CORVALLIS - Saturday's rout of Colorado was just what the doctor ordered. The 44-17 win effectively…
Langsdorf and Banker dish on Colorado
Danny Langsdorf had the standard time frame to prepare his charges for a rested Colorado defensive front. The Buffs have had three whole weeks to prep their defense against an electric Oregon State passing attack, and sluggish run game.
So what are the challenges that scenario presents?
"Probably the fact that we will get some new stuff that we haven't seen yet," Langsdorf said. "They've had some time to continue to install (new looks). Hopefully they have had a long enough break where they've not been as game ready, that might be an advantage to us. (But) they have definitely had time to put some different wrinkles in."
That doesn't mean OSU hasn't been preparing hard for what they think they'll see.
"They do a nice job of not turning guys loose – they don't give you nearly (the amount of) pressure looks that we saw last week but they're in the right position," said Langsdorf. "They do a nice job of keeping everything in front of them, and so you have a little bit of a better idea about how they are going to line up. But there are some pressure packages I'm sure we haven't seen that we are going to have to be ready for.
"We always kind of have to deal with the new things – the nuances of what they've installed. If it's a team we've played a lot against in the past then we kind of know what's coming – but a new staff like (Colorado's)… there is definitely a little bit of anxiety."
On top of limited game film, Langsdorf and the staff are dealing with a patchwork offensive line that has undergone multiple overhauls and position changes over the last three weeks. Redshirt freshmen Sean Harlow and Grant Bays are holding down the right side of the O-line in lieu of Grant Enger, Gavin Andrews and Roman Sapolu.
"We have to be able to make sure we put (Bays and Harlow) in good positions," said Langsdorf. "If you overload them, then you are going to have some more mistakes. We try to make sure we are simplified enough that (the game plan) doesn't screw them up.
"You always have to be a little concerned about young guys, because how much can they handle? How much game experience do they have? Can they adjust to the things that we are going to see that we haven't seen much of?"
Yet OSU's offense does have some things going for them -- home field advantage chief among them. OSU hasn't played a home game in two weeks, and now they return to Reser Stadium coming off a pair of edge-of-your-seat wins on the road. You've got Sean Mannion, a healthy Brandin Cooks and other weapons.
And the students are piling into Corvallis by the droves – school starts Monday. How loud will Reser be on Saturday?
Plus, Langsdorf points to something else that could go a long way towards a win – confidence.
"We moved the ball well (at Utah and SDSU) and played in tough environments, so coming home is always a great thing," said Langsdorf. "But you know, it's a conference opponent and that is always a big deal for us.
"But I think there is a lot of confidence with our group and the way we have been able to handle a lot of stuff and win the game late - that always is good for confidence, especially for the young guys that haven't played much."
Turning back to Mannion and Cooks, who are among the nation's best statistically in several areas – did Langsdorf see this coming?
"Did I think we were going to lead the country at times? Maybe not. But I think (Mannion and Cooks) have done a great job of using their experience and making plays. There have been numerous times when both of them have made huge plays – but nobody expected the production that we have had," said Langsdorf.
Over on Defense
The OSU defense is dealing with the same issue – a lack of game film and specifically on Colorado QB Connor Wood and the Buffs star wideout Paul Richardson. But how crafty will Colorado be – have they honed some other weapons in the game plan so that Wood and Richardson aren't a two man show?
That question won't be answered until the game gets going.
But Mike Riley mentioned earlier this week that he wants the Beavs to be prepared for everything on defense, from a Colorado zone-read option and beyond, despite the fact CU through two games has run a traditional passing offense with a pocket QB.
That's made some for interesting looks for the first team defense this week that Mark Banker and crew have drawn up.
"It's not so much (we anticipate) Connor running so much as it is that he has the ability to do that -- because there are elements of the zone-read in their packages, it's part of their run offense.
"With (Wood) the fake is carried out more and he has kept the ball. And in lieu of the Utah game and the way we were not disciplined in our cover down in the second half - it's on film. It shows that the quarterback has success running the ball – so we want to make sure that we are attentive on our calls and we cover down correctly, play assignment football.
We are going to see a mesh game and the quarterback will have the ability to keep it and run off the edge."
Banker pointed out that Utah QB Travis Wilson had barely run the ball prior to facing Oregon State. And Wilson racked up 142 hashes on the ground vs. Oregon State.
And so OSU has to be concerned about even a mildly mobile QB. Banker described what Wilson accomplished against OSU as a "field day." And he certainly doesn't want it to happen again.
THE MIDDLE OF the Beaver D offers lots of intrigue this week, specifically that freshman Rommel Mageo will get his first college start at the MIK.
Mageo is of course still learning but he played nicely off the bench in taking over for Joel Skotte last week. And Banker said he's confident he'll make quick, proper adjustments and identify Woods' and the rest of the CU offense's tendencies.
"For (Mageo), even though he wasn't the first onto the field, for a guy who had never taken a live rep on our defense he did a nice job," said Banker. "It's a tribute to him and players should look to him as an example. Here was a guy that was standing there watching a majority of the reps but taking mental reps as he went. I hope that his growth continues."
Mageo is physical and has a knack for finding the ball carrier. But there are other factors that led OSU to the decision to start him over Skotte.
"He is very confident when he makes his calls in the huddle," Banker said. "That is kind of where it starts - he can get people lined up. His reactions in the last game were good, so hopefully he can keep that up. Once his recognition comes, he can go.
"There is always a lot of traffic in the box so being able to move laterally with that speed and agility, but also (key is) being physical with his hands."
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