going to try to improve? And perhaps succeed? I don’t know how much difference Bill Moos is making, but he did well at both Montana and Oregon (until PK crapped on him).

          • Beavker says:
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            I’m guessing he gets more out of his players if nothing else. Effort. Execution. Almost impossible recruiting environment too…no?

  • angry angry says:
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    OSU mailed me literature asking for a donation.

    Not exactly the best time for that, dudes.

  • Mud&Sticks Mud&Sticks says:
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    Here are some founded or unfounded concerns of mine. I’m throwing them out there because I’d like to get your thoughts on them. I’d love it if it turned out that my concerns were all unfounded so if you feel like it please give me reasons why this is so.

    I have no experience at high level athletics so all I have to go on is observation and relating what I see going on to the world of investing.

    Coordinators and what they are and aren’t doing:
    Any CEO of a company who is worth anything monitors what his lieutenants are doing and if he doesn’t agree with them he makes changes either by making them change their policies or by getting rid of them.

    Riley was a DB at Alabama and as I recall coached DBs when he was with the Saints. IF he didn’t agree with what Banker is having his DBs do Riley would have Banker make changes. Over the years the OSU DBs have not turned to look for the ball so I have concluded that Riley concurs with having them play this way. In fact, they might use the technique that they’re using because Riley has instructed Banker that this is how it will be done. The same logic can be applied to the play of any and all groups on the team (LB’s, linemen, etc). So I can’t see how getting rid of Banker is going to change the way the Beavs play D.

    The same goes for the offensive coordinator. Riley has called plays for years and as head coach he has the obligation to go back and evaluate what plays were called during a game and what was the outcome of the plays that were called. Riley has had years to “have a talk” with Langsford and apparently it hasn’t happened. So I have to think that Riley approves of the plays Langsdorf is calling. Since Langsdorf hasn’t had a lot of OC experience prior to his OC stint at OSU it’s logical to assume that Riley is working closely with him to prepare the weekly game plan. Also, Riley is standing there on the sideline with his headphones on so he hears the call come down from the box thus he knows what is being called. If he didn’t think the call was a good one he could override the call and tell them what he wants them to run. So again, I’m left thinking that bringing in a new OC isn’t going to change things.

    Graduation rate. Family oriented?
    This one is a bit of a stretch for me because I only have sketchy information but I think it needs to be brought up. I haven’t taken the time to do the research so this is based on nothing more than what is often faulty memory.

    Apparently Riley emphasises a family atmosphere at OSU which is understandable since other schools are more justified in using hooks like facilities (‘ucks, etc.), academics (furd, bears, etc.), climate, (California schools) etc., etc.

    Several years ago there was a big stink about the low graduation rate of athletes at OSU, specifically football players. This was brought to light because of a Rachel Bachman story in the Oregonian. The folks who were in the know and posted on Pure Orange didn’t say anything about it so there wasn’t a lot of information available. I can understand why because even as a distant fan I wasn’t proud of the situation. Since then OSU has taken steps to give the student athletes the support they need in order to be successful not only on the field but in the class room as well.

    Here’s my concern: This blew up on Riley’s watch, also Riley’s image is that of a “good guy” and someone who’s religious. I’m left wondering if Riley is a “good guy” and if his program is family oriented how is it he didn’t address this long before it became an issue? One could conclude that the players weren’t getting help because Riley didn’t really care about their education or lack thereof. If I had a family member who was struggling and I could do anything to help them I would. It appears that Riley and the athletic department did nothing until the SHTF.

    Basics – tackling, special teams, etc.
    Riley apparently doesn’t pay enough attention to detail when it comes to preparing his teams. As Angry and others have pointed out Riley doesn’t pay attention to details and fundamentals. When you have a team with marginal talent you have to emphasize technique, etc. in order to be competitive with teams who have superior talent. If he hasn’t been stressing fundamentals after this many years of coaching I don’t think it’s in his nature to start doing so now.

    Adapting or adjusting during the game.
    Self- explanatory.

    Starting off with a bang only to fold. No energy after halftime.
    I’m thinking of games like Boise, on their turf, where OSU jumped out ahead only to get crushed and as it was happening Riley was standing on the sideline with what was described on PO as “a shit eating grin” on his face. There was an uproar about that and since then the “grin” has gone away.

    I’m sure there are other issues which could be included but this is all I came up with at this time.

    If all or most of my concerns are valid then I’m unable to find justification for Riley remaining HC. bwdik

    • JackBeav says:
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      Our APR was low after the coaching change and all the off-field incidents back in 2004-05. But it has steadily climbed so that the last reported stats (2009-10) have us second behind Stanford.

      There is a time and place to cover WR’s with your back turned. But you need to read the WR’s eyes and play his hands as he reaches for the ball. And you need to time contact to be on the ball or as he’s bringing it in. There’s absolutely no reason a DB should run up a WR’s back though. If he’s truly playing the man instead of the ball, then he should be able to stop and start with that man. After all that is done, if the DB feels contact on close coverage and sees the WR’s eyes looking upward instead of back to the QB, then he should turn his head to that point and knock the ball (or grab it). If he’s playing the man, and the man is looking over his shoulder at the QB while reaching to a point, then he should play that point without looking and continue through the WR’s hands as the ball gets there.

      In either case, PI is not a part of the plan.

      Play calling needs to be a Riley job.

      And if we’re going to put the DB’s on an island, then I’m sure they would appreciate some blitzing now and again.

      Fundamentals are a matter of talent plus experience. Recruiting from 2006 to 2008 was just not that good, and it’s showing now. 2009 was marginally better. 2010 was pretty good, and 2011 is on the field for a reason. 2012 is better than all of them, so you can project better teams into the future. But the here and now requires trial by fire due to past issues. What I think disturbs most of us is the lack of fire and direction we see when our team takes the field. Inexperience is aided by some innovation, and mistakes don’t need to result in stagnation if there’s some sense of ferocity. And the coaches need to own this issue. When you send in a play on 4th and 8, there should never be a receiver who is shallower than the sticks. Players know this at least subconsciously. They have to be asking, “What’s the point?” when they get that call in the huddle.

      So I think fundamentals improve with more aggressive play calls on both sides of the ball.

      • Beavker says:
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        Regarding the PI’s and poor corner play…I sat there and watched DB after DB for the last several weekends get a pass on possible PI’s that I feel almost certainly the Beavs would have got flagged on. Some of this is the fact that the DB’s just never turn. They never give the Ref the impression that they are making a play on the ball and are just as entitled to it as the WR is. So the flag is almost automatic. On some…I guarantee they feel no qualms calling it because frankly, it’s the Beavs. The “Big Boys” and their respective conferences seem to be allowed to play a hell of a lot more. It happened consistantly in the LSU/UO game. If it’s a blatant disruption, call it. However, the game is cheapened by weak, ticky tack calls. The Beavs can at least help themselves on half of their calls, and that is on the coaches. 3 PI’s against Sac State? A 4th if they don’t decline it…pathetic.

    • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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      Some of that has definitely changed in the last couple years. I recall Riley teams making great adj after halftime, and owning the 3rd quarter. The whole lack of effort thing is recent.

      That is the huge item, imo. You lose to weaker teams thru lack of motivation, and that is what is happening now. Maybe previous teams were pretty much self motivating, but a coach HAS to know how to motivate, to be successful in the long run. If Riley has lost it, he should recognize this and step down.

  • silverstream055 silverstream055 says:
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    Looks like an announcement has just been made that Sean Mannion will be starting at QB for the Beavers against UCLA. I think that’s the right call by Riley, and glad to see Riley making it now, rather than waiting….

  • JackBeav says:
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    Off topic… Does anyone know who what prospects will be visiting for the UCLA game? I’ve heard that Jake Eldrenkamp might be at Reser.

    And Garrett Weinreich has missed the first two games of the season because he had an appendectomy a couple days before the first game. Ouch!

  • Beavergopher Beavergopher says:
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    Katz deserved one game.

    • rsteve503 rsteve503 says:
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      The game he got was Sac State, and in a half against a weak team, he didnt produce. To pull it out, Riley changed QB’s, and it almost worked.

      • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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        How much easier was it to throw the ball after Agnew got rolling in the second half?

        • WFO WFO says:
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          Yeah I’m pretty certain Katz could have handled the 16 straight running plays to open the half.

          How he would have handled the pass after it was set up we’ll never know.

          A better question is where were the running plays in the first half?

          I hope Riley acts like a man and just plays Mannion. Don’t act like you’re giving Katz his time,just put him on the bench and let the team play.

          • GreatWhiteHunter says:
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            ” better question is where were the running plays in the first half?”

            Exactly.

            We gotta go with one guy, just not sure Mannion is the one…he looks like a little kid out there to me.

            Also, never would hope someone gets injured, but for Ryan’s sake, it would be good he got a case of turf toe and got a MRS year so he could transfer and play somewhere. I feel for the guy.

        • JackBeav says:
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          Then again, how hard is it to audible to a run when you see their safeties drawing back and their CB’s and LB’s hawking the edge? If he gets yanked for doing the right thing (going against the coach’s calls), I think he gets a lot more sympathy.

    • Billy says:
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      He had 12 and 1/2 games.

  • ukhunter says:
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    I couldn’t tell you if Riley is depressed but I know that I am!

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