By Con / PNW Sports Fans

Dejection. 

That is one of the only words we at PNW Sports can think of to describe what transpired last night at TCF Stadium. From the looks on the faces of the OSU players to us on the couch ready to celebrate the first win in 10 games, all for not. Throughout the game there was optimism, hope, up and downs but most importantly from our perspective some progress.

No matter what that paper with the state of Oregon in it says, Oregon State is making progress in it’s second year under Gary Andersen. Even though the outcome was not ideal, the turn around time that Andersen has already shown with this team is encouraging. Each game this season we will provide a full analysis (yes actually more than 300 words unlike the Oregonian “reporters” who write about injuries and act like football is a foreign subject they are just grasping) in the following format:

Positive takeaways, negative takeaways, plays you might have forgotten/hidden yards, coaching analysis (a few questions and play calls), personnel overview and a brief overview on the next week. We do not put too much stock in looking ahead the whole season, we need to digest, examine the film and then get ready for next week like it’s any other opponent.

Positive Takeaways

+ To start, isn’t it nice to have a QB that can actually throw screen passes? Actually make a throw that Jack Lomax COULDN’T make? Well yes it is thank you very much.

Darell Garretson is the real deal, tough, leader, grinder, gamer and much more than his label of “game manager.”

In the first quarter he looked like he was getting early game jitters out and maybe holding the ball a little long and I thought to myself, here we go another Cody Vaz with bigger hands… Then he threads a TD pass to Noah Togiai that we haven’t seen since Joe Halihuni was our TE. Not to mention his guts after getting actually assaulted on two blind side sacks and fumbles. Was worried about his wrist on the second one.

+Speaking of TE’s, we actually have one for the first time in a decade! Wasn’t it a thing of beauty to see on a 3rd and 3 or a 3rd and 5 actually have a the ball thrown to a TE and complete a catch and first down? Let alone a TD to a TE… Ricky Ortiz (42) was an unsung hero as well as OSU went with two TE a decent amount of time.

+A running back not named Storm Woods is one of the biggest revelations of my personal lifetime. However, this is a debated topic at PNW Sports, it isn’t all roses. Ryan Nall is a solid RB. However, after the first TD drive, he looked tentative. In my opinion maybe even gassed… Did not look like the same RB who did a full on frontal to *regon during the Civil War. He did end with 21 touches (13 rush, 8 rec.) but the Minnesota 2nd string running back had 26 touches and grinded out the Beaver D with ease. I like Nall’s pass catching ability but the play call was so good, Braught could have breezed through like a gust of wind behind Gavin Andrews. Jury is still out on this one and we will see how Nall holds up on the injury front (looked gimpy in 1st quarter) and with his conditioning which looked less than stellar. There have been other sources with the team who contributed to this theory about the Central Catholic Ram.

+Titus Failauga and Manase Húngala are already and will continue to be the playmakers on the front seven. Failauga consistently getting off of big boy blocks and has a great nose for the ball. Minnesota quickly started running opposite his side after he blew up a few plays.

Hungala was all over the field. A true sideline to sideline MLB. Haven’t had that since, ummm, ummm, yeah you get the point.

+Xavier Crawford was on our watch list of impact newcomers and that dude is fast, lengthy, smart and can hit. Multiple great defenses on passing where oh my gosh pinch me a OSU DB was actually in a position to make a play on the ball and was step for step with a WR. Last time that happened was… yeah I don’t need to go on.

+Defense improvement was obvious from tackling to secondary play. Every part was improved from 2015. Question is, can the offense not go 3 and out consistently?

Negative Takeaways

-Bright Ugwoegbu…a young Keith Pankey/Ryan Murphy in one of the most important spots on our defense! Hoooooraaayyy. Except remember that pinch me thing? Yeah this is not one of those moments. After our film analysis, we counted 11 plays where Bright did one of two things: completely missed tackle or wasn’t even in his proper gap to make the tackle. All lead to HUGE plays that kept drive alive for MN. The most obvious ones are the QB keepers when the DE’s are crashing on the RB and Brights only job is the QB. For some unknown and unfathomable reason, Bright kept crashing. In fact, I think he just crashed into my garage channeling his inner Al Alfalava. Ok that might have been too far… But bottom line, Bright has some great tools and athleticism but the football IQ is not there and do not be surprised if he is supplanted next game by a true frosh at OLB. Thanks Mike.

-Usually our values here at PNW go against calling out individual players but we have committed to you the fans to be unfiltered, raw and honest. This next one hurts and is honest…

Is Victor Bolden actually a receiver or a walk on corner in disguise? The dude has trouble catching yet can real in the back of the end zone diving TD… We will get to his specific lapses later but even going back to last year, he just isn’t that special of a player and needs to be treated and thought of such going forward. The coaches have put way to much pressure on him and he isn’t Brandin Cooks or even in the same league as say a mid level Pac-12 receiver. It hurts us so much because he is advertised as our “senior leader…” Once again, thanks Mike.

-Offensive Line/Receivers: while the o-line was an obvious disappointment, they still were not an absolute liability. First game, first time with the group and despite Dustin Stanton’s whiffs on the sack plays, Blake Brandel (another RAM) had a solid game and held his own as a RS freshman. Also showed some depth with Gavin Andrews going down and Trent Moore not missing a beat at RG. We think they will clean this up.

The real disappointment was the play of the wide receiver group. Outside of Seth Collins, I guess we decided to stay out a little late drowning our sorrows with Teddy Bridgewater and the rest of the Viking faithful. We already discussed Bolden, but Xavier Hawkins (7) dropped two balls thrown right at him, Vitamin J (Jordan Villiam) was off and a non factor, Timmy Hernandez saw the field twice and ummm someone please tell me that Hunter Jarmon just wasn’t on the trip… Because he was no where to be seen… Something fishy here…

The position group that was supposed to be a strength turned into an underwhelming worn out whoopee cushion with no juice… Hopefully this will improve but to us this is the most concerning topic because of the alarming moments of “wow our best WR was our QB last year…” Thanks Mike.

Plays forgotten/Hidden Yards

(Hidden yard plays are yards that do not show up in box scores but are huge field position/momentum changing plays that tell a huge tale of the game…)

-For some reason unknown to us at PNW, the special teams choices are being chosen by Bobby D still… 1 minute left in half and we do a shitty squib that gives Minnesota the ball at their own 40 and then they get a momentum boosting lucky field goal going into halftime… Bad way to end first half… Let alone the opening play of the season where we miss Gabe Ovgard keeping contain on KO that leads to a 65 yard return and horrible spot for our D to open the season.

+Nick Probeski proved his worth being the Pac-12 media day rep for OSU by his consistent punting and unorthodox spin on balls that led to a muff.

-I think we genuinely witnessed an OSU home game halftime show with students infamously trying to catch punts from a jug machine and failing miserably… oh wait that was every Victor Bolden return on a KO or punt led to almost disaster but so many hidden yards missed. Did he not go to the Taylor Kavanaugh school of catching punts? ($25 to any reader who emails us with who this is) First he lets two punts go in the first quarter that lead to a possession starting at the 1 and another at the 5. If he would have fair caught the balls it was 15 yards better on both punts. Then he tries to catch the next punt over his shoulder which is so junior high… his last name does have a Jr. next to it now… hmmm… Which leads to him falling backwards 10 yards out of bounds. Then he thinks he learns and is going to catch the ball in front of him, only to play patty cake with the ball and get hit for a zero yard return that could have easily been 5 yards walking… He finally got replaced by Rahmael Dockery (8) towards the end of the game but not before he had a beauty of a 14 yard punt return on a free kick after the safety! Rather than being a below average returner and getting the ball at the 45 after a safety, he blindly dismisses his blockers and gets us to the 35. Safe to say he won’t be on punt returns anymore…

-Hate to keep raging on one player but a minute  thirty left in game in middle of game winning drive and our “senior leader” drops a 3rd and 5 pass that hits all 10 of his fingers right at the 1st down line? All that needs to be said… Thanks Mike.

Coaching

-A few questions for the staff (we do trust them completely, this is just theoretical questions from non Pac-12 coaches unless stated) We limit ourselves to one real question of the coaching staff a week.

  1. Why only run one base play out of the wildcat with Seth Collins? Is this truly a read option play with run/pass/handoff options? Or is it always a designed QB run? Getting a little predictable and unreliable when that was our best play last year…
  2. Defense started game incredible with getting in backfield and holding Minnesota to zero points when they could have easily gotten at least 10. Our question is, in the first quarter we brought multiple blitzes from seemingly out of nowhere, then why the stopping? Minnesota QB couldn’t throw a ball through a goal post… They just stopped bringing pressure and let him sit and chill and then run circles around Bright.
  3. Noah Togiai had a few key third down catches early and then seemingly disappeared from the gameplan… TE seam would have been nice?

Ok here it is… The jugular to the coaches where if we were reporters in the room we would have zinged this right at them…

Why in the sweet name of Baby E did OSU not run the ball after their first TD? We had the mojo, the Ram was ramming and we come out 4 wide… We thought Gary wanted to establish run? He coach McGiven, did you know that if you run the ball there is no chance of our only decent QB getting decapitated the first game of the season? This was confusing to us on the lack of rushing attempts but also the lack of specific first down running plays. We went pass happy and instantly with timing being off get ourselves into 2nd and 10… This is something to watch going forward especially with our analysis on Ryan Nall…Was he really hurt or gassed? Or did they just go away from it? Need answers here…

Personnel

-We counted 8 plays where Seth Collins lined up at QB, 7 times he kept the ball. One handoff to new RB Art Pierce (21). This needs to change. Too predictable. We absolutely love Collins in the wildcat jumbo package near the goal-line channeling his inner Tim Tebow…Unstoppable. But come on at least have him throw once? Weird to us and a few wasted plays of 1 yard…

-Shemar Smith (41) OLB got one series after the second fumble by Garretson. Nothing special but no F ups on his plays. Never saw him after that.

-As mentioned above, did Hunter Jarmon (2) make the trip?

-Elu Ayudon (99) played BIG. Didn’t show up on stats much but continuously got playing time and made the most of clogging the middle at DT. Didn’t see him or Kalani Vakamelalo  (97) at TE though.

-Tim Cook (20) showed good hands which was pleasant surprise on the TD catch. Not much going with running though. Kind of Ryan McCants ish. Art Pierce (21) saw a few carries and looked like he was getting is feet wet. Had a few good blitz pick ups as well. He is solidly the #2 back and was consistently getting the snaps  when Nall was gassed.

-Looks like going forward the Beaver D base package is nickel. When you play nickel the whole game against a Big 10 team, I think that will be all we see for the rest of the season. We honestly like that because it gets our best athletes on the field and allows players like Devin Chappell (9) to play close to the line and make plays in backfield which he did consistently. Xavier Crawford (22) was lining up on outside receiver with Dwayne Williams (4) on the inside receiver.

Next Week

Thank you Bobby D for accidentally clicking “Bye” on week two after your speed bag and hot yoga… 10 games straight folks after Idaho State on the 17th…

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