28.Aug.2012 Nicholls State vs Oregon State
Greetings Beavlettes, and welcome to another exciting year of Beaver football!
So I've been looking over the final depth chart, and the only issues I have with the starters are Colin Kelly and Colby Prince. Now, I know why these two players are starting (experience, plus Caleb Smith/Gavin Andrews didn't do enough in camp), but still, those two are weak links. I'd personally rather see Tyler Anderson at FB, but some say he missed blocks, so I get it. On defense, Watkins over Zimmerman is the lone error, though with Watkins injured Zim will get the start this weekend. Sweet serendipity. Overall, this is the closest Riley's ever come to putting the right guys on the field.
Regarding Nicholls State, I've heard the same things you guys have: they incorporate elements of the spread and pistol, didn't score much last year, and now have incorporated more pro sets. I typed in "Nicholls State Football Preview" trying to find more info and possibly game film to analyze, but couldn't find anything. Nicholls State–the Simi Kuli of the Southland Conference?? Maybe they don't exist, and that, not Hurricane Isaac, is why they're not going to show up on Saturday. Speaking of Hurricane Isaac, that should be Seumalo's nickname–it can't be coincidence that he's playing his first game vs a team from that area, right? The odds are against that. I declare him Hurricane Isaac!
So, I expect the Beavs to have a vanilla game plan. Run left, run right, figure who on the O-line can run block, and then throw in a play action here and there. I know the pass game is the Beavs' strength, but they need to figure out who can block and who can't (I'm looking at you, Colin Kelly) before playing Wisconsin. That's not something to figure out in-game. They also need to establish an identity from the first play of the season, something Riley has never done, but he's also never put 90% of the right players on the field, so maybe after 12 years something is finally clicking in his slow, laconic brain. Riley will get to within 2 wins of Lon Stiner on Saturday. Lon had higher highs, like all the other successful OSU coaches, and for that reason I think it's a tarnished stat.
There's actually a lot of pressure on Riley and the Beavs this weekend. The Sac St debacle has to be in the back of their minds, and they've heard all the negative press this off season…plus, Riley feels his seat getting hotter (you can tell, because he's finally working again (e.g. taking over play calling, actually trying lol, etc).
I honestly believe the Beavs will dominate this entire game and put up 40+ points. I don't see Nicholls State scoring more than 10. So…how about something like 45-10? Maybe the vanilla game plan keeps them in the 30s.
Oh, and I usually am not one for sentimental gestures, but the Beavs will be wearing "FT 92" on their helmets this year in honor of Fred Thompson. Loved that guy (as much as a straight, angry writer can love a fellow male and football player from afar). It's classy in a good way. Good job getting something right, Beavs.