I am talking about this thread:
Instead of putting the onus on fans, the media should step up and say what they mean. To put up a picture of Riley with the shit-eating-grin and then ask, after a 5th straight loss, “what do you guys think of Riley’s 13th season?” is a cop out.
It’s interesting what they’re implying, though. It’s more in line with this site than say, pure-orange, where Pollys congregate to stick their heads’ up their collective ass and breath in the stale air.
We have to be careful to take solace in the Beavs playing fairly well. Meaning, if they lost 70-2 everyone would be calling for change, but since it was a 1 point game with good effort, maybe people give Ranker a pass and think, “we’re close! Next year is the year!” This would be human nature.
On a similar note, we can’t act like this loss is as bad as Washington or Stanford. At least the players showed up for the game.
That being said, the coaching staff, specifically Riley, cost his team another game. The biggest error was not taking the FG in the 3rd quarter. It would have put the score at 23-24, which was totally fine for that juncture of the game. Another error was throwing a deep pass on 4th and 1. Deep passes have the lowest completion percentage of any play, so what’s the logic in using it when you need a yard? It’s overkill, like shooting mice with a 12 gauge. Finally, and this is a tough one, but I think he should have milked the clock at the end of that game and taken the winning FG attempt. As soon as Bolden scored, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “Too much time on the clock; the Ducks are going to win.”
One final point: in typical Beaver fashion (i.e. luck o’ the Beavs), we got the worst of both worlds: a close game so fans can say, “hey, at least it wasn’t a blowout”…yet no win. So, status quo complacency remains, but without the win. “At least it wasn’t a blowout” is music to Riley’s ears. But it’s sad that’s a popular paradigm. Those fans are clearly a major part of the problem, but I’m preaching to the choir and beating a dead horse and [insert your favorite idiom] with that.
Luck o’ the Beavs.
Some want them to get demolished today to speed up a Riley retirement. I can’t go there yet, but I can view that as a silver lining should we get destroyed.
I have this game at 52-27, but could see it being closer if the Ducks have another mental hangover (and QB issues). The Beavs might be viewing a win today as redemption, their swan song, for a poor season. So, those two things combined could make it closer. Even in that best case scenario, I think the spread has to be -10 Ducks.
If the Beavs somehow win this game, I do fear everyone will forgive Ranker (/Biley), and it will setback this growing push for change. That would be the typical Luck o’ the Beavs.
Here is my Q&A (his questions/my answers) with Rusty Ryan.
1. What has been the biggest struggles behind the running game this year?
The biggest struggle has been consistency on the line. Guys were hurt early in the year, and they never gelled. Also, Riley has abandoned the run game early in games, and in some games he never tried to establish it. Riley believes in team “identity” (he uses this term all the time). It’s clear he thinks this team’s identity is the passing game, to the extent he doesn’t even try to run.
2. What has been the greatest strength and greatest weakness of the team this year?
The greatest strength has been the WR corps. Cooks and Mullaney are both future pros. Caleb Smith is an intriguing tight end, and also a pro prospect if he can stay healthy. The weakness has been the defensive front. The Beavers cannot stop the run at all.
3. If you could fix one problem with the program what would it be, and why?
That’s a tough question. There are many problems, and it’s hard to know the core of them. I would probably change out the athletic director, because the defeatist, woe-is-me attitude around Oregon State starts at the top. Bob DeCarolis is constantly crying poverty and implying this is the best OSU can do. I don’t think that’s a healthy mentality from the guy at the top.
4. Are there common traits of Beaver wins? Does it come down to third-down conversions, not turning the ball over, or running well?
The only common trait has been weak opponents. The Beavers won 6 straight versus bad teams. As the teams improved, the Beavers wilted. Stanford was the defining game this year, and the magnitude of each loss has snowballed since then.
5. What would have to go right for Oregon State to win Friday?
In short, everything. But specifically, I think Oregon will have to turn the ball over 3+ times and the Beavers will have to have long, sustained drives to win the game. My hunch is the Beavers will try to pass and get into a shoot out. That would be a dire strategy. The Ducks are not as physical this year, so I think going into the game with an attitude that they’re going to be the more physical team, and then surprising them with the run game is the only hope. I wouldn’t rule out trick plays if the situation dictates one. My prediction is 52-27 Ducks.
Contributor at addictedtoquack and owner of searchingforakilismith.com. I answered 5 of his questions, so check back to see those once he posts them.
1. What’s the sentiment regarding Helfrich?
I think Helfrich has a learning curve and he’s going to benefit a lot in the long run from the Stanford and the Arizona loss. I don’t think he necessarily has the fire and edge right now. I’m not saying that he needs to be a dick or a hard ass at all, but he needs to find the authentic balance between the two. I think he is going to be a long-term coach at Oregon and that he will go through some growing pains.
2. Do you think either Oregon or Oregon State needs a coaching change, or is that a brash opinion?
I don’t think either school needs a coaching change. Helfrich is too early in his time and I think Riley is really a good coach.
3. What are the main reasons the Ducks took a step backward? Talent, coaching, chemistry, etc?
The Ducks took a step backwards because of coaching, some inopportune turnovers, maybe play-calling, and possible senior leadership. If you lose the best coach in the history of the program there will be a drop off and to think that there won’t be is absurd. I figured before the season that it would bring down the average wins by half a win to one full win. Play-calling at times was questionable although that is always a hard statement to make because I don’t know the gameplan or see practices every day. However, all the interior running attacks should’ve been reduced because the play of the guards was inconsistent. The linebackers were also very young and didn’t do a great job filling holes when the defensive linemen were taking on double-teams.
In the Stanford loss the fumbles in the red zone and not converting on fourth downs is what did Oregon in. It got the snowball rolling for what was one of the most demoralizing games I’ve ever seen.
Lastly, the apathy expressed by the “leaders” and “stars” of the team towards the possibility of a Rose Bowl was shocking. As much as I’d like to chalk it up to college kids saying dumb stuff I can’t. Not after watching the performance against Arizona. And people who argue that the players who said the quotes about the Rose Bowl played really hard during the game I would respond by saying that anyone can play hard during a game. The hard part that requires focus and drive is preparing to succeed on gameday. The preparation is what seemed to be lacking.
4. Do you guys still want ‘Bama?
I said it since those shirts came out but the “We Want Bama” shirts is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen. Talk about putting the cart before the horse. It is like fans thought Oregon was just going to roll over everyone when we knew that Stanford would be a problem and that at times the team really lacked an identity. Do I want Bama? At some point. Right now Oregon is not ready to compete because Bama has the perfect players for their scheme and the drive to work their ass off year round.
5. Do you think the Beavs have any chance to win this Civil War (…or any future Civil War)?
The Beavs do have a chance to win the Civil War. It might not be great but if Oregon plays like they did against Arizona on Friday there’s a more than decent shot. I think Oregon’s strengths on defense match up well against the Beavers’ strengths on offense but the turnover margin and third down conversions will make the difference.
Oregon State will win a civil war again at some point. College football is incredibly cyclical. Alabama was bad over ten years ago for a few years. Florida just lost to Georgia Southern. So good teams falling for a few years does happen.
6. How do Duck fans view Beaver fans who want to take on the risk of firing Riley to possibly gain relevance? And maybe elaborate on how Duck fans view this Riley era.
For Beaver fans who want to fire Mike Riley my question would be who is going to replace him? Are there really any hot coaching candidates or coordinators that would come to Corvallis? Does the school have the money to pay for a great coach? Or is there even a succession plan in place by a really good coordinator. I don’t fault Beaver fans at all for wanting to get a new coach to try and be really good and push for a conference title or BCS appearance but a greater importance needs to be put on what assets Oregon State has. They don’t have the money to shell out millions for a coach. They don’t have top facilities that make people stare in awe. They don’t have a rich history except for the 1968 Heisman Winner Terry Baker. There isn’t great in-state talent. There’s a lot going against the Beavers looking at it realistically. I think Oregon State’s problems go deeper than just coaching. Mike Riley has shown that he can put together great teams in this situation, although they may be years apart from each other.
On the other hand, I always believe that you can’t let something good get in the way of something great. I think that Oregon State, if they really want to push for titles on a yearly basis, there might be a better candidate who can help install change in the entire AD. But to leave Riley brings a lot of uncertainty and there’s a chance that the program gets a lot worse before it gets better.