COMMENTARY: It's time for Quizz to run

JACQUIZZ RODGERS

MIKE RILEY SAID prior to the loss to UCLA he wasn't willing to characterize the 2010 team in any way, not until the season was over. Well, that's understandable, a head coach doesn't want to pigeonhole himself. But it doesn't mean we aren't ready to do so. And the conclusion is that OSU needs to do one thing most over these last four regular season games. It involves one name, five letters. Quizz.

Oregon State has shown they're capable of great things offensively – the win over Arizona was a shining example of what OSU can do through the air -- and it was a stunning display. The domination of Cal illustrated nicely what the Beavs can do on the ground. (It also showed the OSU defensive front at its best.)

But those two wins, those are the extremes.

THE REMAINDER OF the schedule played to date, those other six games, they are more representative. They give a clearer picture of the 2010 Beavers.

Oregon State is a team led by a first year quarterback. Ryan Katz is ahead of the curve, there's little doubt of that. But he still tries to force the ball too much, rather than throwing it away. He still wants to go deep, even when the deep pass is fraught with danger and has little to no chance of being successful.

Put another way, Katz is a sophomore. And he will continue to make sophomore mistakes.

Now, he's better than most at this stage, his pocket presence is especially impressive. And he can and does make plays with his legs other BCS quarterbacks cannot. But he's not as good, not nearly as good, as he will be as a junior and especially as a senior. It takes time and experience.

OREGON STATE's offensive line is good, but not great. A pessimist might even go farther, saying they're serviceable.

They're not going to dominate. They can provide windows of daylight, if not wide running lanes. They provide decent protection most of the time, but sometimes break down and allow too much heat, too quickly, on Katz.

The win over Cal showed them at their best. A week later, the loss to UCLA this past Saturday, showed them, arguably, at their worst.

But here's the thing, and there's really no getting around this.

LOSING PLAYMAKER James Rodgers changed the dynamic markedly here. The new reality is clear -- Oregon State needs to run Jacquizz Rodgers more.

And this o-line can get the job done – if Quizz has enough carries. The more touches he has, the greater the chances are he'll break one or more.

Sure, the first eight games have proven there will be plenty of times where Quizz is stopped for little or no gain. There will be third downs that aren't converted. And Quizz needs to not complain, (or be perceived to be complaining as he was by some in the media recently), when his o-line doesn't get the job done. Because there will also be those long gainers mixed in. The kind of runs that seize momentum and win games.

QUIZZ NEEDS TO carry the ball more than 14 times, as he did in the loss to UCLA. Yes, the Beaver coaches saw stuff in film that they could exploit against UCLA via the pass. The game plan wasn't necessarily wrong. But they didn't execute it out on the field, for whatever reasons. It happens. Just because it's there on film doesn't guarantee it will be there on any particular Saturday.

Quizz needs to be the focal point these last four regular season games. If the Beavs generally run Quizz on a draw once or twice a game, they need to run him four times -- a little disguise here and there can only help. Run Quizz out of the Wild Beaver more, give him that extra second to read and set up his blocks. And run Markus Wheaton on the fly sweep out of the Wild Beaver more, keep the defense on their heels.

And of course, add in more of OSU's bread and butter running plays. More Quizz. More, more more.

IT'S LIKE A great closer in baseball – the batter knows the fastball is coming. The closer knows the batter knows. Here it is, my best against your best. Try and hit it. No? Strike three. Sit down and grab some pine.

Quizz is a closer-type. He's capable of great things every time he touches the ball. And OSU needs to feed him the ball.

Fortunately for Oregon State, the next team on the schedule is WSU, a team still trying to dig themselves out of a giant hole. The Cougs were playing better in the middle part of the season, they put a scare into a few Pac-10 teams.Bbut over the last few weeks, they've been hit very hard by injuries, and their depth was paper thin to start. Oregon State is favored by 20 points, and that's Vegas being conservative.

Quizz, on a good day, can run for 150-plus yards against the Cougars in their current state. And 200 yards this Saturday isn't out of the question.

If OSU feeds him the ball.

BeaverFootball.com Recommended Stories