Quite literally as I type this the Oregon State game hangs in the COVID balance. So, to hell with intros, let’s get right into it!
Last Week Against WSU
Oregon State has had a rough start to this young season so far. The WSU game was supposed to be one of their winnable games and at one point they were trailing 28-7. Two fourth quarter TDs made the final score closer, 38-28. But, it was the first chance to see a Beaver offense with a lot of new faces. Gone is the 6-7 quarterback Jake Luton and standing in his place is Tristan Gebbia, the Nebraska transfer. He doesn’t have the big arm of Luton, but is more mobile and is a high IQ player. They also lost Isaiah Hodgins, one of the more talented receivers in the country, as well as TE Noah Togiai. Not to mention 3 senior starters on the OL have moved on, and the new unit allowed 4 sacks verse the Cougs. Brandon Kipper at LT and Nathan Eldrige at C are probably the two best, but struggled against Washington State.
But the story last week was inconsistency. On the one hand, they were 4-for-4 in two minute and red zone situations, all touchdowns. But their first three drives of the game, and first two of the second half, all ended with punts. RB Jermar Jefferson looked healthy and back to his freshman year form, showing his physical and balanced running. He ended as the highest PFF-graded player on offense. WR Trevon Bradford - after missing last year due to injury - showed enough promise to think he could be Gebbia’s go-to receiver. He finished the game with 7 catches, for 78 yards and a TD. The coaches clearly trust him as he was on the field for 82 of 86 total snaps.
So, What Does This Offense Do?
In classic Jonathan Smith fashion, they are balanced and multiple, with the attack revolving around their stud running back, Jermar Jefferson. He’ll get lots of carries, and will be targeted in the pass game quite a bit too - see five catches last week. They like the two TE sets, with Luke Musgrave and Teagan Quitoriano getting plenty of looks. Quitoriano is more of a blocker, while Musgrave can use his 6-6 frame and wide catch radius to haul in passes. Expect plenty of play action passes.
From reading practice reports and coaches comments, Smith and OC Brian Lindgren want to spread the ball around more this year. That came through last week with six players getting at least 3 receptions, and five reaching at least 50 yards. But, it’s not just limited to the skill players. QB/LB Jack Colletto from Camas High School will get a few carries as a bruising, downhill runner. He two took carries last week for 5 yards - far from eye popping numbers - but he’s used when the offense needs a few tough yards for a first down, so he’s not likely to get chunk yards.
Champ Flemings is an exciting player they like getting the ball to in an interesting places. He’s only 5-5 but has some speed and shiftiness to him - he’s also their return man - and they will look for him in short, intermediate, and deep routes. In particular they like to get him behind the secondary on play action when they go for the big play. He could also feature on reverses and jet sweeps. He was actually on the field last week for more snaps than Jefferson, so expect him to feature heavily in Oregon State’s plans.
What to Expect against UW
Unless facing a truly elite quarterback, I suspect Washington will do what most college teams do to each other - stop the run and dare them to pass. Oregon State’s most potent weapon is Jermar Jefferson, and he’s good. They will likely try to get him going as early as possible, while also using his running threat as “eye candy” to distract the Husky D. Jonathan Smith is a creative enough offensive mind to scheme some things open.
This is an offense that can get going, but operates on thin margins, especially along the offensive line. If they are firing on all cylinders, they will run effectively, and Tristan Gebbia will spread the ball out to a slew of receivers with varying skill sets. However, Washington has the talent and depth in the back end to match up one-on-one with Beaver receivers and should have the advantage there. Aside from perhaps Trevon Bradford, there isn’t a player who should dominate like Isaiah Hodgins a year ago. If last week is any indication, Gebbia is not afraid to throw over the middle and can get into a rhythm, going 16 of 19 during one stretch. With no picks last week, and 6 turnovers TOTAL in all of 2019, this beaver dam could be ready to burst against a fast and physical Washington defense. The challenge will be stopping Jermar Jefferson. Washington is loaded to the gills with talented DTs, but if the inside linebacker position hasn’t improved (it should with Eddie Ulofoshio), Jefferson could power the Beaver offense to a big-ish day.
How Many Points Will Oregon State Score vs UW?
This poll is closed
You idiot, you just jinxed the game!