Here’s what we learned in our Q&A:
UWDP: Junior QB Tristan Gebbia got off to a rocky start last week vs WSU, completing just one pass and taking two sacks in the first quarter. How would you evaluate his play overall? Where does he need to get better?
Travis Johannes: In the early stages of the game last week his timing looked way off, though it improved substantially as the game went on. I think overall his play was alright, but he’s going to have to play like he did in the second half for this team to have a chance.
The biggest thing will be improving his pocket awareness and having a quicker release, cause the O-Line did not give him much to work with.
UWDP: How would you assess the offensive line play in the running game? Jermar Jefferson was pretty much a one-man show for the Beavers with 21 of the 24 OSU carries (Jefferson also added five catches). Will this be the case again Saturday night? Who else do the Beavers have to carry the ball?
Travis Johannes: Yea, the offensive line showed it’s inexperience last week and it really really hurt the offense in both the passing game and the running game. Jefferson is likely going to get the bulk of the carries as we move forward, but I would expect BJ Baylor to get a little more run than he did last week.
UWDP: Gebbia spread the ball around last week. Five Beavers had at least four catches and over 50 yards. Do you see anyone emerging as the go-to receiver? Who are the primary deep and possession targets in the passing game?
Travis Johannes: We knew that the departure of Isaiah Hodgins was going to change the WR dynamics and force Gebbia to find other receivers. If I had to pick a go to guy it would probably end up as Trevon Bradford, but I could see tight end Luke Musgrave emerging as a consistent short yardage target.
UWDP: Oregon State finished 105th in scoring defense nationally and 108th in total defense a year ago. Last week they gave up 229 yards rushing to Washington State. How was the play of the defense overall in your opinion? Who can help superstar LB Hamilcar Rashed Jr. make this defense better?
Travis Johannes: You ever see the movie Groundhog Day? Cause that’s what it feels like watching OSU’s defense the past few years.
I keep thinking they are going to take the next step and, well... they haven’t. The biggest weakness would have to be the defensive line play. They were not able to get any pressure in the Wazzu backfield or open any lanes for Hamilcar to make some noise.
Unfortunately there is not a whole lot of depth at the D-line position, so I’m not sure there is any substantial improvement on the way.
UWDP: The Beavers are 7-18 since Jonathan Smith took over, not bad considering his first season was a 2-10 campaign. Is Smith winning over the fanbase, or at least providing hope that he’s the right guy?
Travis Johannes: Smith has won over the fanbase and there was a lot of hope coming into this year. Last week definitely diminished that some, but if they can right the ship in the coming weeks and have a decent year,(~3 wins) I think people will chalk this season up as a win in the wild circumstances of 2020.
UWDP: Thoughts for Saturday Night?
Travis Johannes: For me, it’ll be ignorant bliss, cause I won’t be able to watch. For the Beavs, I honestly don’t have a whole lot of hope. But you know, 2020 is weird as hell, so who knows.
Thanks Travis. For more on the Beavers, be sure to check out Building the Dam.