With the coronavirus pandemic continuing throughout the United States, the world of college athletics has been shaken.
It's been two months since the cancellation of all spring NCAA events including spring football practice and each program has been managing in their own way.
In a Zoom press conference with UCLA head coach Chip Kelly and Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards, Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith spoke about multiple topics including how long he would need to get his team ready to play a game.
“Six weeks," claimed Smith. "I feel like that’s a minimum but doable. Starting with the health and safety, getting them into shape and we want to put a good product out there. We want to have enough time to be able to play quality football.”
As for the possibility of canceling nonconference games such as games against Colorado State and Portland State, both of which are scheduled to take place at Reser Stadium, Smith says that's a question for athletic director Scott Barnes who "has done a great job of communicating with all of our coaches."
Earlier this week, USC head coach Clay Helton said the conference is considering playing 11 conference games which would eliminate all non-conference opponents. According to ESPN's Paul Finebaum, Alabama and TCU are in discussions to play each other rather than scheduled games against USC and California due to a belief that neither Pac-12 school will be ready to play. Currently, Alabama and USC are scheduled to begin their seasons at AT&T Stadium on September 5th and TCU was going to travel to Berkeley, Calif. on the same date.
Additionally, last week Oregon Governor Kate Brown advised that "all large gatherings should be canceled or significantly modified through at least September." Barnes later reassured that football will be played during the upcoming academic year.
Smith addressed the governor's comments on Wednesday.
“We’ve talked to them continually about – we’re always learning. It’s almost like we’re learning on a weekly basis. We’ve talked about there’s going to be a light at the end of the tunnel. We don’t know exactly how long this tunnel is that we’re in but we’re going to get an opportunity to play, to get them back and when we can get them back we want to do it safely and properly.
“The unknown is what it is, and we’re working through that. Just continue to work hard on that day-to-day because the light’s at the end of the tunnel.”
Jonathan Smith has "been on Zoom in different position meetings and doing some recruiting" and leaving the conversations about the future of the schedule to the athletic department. He also mentioned watching a ton of tape from last season due to the lack of spring ball video.
The Beavers staff as a whole has begun recruiting virtually which has paid off already landing a verbal commitment from 2021 four-star inside linebacker Easton Mascarenas, who hasn't set foot on campus yet.
“There’s no question it’s been an adjustment," said the Beavers head coach. "The virtual tours – they can’t come to your campus, you’re trying to bring it to them. There are high school players that are worried about being able to play their senior year and what the fall is going to look like. We’re all having to adjust as we go through this recruiting process.”
Once the pandemic has subsided enough to play football, the Beavers will be ready.
You can listen to the full Talkin’ Beavers Podcast with host Ron Callan and Coach Berg here.