A bye this early in the season isn't the usual, but what
can Oregon State do?
"It is what it is," OSU coach Mike Riley said.
There's also the thought that maybe it isn't such a bad time for a week without a game, knowing the Beavers still have another bye in October when they reach the midpoint of their schedule.
The week off now gives them some extra time to get over the voiced disappointment and frustration of missing a chance at posting a noteworthy victory over a top-10 team, instead of dropping a 30-21 decision to TCU at Cowboys Stadium.
With no game in front of the Beavers until the home opener Sept. 18 against Louisville, OSU can do some work in the front lines both offensively and defensively. More than passes off target — Ryan Katz was 9 of 25 in his debut as the starting quarterback — or miscommunication that led to a late safety, OSU's issues are as basic and blocking and tackling.
On offense, the Beavers ended up with a net rushing total of 73 yards, with Heisman Trophy candidate Jacquizz Rodgers limited to 75 yards on 18 rushes. Without more balance, opposing defenses are going to keep up the pressure on Katz.
Defensively, OSU tried to stave off the heat and
humidity with a steady rotation of linemen and linebackers, using eight of the
latter. Or maybe it was an attempt to find somebody who could stand up to the
Horned Frogs, or corral one of those TCU running backs or scrambling quarterback
Andy Dalton, who combined for 278 rushing yards.
That all led to the OSU defense being on the field for nearly 40 minutes.
"We wanted to rotate people in and out," Riley said. "At the same time, they kept the ball a long time.
"Time of possession must have been incredible."
It was, the results weren't and now OSU can get back to some basics as the best use for a bye week.
- The previous three OSU quarterbacks to make their
starting debut in a season opener all were involved in OSU wins, but more
than Ryan Katz's abilities, that may point to the scheduling. Those previous
three Beavers to debut as starters all played their openers at home and none
against a formidable opponent such as TCU, which is already in the top 10 of
national polls and could make a run at reaching the national title game.
- OSU's record fell to 11-14 in games played prior to
Oct. 1 over the past seven seasons. The Beavers have still rallied to play
in bowl games in five of the previous six seasons.
- P Johnny Hekker had a 23-yard completion on
a fake punt to set up an OSU touchdown against TCU, making it consecutive
games that the OSU punter has completed a pass while lined up for a punt.
The bad news: The Beavers lost both of those games, to BYU in the Las Vegas
Bowl to end last season and to TCU in this season's opener.
GAME BALL GOES TO: Safety Lance Mitchell,
who was in on 18 tackles and also had an interception, with a 21-yard return
setting up the first touchdown for the Beavers. The 18 tackles matched the
eighth-most ever in a game by an OSU player.
KEEP AN EYE ON: Quarterback Ryan Katz. Though he only completed 9 of 25 attempts, his two touchdown passes were perfectly thrown and he demonstrated an arm that will have defenses being very careful, knowing no receiver is out of his reach.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think you would be crazy if we weren't frustrated with the way the game went. We gave ourselves an opportunity to be in it in the fourth quarter. That's about as tough as it gets ... nobody should feel real good about that." — OSU coach Mike Riley, on missing out on a possible upset of TCU.
|STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL|
LOOKING GOOD: Safety Lance Mitchell was in
on 18 tackles, fellow safety Suaesi Tuimaunei was in on 14 more and
cornerback Brandon Hardin had seven more tackles. That's too much of the
tackling being done by the secondary, but at least they held up as the final
line of defense or TCU might have broken several plays for big yardage.
STILL NEEDS WORK: The offensive line couldn't open running room for Jacquizz Rodgers, who was held to 75 yards in 18 carries, and allowed two sacks of quarterback Ryan Katz, who was also hit just as he was getting off a handful of other throws. It's a group with two new starters and without an all-conference player in graduated Gregg Peat, and it looked like it has some work to do during the bye week.
A WORK IN PROGRESS: There has been much talk about the lack of played time Cameron Collins, a starter last year, saw against TCU. Defensive coordinator Mark Banker told The Portland Tribune his time of the field will increase once he gets comfortable in his new position.
"Cameron made the transition when training camp was over, so he wasn't ready," Banker told The Portland Tribune. "We wound up having a good player not on the field on a regular basis. He needs to grow into that position; this bye week is perfect for him to get some work in. He needs to be on the field for us."
- OL Wilder McAndrews, a senior, not only made
the first start of his career against TCU but played every offensive down
for the Beavers. That meant that Michael Philipp, last season's
starter at left tackle as a true freshman, didn't get in the game though he
was on the trip and suited up. He had been limited in preseason practices by
a broken nose and a sprained ankle.
- The Beavers only played one of their true freshmen in the opener, linebacker Michael Doctor. It was anticipated he'd be involved in special teams but Doctor also saw regular time with the defense. His status as a true freshman comes with an asterisk: His enrollment was expected a year ago but delayed until the winter so he was on hand for spring practices.
GETTING PUMPED: Below is the highlight video that the team was shown before the TCU game.