Invoice C’s annual preview collection of each FBS staff in school soccer continues. Catch up right here!
Mike Riley’s first season as Oregon State head coach was a problem, however he needed to know it might be.
The previous USC offensive coordinator was aware of the destitution that was Beaver Soccer — OSU had gained simply 13 video games in six years below Jerry Pettibone, who had adopted predecessors Dave Kragthorpe (17 wins in six years), Joe Avezzano (six in 5!), Craig Fertig (eight in 4), and Dee Andros (eight in his final 4) into the proverbial graveyard.
Riley’s USC offense had simply scored 46 factors on the Beavers in 1996. However he took the job anyway.
In 1997, OSU went 3-8, and it constituted definable enchancment. In 1998, with a redshirt freshman walk-on taking snaps at quarterback, they improved to 5-6, their greatest report since — and I swear that is true — 1971. When Riley left for the NFL, OSU introduced in former Miami coach Dennis Erickson, and the progress continued.
In 2000, with that walk-on QB now on scholarship, the Beavers gained seven video games and attended their first bowl since 1964. In 2001, with future NFL skills T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson within the receiving corps, they went 11-1 and completed the season with a 10-point win over No. 5 Oregon and a 32-point embarrassment of No. 10 Notre Dame within the Fiesta Bowl. They ended up No. Four within the nation, their highest end ever.
The walk-on QB was Jonathan Smith.
In these 5 years, Smith noticed this system go from never-gonna-win to the highest 5. He returned to highschool as a graduate assistant in 2002, and after trekking out to Idaho, Montana, and Chris Petersen’s staffs, Smith returned to Corvallis final fall.
He in all probability acknowledged what he noticed, and never in a great way.
When Erickson left to turn into the Seahawks’ head coach in 2003, Riley returned and additional established OSU’s most persistently sturdy interval ever. They continued to bowl and completed ranked in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2012. They single-handedly knocked USC out of the 2006 and 2008 nationwide title. They reached 20th in S&P+ in 2012, their post-2001 peak.
Coming into 2019, they’ve regressed for 5 of the final six years. They’d fallen to 62nd by 2014, when Riley inexplicably bought employed away by Nebraska. Former Utah State and Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen took over, oversaw a first-year reset, engineered a slight second-year rebound, after which collapsed. He stop midway by 2017, and OSU went 1-11 and ranked 109th. Smith took over and maintained type offensively, however the protection was an absolute nightmare. The Beavers went 2-10 however fell to 111th.
So right here we’re. Smith understands his environment and, together with his expertise below each Riley and Petersen, what it takes to construct a program. However earlier than he can, he has to move off the collapse. He most actually didn’t in 12 months one.
S&P+ is introduced within the type of factors per sport. It’s adjusted for tempo and opponent, plus different components associated to the S&P+ scores. The 2017 Oregon State protection, Andersen’s final on the town, was the fourth worst energy convention protection of the final 14 seasons. However one way or the other issues bought even worse.
Ten worst energy convention defenses, per S&P+ (2005-18)
- 2018 Oregon State (43.4)
- 2015 Kansas (40.6)
- 2015 Texas Tech (40.3)
- 2017 Oregon State (39.9)
- 2014 Colorado (38.9)
- 2007 Minnesota (38.8)
- 2011 Kansas (38.7)
- 2018 Illinois (38.6)
- 2011 Indiana (38.5)
- 2009 Washington State (38.5)
Oregon State’s 2018 D wasn’t solely the worst of this group; it was the worst by a lot.
The offense has promise, returning its beginning quarterback (Jake Luton), a 1,300-yard rusher (Jermar Jefferson), and all however one member of its receiving corps. And it doesn’t matter until the protection can go from traditionally terrible to merely dangerous.
The mixture of skilled returnees, veterans who had been injured in 2018, and transfers ought to permit for enchancment, and never solely as a result of issues nearly actually can’t worsen. However we’ll see how a lot enchancment is feasible in a single offseason once you’re this really putrid.
The OSU offense most actually wasn’t the downside in 2018. However that doesn’t imply it was good. The Beavers fell from 59th to 73rd in Off. S&P+, although their adjusted scoring averages stayed about the identical.
For the second straight 12 months, quarterback Jake Luton missed fairly a little bit of time with damage. Granted, lacking 4 video games with an ankle damage is much much less extreme than lacking many of the 12 months with a spinal damage, as he did in 2017. Nonetheless, after nearly instantly getting damage and ceding the ground to Conor Blount, he returned in week 3, performed effectively towards Nevada, then missed one other month. Blount took the job however ended up coping with each shoulder and concussion accidents. Jack Colletto bought a two-game audition and bombed, and Luton ended up together with his job again.
In a roundabout manner, that every one this occurred and OSU’s offense held regular from 2018 is an effective signal? If nothing else, OSU protecting the identical QB upright for many of the season would in all probability end in enchancment.
Luton and Costello each return, and Blount transferred, however there’s a brand new candidate for the beginning job: Nebraska switch and former blue-chipper Tristan Gebbia. It seems neither Luton nor Gebbia dramatically stood out within the spring.
Coordinator Brian Lindgren, who got here to Corvallis from Colorado, subsisted primarily on quick passes and large runs. Luton and Blount each accomplished about 62 p.c of their passes, and OSU ranked 44th in passing marginal effectivity, 35th on customary downs. Issues went awry instantly as soon as the Beavers had been not on time, however they had been often harmful, particularly when Luton was wholesome.
One particular person particularly benefited when Luton was on the sector: Isaiah Hodgins. The junior from Oakley, Cal., caught 47 passes for 690 yards and 5 scores with Luton; the opposite six video games, he caught 12 for 186 and no scores. Senior Trevon Bradford additionally produced higher stats with Luton.
One one who didn’t: Jermar Jefferson. Luton is the statue of all statues, and Blount and Costello threatened defenses a bit with their legs. A little distraction appeared to go a great distance — Jefferson, a mid-three-star freshman on the time, rushed for 793 yards (7.Four per carry) and 10 touchdowns in video games with out Luton. In video games with the 6’6 senior: 587 yards (4.Four per carry) and two scores.
The left facet of the road — guard Gus Lavaka and Blake Brandel — return, having mixed for 67 profession begins. Sadly the opposite 4 gamers with beginning expertise are gone. The mixture of Luton and a semi-new line might make Jefferson’s life fairly arduous.
Gebbia isn’t the one switch Smith is hoping will make a distinction: Arizona heart Nathan Eldridge flips from the South division to the North, and sophomore Tyjon Lindsey makes it two Nebraska transfers on the offense.
Tim Tibesar has established a superbly first rate teaching profession. A former defensive coordinator for North Dakota (2004-05), Kansas State (2007-08), the Montreal Alouettes (2011), and Purdue (2012), he had spent three seasons as Wisconsin’s OLBs coach earlier than transferring west to run Smith’s protection in 2018. Wisconsin’s OLBs had been, it have to be stated, fairly good.
No matter his strengths, he had no concept what to do with the personnel he inherited in Corvallis. And he didn’t inherit a lot. OSU’s 2017 protection had been horrible, many of the line was gone, a few potential beginning DBs had been damage, and the linebackers with expertise didn’t seem to translate into the scheme Tibesar wished to run.
The Oregon State protection was a grasp work in awfulness. They had been balanced in all of the flawed methods — when it comes to marginal effectivity, they had been 130th speeding, 126th passing, 128th on customary downs, and 129th on passing downs. They kind of prevented massive go performs, rating 74th in passing marginal explosiveness, however they made up for that by rating 123rd in speeding marginal explosiveness. They let opponents keep away from third-and-longs, and so they couldn’t actually cease third-and-longs once they had been created. They’d precisely one semi-disruptive participant, linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. (11.5 tackles for loss), which is to say that they had been on no account disruptive (125th in havoc charge).
Worse, there was no trace of in-season enchancment. They started the 12 months giving up 77 factors to Ohio State and completed giving up 55 to Oregon. They held solely Southern Utah below 34 factors.
The excellent news, because it had been, is that virtually everyone is again. That features two of the three linemen Tibesar trusted to take many of the snaps (together with 385-pound man-mountain Elu Aydon), seven of eight major linebackers (together with Rashed), and eight of 9 DBs, plus the 2 injured safeties (sophomore David Morris and senior Omar Hicks-Onu).
Smith additionally signed three JUCO linemen and a pair of four-star linebacker transfers in Oklahoma’s Addison Gumbs and Nebraska’s Avery Roberts. (Apparently Nebraska’s commerce with OSU was Mike Riley for 3 gamers to be named later.)
If nothing else, the competitors in follow will likely be higher this 12 months.
You’ve nonetheless gotta have some play-makers, although, and it’s actually arduous to search out some.
If no less than one of many JUCO linemen (sort out Jordan Whittley was the highest-rated) and one of many linebacker transfers butts their manner into the beginning lineup, and if Morris can be a part of Jalen Moore in forming a significantly better final line of protection, then this protection can have nearly no alternative however to enhance.
OSU has an honest pair of legs. Jordan Choukair’s is powerful, which resulted in stable kickoffs and some lengthy area objectives (he additionally missed some quick kicks, however we’re attempting to be optimistic right here). Daniel Rodriguez’s is correct, which imply that whereas he averaged solely 41.9 yards per punt (not terrible, not nice), he didn’t permit many returns. He additionally had 11 punts downed contained in the 20 with zero touchbacks.
I’ve stated sufficient dangerous issues on this preview, so I’ll chorus from mentioning that the return sport was horrid final 12 months.
2019 Schedule & Projection Elements
|Date||Opponent||Proj. S&P+ Rk||Proj. Margin||Win Chance|
|23-Nov||at Washington State||36||-20.8||11%|
When Chris Petersen took the Washington job, it took him a few years to get the items organized. UW was principally the identical staff it had been earlier than he bought there, till a third-year breakthrough.
To say the least, OSU was about the identical because it had been in Andersen’s final 12 months, too. And whereas the mix of an honest offense and probably-not-worse protection ought to end in total enchancment, the schedule solely options two opponents projected worse than 63rd in S&P+. OSU was 111th final 12 months. That’s fairly the hole.
OSU is a projected 15-point favourite towards Cal Poly and a six-point underdog at Hawaii. The Beavers are no less than a 13-point underdog within the different 10 video games. Enchancment to 3-9 would require no less than one vital upset.
Smith’s second 12 months will likely be successful if he finds long-term solutions on the two-deep and example-setters within the weight room. It’s uncertain that will probably be all that profitable on the scoreboard.
Workforce preview stats
All 2019 preview knowledge to this point.