Jermar Jefferson

Oregon State's backfield still a committee despite Jefferson's return

Oregon State's backfield still a committee despite Jefferson's return

The Beavers backfield makes Jonathan Smith one lucky coach. 

In Monday’s press conference, Smith discussed what it meant for the team to have running back Jermar Jefferson back on the field.

It was great. I thought he did run it well...a couple of those runs...were well well-earned by him and that’s his style.

The sophomore returned to the field vs. Arizona last Saturday and recorded with 22 carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns. He missed multiple games after injuring his ankle against Hawai’i. Senior Artavis Pierce also ran the ball 15 times for 114 yards and a touchdown in Tucson, AZ.

On Tuesday, Jefferson reported to the media that his ankle was “95 percent” and he plans to play again Friday against Washington in Corvallis, Oregon. Offensive Coordinator Brian Lindgren also added that Jefferson was healthier than they thought against Arizona so they gave him a heavier workload than anticipated. 

Despite Jefferson returning to the lineup, still expect the Beavers to play multiple backs against Washington.

Smith weighed in on the usage of his two dynamic runners.

We’re going to shoot to always rotate [Jefferson]. We’d like to have two guys going, sometimes three. If one of them gets the hot hand, they might get more carries but we’re definitely going to rotate them.

You can watch more about the running back situation in the video above.

MORE ON BEAVS:

Isaiah Hodgins "ready to go bowling"

Instant Analysis: Beavers tame the Wildcats

Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson doesn’t want to redshirt, but should he?

Oregon State’s Jermar Jefferson doesn’t want to redshirt, but should he?

Jermar Jefferson broke out as a true freshman running for 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns. With another offseason under his belt, Beaver fans were eager to see how he would follow up this season.

It has not gone to plan. In the Beavers’ second game against Hawai’i, Jefferson injured his ankle and it’s been bothering him ever since. He sat out the following game against Cal Poly before suiting up two weeks later following a bye week. However, after a few carries, he told his coach he couldn’t go so the Beavers went with senior Artavis Pierce instead. 

Jefferson also gave it a go at UCLA the following week but once again only carried the ball a few times. He has not suited up the last two games against Utah and Cal. 

The Beavers have a bye this week which hopefully will let his ankle fully heal ahead of their game in Tucson against Arizona. But should they have him suit up?

With the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, a player can play in up to four games without burning their redshirt. Jefferson played in every game as a true freshman so he can still technically redshirt a season if he and the team chooses. This season, he has played in four games, the maximum allowed to still redshirt. 

Obviously, if his ankle continues to hinder him then he should redshirt the season. But what if he comes out of the bye healthy? Or he sits out a few more games and then is ready to play by season’s end?

Coach Jonathan Smith has said there are no plans to redshirt him. However, it is an idea he should consider. 

Redshirting him will allow him another three years of eligibility with the program. If they play him again this season, they may be throwing away another full season of healthy production out of the star ball carrier. But that is assuming he will stay for three more years if given the opportunity.

Jefferson can leave for the NFL Draft as early as following next season. If he thinks he will get drafted, it would not be surprising to see him leave to start his professional career. Especially at a position with the shortest lifespan in the NFL, he may want to start his professional career as soon as possible. 

If the Beavers think he will go pro as soon as he can, then Jefferson should play again this season if healthy to maximize his production while at Oregon State.

If they think he will stay as long as he can is where it gets tricky. Then, it comes down to if the Beavers can put together enough wins to compete for a bowl game this season, and they think Jefferson would be a differentiating factor in scoring some victories. 

Pierce has stepped up as the starter to the point that Coach Smith said on Wednesday said Pierce will be the starting running back when Jefferson returns. The Beavers do play multiple backs frequently, but is giving Jefferson a handful of carries worth burning his redshirt when redshirt sophomore B.J. Baylor has also ran the ball effectively as the backup lately?

It depends if the Beavers are threatening to make a bowl game. If a team that Vegas had the over/under win total at as 2.5 could become bowl eligible, it would do wonders for the program and their recruiting. No longer would Oregon State be the bottom of the Pac-12 conference. This Beavers team has improved tremendously from last season and only needs to finish 3-2 to play a thirteenth game. 

Given the benefits a bowl game could bring, the Beavers should play Jefferson if he’s healthy, starting against Arizona. If they cannot leave Tucson to reach four wins, their bowl hopes are nearly dead given the rest of their schedule. 

Given Jefferson's productivity as a freshman, it’s doubtful he will stay as a potential-redshirt senior in two years. If he can get fully healthy over the bye, the Beavers should play him to give it their best shot to defeat Arizona and get to 4-4. Then they’ll have two moe home games and road games against Washington State and Oregon. If they could then win half of those games, they will make a bowl game for the first time since 2013.

MORE ON THE BEAVS:

Reviewing Matt Moore's journey to the NFL

Overview of the Beavers 2020 recruiting class: Offense

Overview of the Beavers 2020 recruiting class: Defense

Oregon State vs Stanford: 10 Things to Know

Oregon State vs Stanford: 10 Things to Know

Coming off a bye, the Oregon State Beavers (1-2, 0-0 Pac-12 play) open their conference schedule against the Stanford Cardinal (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) at Reser Stadium at 4 p.m. (PT). 

The Cardinal have struggled so far this season but are better than their record indicates given three consecutive losses to ranked opponents. Can the Beavers take advantage of the Cardinal’s slump and open Pac-12 play with a victory? We’re optimistic. But before kickoff you’ll need to prepare for the game.

Here are 10 facts to get you ready for the contest!

  1. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. on Pac-12 Network with Roxy Bernstein, Anthony Herron, and Jill Savage on the call. 

  2. At 1-3, Stanford is off to their worst start to a season since 2007, the first year under Jim Harbaugh as the Cardinal head coach. In their 5th game that season, the Cardinal defeated #2 USC despite being 41-point underdogs. The Cardinal are 4-point favorites over the Beavers on Saturday.

  3. RB Jermar Jefferson is 15th in the OSU record book with 1,650 rushing yards and Artavis Pierce is 20th with 1,476 yards. Pierce is currently on OSU career record pace for rushing yards per attempt at 6.0; Jefferson is tied for second at 5.8. In Jeffeerson’s absence, Pierce had 12 carries for 90 yards against Cal Poly. 

  4. WR Isaiah Hodgins leads the Pac-12 (8th nationally) for receiving yards per game at 115.7. Of his 23 receptions for the season, 19 were for either touchdowns or first downs. Pro Football Focus also grades Hodgins out as the top receiver in the Pac-12.

  5. Former head coach Dennis Erickson will be honored at the end of the first quarter for his upcoming induction into the College Football Hall of Fame in December in New York City. Erickson coached at OSU from 1999-2002 leading the program to new heights, including a 41-9 Fiesta Bowl victory over Notre Dame. He was honored last week at Washington State and will be next month at Miami.

  6. Head Coach Jonathan Smith had great success playing Stanford when he suited up for Oregon State. His 405 yard passing performance at Stanford in 1999 remains a school record. Smith also set the school record that stands today with a 97-yard touchdown pass to Chad Johnson at Reser Stadium the following year against Stanford.

  7. The offense has scored a touchdown on the first drive of every game this season. Isaiah Hodgins has two of these touchdowns, against Oklahoma State and Cal Poly respectively.  Against Hawai'i, Jermar Jefferson ran for a 4-yard touchdown to cap off the Beavers’ opening drive. 

  8. OSU co-leads the country for fewest turnovers (1). The Beavers are tied with Appalachian State, Boston College and Iowa. 

  9. The Beaver offensive line is rated second in the nation by Pro Football Focus for pass blocking efficiency. They have allowed only two QB sacks through three games; the best start to a season since the 2003 team gave up two sacks in as many contests.

  10. The Beaver defense has 24 tackles-for-loss this season through three games; nearly half the total for the entire season last year. That ranks 3rd in the Pac-12.

Hot Hollywood scene and instant Pac-12 Media Day takeaways

Hot Hollywood scene and instant Pac-12 Media Day takeaways

Los Angeles- It was 100 degrees in Hollywood and the Pac-12 Conference is heating up ahead of the 2019 football season.

THE SCENE

Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert, linebacker Troy Dye and coach Mario Cristobal oozed confidence and comfort with the media at the annual Pac-12 Media Day. Pac-12 North coaches raved about Herbert’s talent while reeling for an answer on how to defend the possible 2020 NFL Draft top quarterback selection.

“Seems like Herbert has been there forever,” said Washington State coach Mike Leach of the four-year starter. “Somehow they granted him 10 years of eligibility.”

Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith, running back Jermar Jefferson and wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins wore the word “urgency” printed on their wristbands, while preaching improvement and a mentality shift.

TAKEAWAYS

Border War heat

I’d argue the rivalry between Oregon and Washington has never been hotter and Herbert agrees with me. The Ducks narrowly edged the Huskies to win the North Division among 35 voting media members (who picked the Utes to win the South and the conference). I asked Herbert and Dye, “Does it feel good to top their rival in the media poll?” Refreshingly, the Eugene-native Herbert grabbed the mic, smiled and said yes, it confirmed and recognized much of the hard work that UO has been putting in.

After being upset in overtime in Eugene, Washington coach Chris Peterson downplayed this season’s October 19th game at Husky Stadium, urging the “one game at a time” mindset.

You don’t want to see Mario Cristobal when he’s angry

Hollywood equals Blockbuster movies, so which Superhero movie would Ducks star in? Herbert would be Iron Man, Dye loves Captain America and both Ducks said Cristobal would be Hulk, because they are afraid of him when he’s angry.

Justin Herbert, most interesting person at media day

Herbert, who is on most short lists for this season’s Heisman Trophy, was named first-team quarterback in landslide fashion. The senior received a first-team nod on 31 of 33 media members ballots. Herbert’s decision to return for his senior season surprised everyone, except those who know him, Cristobal mentioned that it was a less difficult decision than it may have seemed.

Teammate Dye called Herbert a “clown” and admitted that Herbert is much funnier than his serious disposition suggests. Herbert, Dye and the entire senior class went on a bonding retreat to Sunriver, Oregon this summer to ride ATVs. 

Pac-12 opponents praised his off-field poise, but also explained that Herbert is the athlete that everyone hates to love, because of the problems his talent creates for defenses.

Terror Troy Dye

Dye is “stronger and smarter than he looks,” says Herbert. After forgoing the 2019 NFL Draft, Dye’s reign of terror on Pac-12 offenses will continue and I predict the senior will take down the Oregon record for career tackles, set in 1971.

The linebacker, who was named to first-team defense, is undoubtedly he leader of Oregon’s 2019 defense. At media day, he divulged that he revels in competing with Herbert. His favorite thing to do is try to intercept Herbert’s passes.

Wake surfing, so hot right now

It’s always fun to see how coaches spend their offseason when they aren’t recruiting or preparing. Peterson and Smith like to go boating and both coaches enjoy to wake surfing, which is basically wake board without being strapped into a board. This summer was the first time Smith has ever successfully surfed and Cal coach Justin Wilcox said he needed photo proof. Wilcox is more of a paddleboard guy.

OSU defense making strides

Oregon State’s defense has to be better than last season, right? The Beavers could not stop anyone. Outside of a 48-25 home win over Southern Utah, Oregon State allowed at least 34 points in every other game last season.

In Smith’s second year as head coach, he specified the outside linebackers as the defensive position group that has seen the most growth. He also mentioned the new additions are extremely important for their depth and competition in the position rooms.

Versatile Jermar Johnson

Following a sensational freshman season, Johnson has benefitted from an offseason of weight-lifting and conditioning at the college level. He gained muscle, set new max’s and lowered his body fat. His versatility will be a major strength for OSU’s offense this season, as the sophomore has been working on catching passes out of the backfield.

Jermar Jefferson named to Doak Walker Award watch list

usatsi_11536171.jpg
USA Today

Jermar Jefferson named to Doak Walker Award watch list

After a spectacular freshman season, Oregon State's Jermar Jefferson has set the bar pretty high heading into season two. His amazing performances as a true freshman caught the eyes of the national media and have earned him a spot on the 2019 preseason Doak Walker Award watch list. 

Jefferson rushed for more yards than any freshman in the country last season and was named a Freshman All-American. His 1,380 yards were an Oregon State freshman rushing record, as well as the sixth-most rushing yards in a single season by any OSU running back ever. 

His best game of the season was a 254-yard performance against Arizona State. The outburst of yards was the second-most in a single game in the history of the program. 

Jefferson starts his campaign to win the Doak Walker Award on August 30, when Oregon State opens the season at home against Oklahoma State. 

Since 1990 the Doak Walker Award has been given annually to recognize the best running back in the country. In that time, no running back from Oregon State has won the award. 

Ducks ready to dim OSU's shiny offensive weapon

Ducks ready to dim OSU's shiny offensive weapon

Usually in the Civil War, Oregon's shiny offensive weapons steal the show. In fact, two Ducks are on record watch this Friday. Be that as it may, this season the Beavers (2-9, 1-7 Pac-12) have an offensive star that is turning heads of their own in true freshman Jermar Jefferson.

Jefferson is a talented workhorse; he leads all freshmen nationally with 1,316 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. In three of his past four games, he has run for at least 100 yards and this season has surpassed 200 rushing yards twice.

Defending Jefferson is a challenge the Ducks (7-4, 4-4) are excited for.

“He is really elusive,” said Oregon outside linebacker LaMar Winston Jr. “I really like to see that because that gives me another chance to get better at open field tackling. That’s the one thing I’ve been working on this season. I’m excited to play against him.”

Winston Jr. added it how much fun he had last Saturday defending Arizona State’s Eno Benjamin. While Benjamin finished with 149 yards on 29 carries, most of those yards came early on long runs and the Ducks adjusted to contained him very well on the outside and prevented him from scoring a touchdown.

Winston Jr. smiles when talking about the 122nd Civil War, because Jefferson isn’t the only player he’s excited to play against.

A Portland native, Winston Jr. is one of eight UO scholarship players from the state of Oregon. He has friends on Oregon State’s team that he considers brothers; cornerback Jaydon Grant (West Linn Highschool) and offensive lineman Blake Brandel (Central Catholic Highschool).

But those friendships will be pushed aside as Oregon tries to win the "most important game of the year” as UO coach Mario Cristobal referred to Friday’s contest. The Ducks have won nine of the last 10 meetings but the loss came in in Reser Stadium in Corvallis. Beavers 34-24 victory capped off a 4-8 UO season that led to the firing of its coaching staff.

Safe to say, Oregon wants to get over its road game woes, limit Jefferson and leave Corvallis victorious this season.

“Rivalry games are huge,” said Winston Jr. “Anything can happen.”

Oregon will be upset by Oregon State: Agree or disagree?

Oregon will be upset by Oregon State: Agree or disagree?

Oregon is treating the Civil War as "the most important game of the year", according to UO coach Mario Cristobal. 

The Beavers' (2-9, 1-7 Pac-12) offense is average and defense ranks last in the Pac-12 Conference in almost every stat. However, Oregon's (7-4, 4-4) road struggles cannot be ignored; the Ducks have lost to Washington State, Arizona and Utah. 

Oregon is a 16.5 favorite, but could an upset be brewing in Corvallis?