jonathan smith

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Coach Smith has a lot of respect for his former program

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Coach Smith has a lot of respect for his former program

Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith knows Friday’s game will be a challenge, and he’s ready.

The Beavers (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12) host the Washington Huskies (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12) on Friday night in Reser Stadium. 

Before Oregon State, Smith coached at Washington as their offensive coordinator from 2014-2017. He would leave to accept the head coaching job at his alma mater.

Smith previewed the Huskies at his weekly press conference earlier this week.

Got a big time challenge coming in Friday night. Got a ton of respect for this program, these coaches, players, and they’re good...Their last two games, they were toe-to-toe with the best two teams in this league, got the lead in the second half, obviously didn’t go their way but we know exactly what’s coming in here, a big time challenge.

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Beavers podcast below.

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Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Jonathan Smith's 'mental energy' is on wins, not bowl games

Talkin' Beavers Podcast: Jonathan Smith's 'mental energy' is on wins, not bowl games

Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith isn't letting the Beavers' (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12) mental energy wander to the two wins needed to be bowl eligible.

Talkin' Beavers host Nigel Burton breaks down the big 56-38 OSU win over Arizona last Saturday in the Beaver Report Card, and looks ahead to the Friday night matchup with Washington (5-4, 2-4 Pac-12). Plus our Beavers Insider Ron Callan has an update on how the other fall sports are performing for Beaver Nation, including an interview with Beaver women's basketball junior guard Aleah Goodman.

Listen to the full podcast below:

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Looking ahead to a bowl game “a total waste of time” says Beavers coach Jonathan Smith

Looking ahead to a bowl game “a total waste of time” says Beavers coach Jonathan Smith

 

Entering their second bye, some Beavers fans saw a 3-4 record and started fantasizing about making their first bowl game since 2013. 

Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith will not let his team do the same.

“I think it’s a total waste of time to be thinking about what could, that and the other. We know we have an opportunity this Saturday to play a game. We win this game and that will continue on. That’s really the focus.”

Smith goes on to say that making a bowl game would be “awesome” but when teams start looking ahead is where problems begin to arise. 

The team has been competitive in every game besides one and are a few plays away from being 5-2. There’s reason for optimism in the fanbase, but Oregon State’s focus is on Arizona (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12) this week.

“The only thing we control...is right in front of us this Saturday and that’s been the focus, the mantra.”

The Beavers travel to Tucson, AZ in pursuit of their first 0.500 record this late into the season since 2014. Their contest against the Wildcats kicks off at 1:30pm.

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Coach Smith on “explosive” Khalil Tate and Arizona’s multiple QB system

Coach Smith on “explosive” Khalil Tate and Arizona’s multiple QB system

 

The Oregon State Beavers (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) travel to Tucson, AZ in search of being 0.500 this late into the season for the first time since 2014. 

But they’ll have their hands full with Arizona (4-4, 2-3 Pac-12) and their “explosive” quarterback Khalil Tate. Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith detailed his big play ability during Monday’s press conference.

“I watched the tape against Stanford. The guy ripped off, like a 60-yard touchdown run. The guy’s [an] explosive player.”

However, Arizona has been playing multiple quarterbacks this season due to Tate’s struggles. As a result, true freshman Grant Gunnell has seen inconsistent playing time. However, he completed all seven of his pass attempts against Stanford including one touchdown pass. 

Gunnel was a pro-style quarterback coming out of high school while Tate is a dual threat option, and the Beavers will need to prepare for both.

“We’re gonna watch the tape...I think it’s just hard to make wholesale changes in 6 day’s span. We’re planning on seeing what they’ve put on tape, and be ready to make some adjustments if it’s different in the first quarter.”

Smith later discussed how different the offenses will look depending on the quarterback in the game.

“They’re playing two quarterbacks now, which do have two different skill sets. The offense isn’t totally different when the other guy’s in, but they can score in bunches. You just look at their stats and their tape, and they present some problems.”

Oregon State’s game against Arizona kicks off at 1:30pm on Saturday in Tucson, AZ.

You can watch Smith’s full answers in the video above.

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Coach Smith breaks down Cal and their "tough" defense

Coach Smith breaks down Cal and their "tough" defense

 

The Oregon State Beavers (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12) travel to Berkeley to play the California Golden Bears (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) at 11:30am on Saturday.

The Beavers are coming off a demoralizing 52-7 loss at home to the Utah Utes while a well rested Cal comes off a bye. At his press conference, Coach Smith discussed the Beavers’ opponent and more specifically their stout defense. 

“They’ve got a blitz package that is really sound and tough to always recognize. They do a great job in their disguise.”

You can hear this full answer in the video above.

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Beavers preview "really, really good" Utah

Beavers preview "really, really good" Utah

 

After leaving the Rose Bowl with a win, the Oregon State Beavers (2-3, 1-1 Pac-12) are focused on a tough opponent coming to Reser Stadium: No. 15 Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12).

“They’re great. They’re really, really good.” said starting quarterback and reigning College Football Performance Awards National Player of the Week, Jake Luton. “It’s definitely going to be a challenge but we’re a physical team just like them, and we can make plays. So, we’ll be ready to go.”

Utah has among the best defensive units in the conference including a Pac-12 leading rushing defense (53.8 yards per game) that will be going head to head with an effective rushing attack for Oregon State. Running back Artavis Pierce, who is second in the conference at 7.5 yards per carry and 564 rushing yards, believes consistency and execution is the key to beating the Utes.

“We just have to go out there and play four quarter football...even though they’re a good opponent we need to believe in ourselves that we can keep up with a great team like this and keep executing so we can get a win.”

But the Utes field a complete defense, including a dangerous secondary. During his interview on the Talkin Beavers podcast, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins said that Utah’s secondary is among the best in the conference: “They are very talented.” 

The message from the coaches seems to emphasize playing a complete game and competing:“Go out there [and] play physical, that’s going to be a big part of it, they’re a physical team and finish every play because they don’t take reps off.” said offensive lineman Brandon Kipper. 

Kipper went on to say that coaches will have a great gameplan ready but it’s up to the players to execute it. If the Beavers can put together a complete game for the second consecutive weekend, they may be able to come away with another victory.  

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Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith scouts ahead to Utah

Oregon State Coach Jonathan Smith scouts ahead to Utah

Coach Jonathan Smith and the Oregon State Beavers are coming off a big Pac-12 win over UCLA last weekend and are now in full preparation mode for a homecoming weekend game vs. Utah. 

Utah is 4-1 on the season thus far and 1-1 in conference play. 

Offensively, Utah has diversity in what the like to do as Coach Smith describes:

The scheme...it's not just one formation and they run the same stuff. You always get some unique things. 

You can watch the entire clip from Coach Smith above as he breaks down the upcoming game vs. Utah. 

Instant Analysis: Oregon State prevails over UCLA

Instant Analysis: Oregon State prevails over UCLA

Oregon State (2-3, 1-1 Pac-12) defeated the UCLA Bruins (1-5, 1-2 Pac-12) by a score of 48-31 in front of 48,532 in the Rose Bowl.  

The Beavers never trailed and earned their first conference win of the season. It is Jonathan Smith’s second career conference victory as Oregon State head coach. 

Here are some takeaways from the game:

1. A Perfect Start 

Oregon State held a 21-0 lead after only 6:01 minutes of play. Luton had two touchdown passes, Pierce ran all over UCLA, the defense stopped the Bruins on fourth down and the Beavers even recovered a dropkick kickoff taking advantage of a UCLA penalty. The Beavers came out as the aggressor and dominated the line of scrimmage while digging a hole for UCLA to climb out of. 

2. Running the ball early is key

To get that early lead, the Beavs repeatedly utilized the run game to move the chains. With Jermar Jefferson battling an ankle injury, Artavis Pierce got the start in his place. He entered the contest leading the Pac-12 in yards per carry at 8.4. He will leave Pasadena with that distinction in tact. His 53 yard run in the second quarter will stand out on the stat sheet, but he ran well past the line of scrimmage on the majority of his carries. When the Beavers can run the ball this effectively, it forces the defense to put more men near the line of scrimmage which opens up the passing game. 

3. Isaiah Hodgins is a cheatcode 

Isaiah Hodgins entered Saturday’s contest leading the Pac-12 in receiving yards, yards per game, and receptions per game. It didn’t take long for him to leave where he left off. Hodgins had two touchdowns in the first half to lead the Beavers to a 27-7 lead following his second score. 

If the Beavers need a play, Hodgins will deliver. For his first score, Luton threw a fade in the end zone where Hodgins' size was no match for the defender. In the third quarter, in response to a UCLA kickoff return for a touchdown, Hodgins came down with an acrobatic sideline catch to move the chains. He’d cap off that drive with his third touchdown of the night. 

Having a player like Hodgins, who is arguably the best receiver in the Pac-12, allows the Oregon State offense to flourish despite playing at a talent disadvantage, which they do in most conference games. The Beavers had better utilize him constantly while they can because he may be playing on Sundays this time next year.

4. Smith is leading real progress

A week following a heartbreaking loss to the Stanford Cardinal at home, Smith preached that his team was making progress when asked what it takes for a team to learn how to win. The Beavers backed up that claim today. 

From the first snap, the Beavers played with tenacity that resulted in dominating the Bruins on the road. The Beavers could have rolled over away from home, and previous teams may have done just that, but this team has worked hard and bought into the process implemented by Smith and his staff. 

In just 17 games, Smith has an efficient offense that can score frequently and a defense that has improved massively from the end of the Gary Andersen era. Showings like tonight act as proof that progress is being made and makes Oregon State a more attractive playing destination for potential recruits. If the Beavs can translate progress showed today to landing some more talented recruits, then a bowl game is only a matter of time. 

 

Coach Smith looks at what challenges UCLA presents to the Oregon State Beavers

Coach Smith looks at what challenges UCLA presents to the Oregon State Beavers


The Oregon State Beavers (1-3, 0-1) travel to Pascendena, CA to play the UCLA Bruins (1-4, 1-1) at 6 pm this Saturday. 

On the opposite sideline will be a familiar foe for Beaver fans: former Oregon Coach Chip Kelly.

He coached the Ducks to two BCS bowl victories and four appearances before leaving for the NFL.

He also never lost a Civil War. Beaver fans would love a victory over Kelly, but getting one will be difficult. 

“They’re dangerous offensively,” said Smith. “They have the potential to score 60 points.” 

Smith thinks his defense has shown progress in his second year as head football coach, but they will need to prove it against Kelly and the Bruins.

UCLA’s offense has struggled at times (9th in yards per game in the Pac-12), but it also put up 50 in the second half against a ranked Washington State team. 

However, Kelly’s offense has appeared different than his Oregon days. He has employed much more multiple tight end sets and does not push the pace as frequently. Kelly has stated he is not running his Oregon offense this year because “that was 2012.” 

[MORE OSU: Beavs alumni on the current team: "A marathon, not a sprint" ]

When asked about how Kelly’s offense has changed from his Oregon days to his current tenure, Smith responded Kelly “knows some offense and has been doing it for a long time”.

Smith discussed how he has studied Kelly’s offense for a long time and still “steals a scheme or two from them."

But the potency of the Bruins’ offense will depend on the health of quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson after suffering an ankle injury in a loss at Arizona last Saturday. Smith doesn’t believe the Beavers will know if he can play until game time, so they will prepare for both Robinsin and his backup, Austin Burton. 

We will need to wait until Saturday for the result, but Oregon State is not taking the Bruins lightly. 

Four takeaways after the Oregon State Beavers 1-3 start

Four takeaways after the Oregon State Beavers 1-3 start

1. The Beavers could very easily be 3-1

I have to admit that Saturday's Oregon State football game was a little bizarre. For the first time that anyone could remember, a game at Reser Stadium was delayed because of lightning. It turns out the delay was just 15 minutes but the Band's pregame show and National Anthem performance were scratched. Add to it, the heartbreaking 31-28 loss to the Cardinal was so similar to the 31-28 loss to Hawaii.

In Hawaii, the Beavers scored 28 first half points and then were held scoreless in the second half at Aloha Stadium. In the Stanford game....the Beavers were shutout in the first half and then scored 28 points in the second half. Key mistakes cost the Beavers in both games that were winnable  So, after four games the Beavers sit at 1-3, but they very easily be 3-1. That, no doubt, is frustrating for the coaches, players and Beaver Nation.

2. Special teams are not special so far

Special team gaffs really hurt Oregon State against Stanford. After scoring four touchdowns on their last four possessions, the Beavers had tied the game at 28-28. With 1:55 to go in the contest, overtime was on the horizon. But, Connor Washington fielded a short kick and returned it to midfield. Oregon State's containment broke down and gave Stanford excellent field position. After the game, Coach Jonathan Smith told me:

I gotta watch the tape but it looked like we lost containment and obviously it was a huge factor in the game. We were 0 for 2 on Field Goal attempts and had one blocked and that was the difference in the game.

Add to it, a personal foul which cancelled a Stanford field goal and led to a trick play touchdown for the Cardinal, the Beavers dug themselves a 28-14 hole that they did dig themselves out of, but, it was another special teams mistake was critical.

Overall, I think the special teams play has been pretty good, but, to break through and win they can't make critical mistakes at key moments in the game.

3. The defense is so much better

The losses are hard to take especially when you play well enough to win. Stats can lie, at times, but, you have to like the way the Oregon State defense is trending.

Stanford had 353 total yards.

They averaged 3.2 yards per rush.

That is half of what the Beavers gave up last season. That is a real improvement. 

Hamilcar Rashed Jr. was causing Stanford headaches all game long and added eight tackles, two sacks, and two more tackles for loss. 

He told me after the game:

It is definitely frustrating to work so hard to get a win and then stuff doesn't go your way. We gotta pay attention to the little things, the little details and all of the coachable moments that we had. We just gotta follow through and get that win, it's as simple as that.

4. Jake Luton had another solid performance

You can't blame Jake Luton for the loss to Stanford. I do believe he didn't play well in the second half against Hawaii, but, this performance against the Cardinal was impressive.

27 of 39 for 337 yards and a touchdown pass to Isaiah Hodgins. Luton loves that connection. Hodgins was outstanding with 10 receptions for 162 yards and that tremendous one-handed catch.

Jonathan Smith was pleased with Luton's performance which also included 9 for 13 on third down conversions. Smith praised Luton in his conversation with me after the game:

I thought he battled and that was what I really appreciated. In the first half it wasn't tremendous offensively. Protection was a little shaky. He comes back and keeps on going. He saw the field real well all night long. He made some big time throws in the second half to get us back in it.

Learning how to win. That is a big challenge for the Beavers. Improving on the little things that aren't quite in line yet. Playing a solid four quarters. You have to admit they are playing mistake free football. No interceptions and no fumbles once again, despite a wet football at times against Stanford.

Up Next:

The Beavers head to the Rose Bowl and face a UCLA Bruins team that is scuffling after a 20-17 loss to Arizona. The Bruins sit at 1-4. It's another game the Beavers have a chance to win. Let's see if the little things will be addressed and they can get that breakthrough win they want and need.