Look at every stat expect the final score, and you will think the Beavers won this game. Oregon State dominated much of the game, but in the end they fell just short of a victory in the first game of the Cory Hall era. The Beavers had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, only to see a 52-yard field attempt by Jordan Choukair fall just short. Now the Beaver will use the upcoming bye week to prepare for Stanford.
To many, this is the only thing they gathered from the departure of Oregon State’s now ex-head coach Gary Andersen. Writing this the day after Andersen’s departure would’ve welcomed a lot of knee-jerk reactions. Aside from the money, I’m sure plenty thought finally, this should’ve happened month ago, or good riddance. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at how the Beavers program arrived at this place.
Andersen heading to Oregon State seemed like a dream hire. He came from winning roots at Wisconsin, and if I’m being honest, I was baffled by him coming to Corvallis. It felt like a step back. He won a WAC title at Utah State before spending two years at Wisconsin where his combined record was 20-7, 13-3 in conference. In his final year he went 11-3, 7-1 in conference and a Big Ten Championship game loss to the eventual National Champion Ohio State. He capped the year with an overtime Outback Bowl win against Auburn. Quite the resume for a coach coming to Oregon State.
On to the Corvallis arrival. He took over for the beloved Mike Riley who went 5-7 before leaving for Nebraska. With any coaching change, embrace the fact that there will be a first-year drop-off unless the team is completely loaded with talent. The 2-10 record year one was seen as a complete rebuilding season. Year two showed growth at the end with a win over archrival Oregon. The scene was set for a bowl bid to be had this year and the fan base was bamboozled.
The season’s opening 58-24 loss to Colorado State was the writing on the wall. Accompany that with escaping a close encounter against FBS opponent Portland State, which is 0-5, and you’ve got a hot seat. After this past week’s 38-10 road debacle against USC, coach Andersen called it quits. His combined record in three years was 7-23, 3-17 in conference.
There’s a lot of finger-pointing opportunities. Let’s start with the fact that Oregon State is one of the toughest jobs in the country. Next are the lackluster recruiting classes. It’s no secret that the state of Oregon isn’t littered with elite football talent, so coaches must make headway in the surrounding states. More than anything the lack of player development. You won’t out-recruit the blue blood programs. The next coach must be able to develop these two- and three-star recruits. Look to programs like Gary Patterson at TCU and Matt Rhule at Temple. Maybe Andersen underestimated this challenge and he didn’t have a staff that was truly invested in player development.
He clearly respected the program and profession enough to walk away without taking a dime with him realizing it simply wasn’t working out. For that fans should thank him.
Why, Coach, why?
That's all I can say in the wake of the news that Gary Andersen is no longer the football coach at Oregon State. I don't know why. It makes no sense. Colleges don't change head coaches in the middle of the season -- any season -- and although the school's athletic director, Scott Barnes, insisted many times over that it was "a mutual decision." Really? Nobody was pushing from either side? Boosters played no part in this? I just don't see Andersen leaving his team in the middle of the season. He doesn't seem that sort of man.
This was a shocker. And, of course, so was the news that Andersen is walking away from more than $12 million owed him by the university.
This stuff doesn't compute and when all you get is "this is a mutual decision," you can't help but speculate. Be my guest.
But this I know: Andersen is a quality coach and quality man. I believe, given time, he was going to get it done in Corvallis -- at least as much as is humanly possible. Mike Riley spoiled a lot of Beaver fans who think winning is easy at Oregon State. It is not. I said it when Andersen was hired -- this is one tough job. You're in the rising shadow of the Ducks, you don't have the facilities that many other Pac-12 schools have and don't have a lot of money to throw at recruiting.
So don't ask me what happened in Corvallis. For right now, I just don't know. But what I do know is that Oregon State lost a good one Monday.
Scott Barnes announced that Gary Andersen and the school have agreed to mutually part ways.
Oregon State University Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes announced Monday that head football coach Gary Andersen and the school have agreed to mutually part, effective immediately.
"I thank Gary for his many contributions to our student-athletes, OSU Athletics and Oregon State University," Barnes said. "OSU football has advanced significantly in many ways during Gary's tenure here, including in our facilities and student-athlete academic performance. This program is poised for success on and off the field."
Oregon State University and Andersen have mutually agreed to release each other from all future contract obligations and payments, which were guaranteed through the 2021 football season.
"After many discussions with Scott, waiving my contract is the correct decision and enables the young men and the program to move forward and concentrate on the rest of this season," Andersen said. "Coaching is not about the mighty dollar. It is about teaching and putting young men in a position to succeed on and off the field. Success comes when all parties involved are moving in the same direction."
"This is an exceptionally difficult time for me, personally and professionally," Barnes said. "I have known Gary for many years and respect him highly as a person, my friend, a head football coach and an incredible leader of young men. The timing of this is very difficult; however it is the best for all involved."
"Coach Andersen's decision to waive his remaining compensation is unprecedented in major college athletics," Barnes said. "His decision is made for the right reasons and values, and it speaks volumes about the kind of honorable person that Gary Andersen is."
Barnes said he immediately would undertake a national search to appoint a head coach for the 2018 season, and would utilize a search firm to identify and review candidates. He and OSU President Ed Ray will ultimately decide who will coach the Beavers.
In the interim, Barnes has appointed current Beaver assistant coach Cory Hall to lead the program.
Hall is in his second season with the team after joining Oregon State in January 2016. He has college coaching experience at Washington State University, Weber State University and the University of Wisconsin. In addition, he is a six-year NFL veteran, having played for the Atlanta Falcons and Cincinnati Bengals. Hall graduated from Fresno State University where he also played football. In his OSU tenure, he has coached former Beaver Treston Decoud, a fifth round draft pick last April by the Houston Texans, and current All-America cornerback Xavier Crawford.
Andersen led the OSU football program to unprecedented academic success during his nearly three-year tenure with the team, posting record term cumulative grade point averages, a renewed emphasis on community service involvement, and last season, the Beavers defeated Oregon for the first Civil War victory since 2007.
In addition, Andersen's head coaching career includes being a semifinalist for the 2013 Maxwell Award Coach of the Year, a 2012 finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, leading Utah State to the 2012 Western Athletic Conference championship and Wisconsin to the 2014 Big Ten West Division title. As a head coach, Andersen's student-athletes have achieved 149 conference academic honors, and he has coached 36 individuals selected in the NFL Draft. Andersen has also been a head coach or assistant coach for 11 teams that advanced to bowl games.
Just five minutes into the game the Beavers were already down 14-0. Missed field goal, dropped touchdown passes, inexcusable turnovers, you name it, the Beavers found ways to hurt themselves. Did USC stop the Beavers, or did OSU stop itself? Whatever the answer, the Beavers have to move on and regroup in preparation for Colorado next Saturday.
It’s a simple question, with a not so simple answer; where does Oregon State go from here?
Prior to the season many people thought the Beavers would be a bowl team. Year three of Gary Andersen would see the big jump in the win-loss column. The fan base was full of optimism, and justifiably so.
However, instead of a return to respectability we have seen this team take a giant step backwards. Following a 42-7 drubbing at the hands of the Washington Huskies on Saturday the Beavers fell to just 1-4 on the season. That one victory took last second heroics from the offense to steal, yes steal, a win from FCS Portland State.
Against the Huskies the Beavers struggled to do anything on offense. At the end of the third quarter they had a total of just 104 yards of offense and zero scores. To put that in perspective the Huskies had 98 yards and a touchdown on their first drive of the game. Not the best of comparisons.
But we have to be fair on this night. The defense played lights out in the first half. They gave up that big drive to start the game, then hunkered down and held the Huskies scoreless the rest of the half. It was the best defensive half we have seen from OSU all season. But then the OSU we have some to remember showed up in the third quarter, allowing the Huskies to score 21-points.
Failing to score while failing to keep the opposition from scoring… well, you’re not going to win any games with that formula.
The frustration from coach Andersen could be heard in his voice postgame. The coach seems to be just as bewildered as we are. And that should be most troubling of all. When the captain of the ship doesn’t know why it turns left when he turns the wheel right, you have a serious problem.
There is something off with this Beavers team; I just can’t quite put a finger on it. At this point, it may be time to start looking to 2018.
The Beavers still have USC, Colorado, Stanford, a much improved Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, and Oregon remaining on the schedule.
Will it be possible to pick up a win in that stretch? Of course it will be. Anything is possible, but that doesn't mean it's plausible. Win one game - Sure. Win enough games in that stretch to become bowl eligible – don’t hold your breath.
The Beavers we saw on Saturday will be lucky to win a quarter, let alone a game the rest of the way. And that is a sad state of affairs for a team that we all thought, myself included, was ready to turn the corner.
After seeing the strong close to the 2016 campaign by the young Oregon State Beavers, I’m sure the fan base had the mindset that they’d be in store for a big year. By that I mean a bowl bid and possibly an upset.
Let’s cut to the chase; it’s not happening.
Gary Andersen is in his third year as the head coach and I’m typically a fan of giving coaches four years, but it may be time to cut bait after this season. They were blown out again by Washington State, sound familiar? To make matters worse, starting quarterback Jake Luton exited Saturday’s game with a thoracic spine fracture. That doesn’t bode well for an offense that isn’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard.
The team simply doesn’t have any fight. On their putrid offense, they rank 93rd in points per game and 100th in yards per game. The running game was thought to be a strength the offense with junior running back Ryan Nall, however, they currently sit at 106th nationally. Ranking 71st isn’t bad when you examine their passing attack. On the contrary, when you take into account that they’re typically playing from behind defenses are playing soft coverages allowing for easy completions and yardage.
There’s not much to enjoy when looking at their defense either. They rank 106th or worse in points, passing, and rushing yards allowed per game. Essentially every major category defensively. If you exclude their game against FCS opponent Portland State, they’ve been outscored by a whooping 94 points! I’m no math major, but that doesn’t sound like a team that’s competing.
They’ll host Washington this upcoming Saturday before heading to the coliseum to face the USC Trojans. Not exactly an ideal schedule for a team that’s struggling. I expect both teams to roll against the Beavers.
The first thing Oregon State must do after that 48-14 loss to Minnesota is probably the hardest thing -- stay the course. Stay together. Things are going to get worse before they get better. And the worst thing that could happen is for the team to split apart.
Things are obviously not going the way the Beavers thought they would and I would expect some players aren't as talented or reliable as the coaching staff thought they'd be. Coach Gary Andersen's mission the rest of the way will be to find players he can depend on -- the ones who won't quit on him. This thing could get real ugly during conference play and the main thing is to keep working. I still believe Andersen will get the job done at OSU -- but nobody ever said it was going to be easy (except the dolts who thought firing Mike Riley would immediately turn the Beavers into conference champions.)
The Beavers have to come together and keep working. Cliche? Of course. But truth. There's no other choice. The conference isn't going to allow them to call their season off or ask for a do-over.
But let me mention one other thing: People are calling out their defense and certainly, there are problems on that side of the ball. But rest assured, there are offensive problems, too.
In today's high-octane version of college football, it's impossible for defenses to hold up very long when the offense isn't moving the football. Oregon State got one first down in the second half Saturday, along with just 67 yards of total offense. For the game, the Beavers -- who thought they had a solid running game this season -- rushed for just 80 yards. That's terrible.
And when your defense is shaky, you cannot afford to have the offense grind to a halt. Their defense played well enough in the first half -- when the offense gave it a chance, The second half looked like a complete defensive surrender -- but I'd make the case that the offensive inefficiency led directly to it.
This is also a team making all sorts of mistakes -- fumbles, interceptions, blown blocking assignments and missed tackles. And fair-catching a punt at the three-yard line set the Beavers up for second-half trouble, too. The mental mistakes must stop.
Those things must be dealt with. The overall goal now is a simple one -- improve with each game.
Winning games is going to likely be a big problem the rest of the season. Losing can quickly become a disease that rots the core of a team.
The Beavers must not let this thing blow up.
Oregon State started this game trailing 17-0, but clawed back to make to it just a six point game at halftime, 20-14. However, P.J. Fleck made sure that was the closest the Beavers would get to his Golden Gophers, outscoring OSU in the second half 28-0. Now the Beavers head on the road to start Pac-12 play. Where do the Beavers go from here? We will find out next Saturday in Pullman.
FINAL SCORE: Oregon State 14 – Minnesota 48
The Oregon State Beavers needed a win in the worst way Saturday against FCS Portland State. And that's just about what they got -- a win in the worst way.
Let me first say, OSU's drive to take the lead that culminated in a touchdown with a little more than a minute remaining in the game was a big thing for the Beavers. They came through in a tough spot and took control, if momentarily, of the game.
But let me also say, the Beavers didn't beat the Vikings. The Vikings beat the Vikings. Portland State was the better team in Reser Stadium Saturday and I know that's a very painful thing for Beaver fans to understand. But you can pick just about any category on the final stat sheet and PSU had the edge. But even more than that, consider that PSU lost its starting quarterback in the fourth quarter and still marched for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:43 to go in the game. And, oh yes, the Vikings couldn't covert PAT kicks or a field goal that would have sent the game into overtime. But for a kicker, this game belonged to Portland State.
And one other very big thing -- Portland State failed on a fourth-and-goal in the first half after an incomplete pass in the end zone. There was pass interference on that play -- even the Pac-12 network announcers saw it that way -- and it wasn't called.
I expected the Vikings to give the Beavers a game but I certainly didn't expect them to dominate Oregon State. The Vikings rushed for 291 yards while holding OSU to 154 on the ground. And this was supposed to be a Beaver team with a serious ground attack. And Portland State is supposed to be a team that will finish eighth or ninth in the Big Sky Conference. I think the Viks are obviously much better than that, by the way.
But what are we to make of the Beavers?
Well, so far, not much. But it's way too early to give up on them. Gary Andersen is a good coach and I think his team is talented enough to make something of a turnaround. But I'm not sure it will be enough to avoid a disastrous won-lost record. If a Big Sky team can run on them, I'd expect every team in the Pac-12 will run them into the ground. Oregon State would probably be better off to get to a ball-control offense and keep its defense off the field as much as possible.
On the defensive side of the ball, think last year's Oregon team. It could be even worse than that, if possible.
The Beavers can rejoice all they want over that win over Portland State. But in reality, there wasn't much to celebrate.