Washington State Notes: Oregon State Earned the Respect of the Cougs | Washington State University


Washington State coach Nick Rolovich respects Jonathan Smith’s persistence and Oregon State’s patience.

The Beavers have kept Smith, the boss of their football program, on course.

After three seasons of program development, this is paying off.

“(Smith) deserves a ton of credit for staying consistent – the people, the philosophy, the identity,” Rolovich said Wednesday after a rainy training session at Gesa Field.

OSU (4-1, 2-0) is one of three Pac-12 teams with an unblemished conference record. The Beavers are the only ones in possession of first place in the Pac-12 North for the first time in 11 years since the conference split into two divisions.

They will visit Pullman on Saturday to take on the Cougs, who will celebrate Reunion Weekend. OSU haven’t beaten WSU in their last seven tries, since 2013.

This year, the Castors are “very good,” Rolovich said – probably better than they’ve ever been in the past seven seasons.

“It’s a credit to (Smith) and these staff and these players that they built it where it is,” Rolovich said. “They trust.”

The Beavers appeared to “respect their identity” after their first game this year, Rolovich noted.

Their offensive line is as strong as any in the Pac-12, their strong tight ends are happy to block, and their running back corps has been more productive than any other in the conference.

OSU, on a streak of four consecutive victories, throws the ball on 62% of its snaps. His powerful offense racked up a total of 564 yards on 101 carries in the Beavers’ last two wins – against traditional Pac-12 heavyweights USC and Washington. OSU hadn’t beaten the Trojans in 11 years, and it had been 10 years since the Beavers had beaten the Huskies.

“When you look at their loss to Purdue, I think after that they really focused and decided to be who they are, and just got better and better,” Rolovich said.

The Beavers led the ball 25 times at the lowest of the season in their 30-21 loss to the Boilermakers in Week 1.

“They work really well together,” Rolovich said. “There is a lot of selflessness on the part of this team. There are a lot of big body types on the close end or wide catcher who take pride in doing their job, and that doesn’t always mean having the ball.

The Beavers rank first in the Pac-12 and 15th in the FBS in rushing yards per game (229.2). Their offense gains 6.65 yards per play (25th nationally). Three years ago, they ranked in the bottom third of the FBS in most offensive stat categories.

OSU has presented a more balanced attack in recent seasons, especially when Idaho transfer with a gun Jake Luton was under center (2018-19). Smith and OSU offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren – a former Idaho Vandals quarterback (2001-03) – received praise for training the team’s strengths, identifying where the talent is and having it. used.

They’ve found the most success this season relying on dynamic junior running back BJ Baylor, so they keep coming back to him. Baylor totaled 533 yards and nine scores on 81 carries.

“We are handling the ball well. We’re not trying to win the stats deal, we’re trying to win the game, ”Smith said earlier this week in response to a question about his failed passing game against Washington.

Second-year Beavers quarterback Chance Nolan completed 7 of 15 passes for 48 yards against UW.

Former OSU quarterback and tree-focused offense coach Chris Petersen, Smith taught QBs at Boise State in the early 2010s before a productive four-year stint as Washington’s offensive coordinator. Despite the 9-22 record in Smith’s first three seasons at Corvallis, the Oregon State offense has made statistical progress year on year and appears to be nearing its peak.

OSU has the best offense in the Pac-12 with 36 points per game. Critical to their success, the Beavers scored touchdowns on 18 of 23 trips to the red zone and converted their third downs with a 52% better clip of the conference.

“I have always been impressed with their knowledge of the situation,” Rolovich said.

“They have a bunch of good offensive-minded coaches on this staff. The running backs are talented, the O line plays together. It’s not a team where you can say, ‘Oh, look, there’s weakness. “”

While the Beavers’ offense garnered most of the attention, the defense quietly got off to a remarkable start. OSU is 19th nationally in rushing defense (94.4 yards per game) and ranks among the top 50 defensive scorers with 21.4 points per game.

“The offense is very good, but I think they are tightening it up defensively as well this year,” Rolovich said. “They are very physical up front. They are very connected. They understand very well what each of their roles in defense is.

The OSU program has not had to meet external expectations for nearly a decade. Smith introduced a slogan to help the Beavers stay on track as eyes turn to Corvallis: “Not finished yet. “

“I think we’re a confident group who understand how difficult it is to win,” said Smith. “We’re very mature and experienced enough to know we have a long way to go, and each victory sets you up for bigger games as the season progresses.”

Of Laura named starting QB for the rest of the season

Rolovich is ready to end the conversation about quarterback uncertainty. Barring injury, he will stay with Laura’s Jayden for the remainder of the season.

“I’m going headlong, grinding everyday,” Laura said Tuesday, addressing the news that he had been cemented as a WSU starter. “I still have to prove myself to everyone. It’s not like I’m going to take (a day) off, be satisfied.

After a knee injury that left her sidelined the week before in Utah, de Laura completed 25 of 41 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns against two picks in the Cougars’ 21-6 triumph at Cal on the weekend. latest.

When asked to rate her performance, de Laura said she was “not near where I should be”. De Laura generally tries to escape the pocket more often than she has in Berkeley. He said his rush attempts were limited because he wanted to avoid any potential damage to his knee.

“Take it day to day, kind of keep me for the game, work on making shots in the pocket,” he said Tuesday.

De Laura scored 17 yards on four carries, including a 15-yard scrimmage away on a late-game third down that helped secure the victory. He came into play with 88 yards in 17 attempts.

“I didn’t notice any limitation in the way (Laura’s) played due to her injury,” Rolovich said. “I thought he was really mentally connected.”

The WSU offensive remains in search of coherence.

The Cougars have shown flashes of progress over the past two weeks, but have been silent for extended periods in the second half of both games.

“We can’t stay asleep for a little while,” Rolovich said.

In the first half against Cal, the Cougars compiled 204 of their 312 yards – their best one-game yardage in three Pac-12 games – and converted 6 of 9 third downs. WSU finished 7 of 15 in the third downs.

“When we’re good on the third try, we play better,” Rolovich said. “The differences between the first and second half were pretty big on our side in the last game.”

Rolovich was looking for more explosiveness in his run-and-shoot attack, so he asked Laura for some extra deep shots and added games, installing “new looks, some new wrinkles.”

“Different groups of staff, formations, a few moves, just a little bit of disguise (the offense).”

The Cougars are still evaluating an offensive line rotation that has been in use since week two. Junior Cade Beresford and Ma’ake Fifita in second year alternate right guard apparently by the drive. Sophomore Konner Gomness started center, and All-Pac-12 senior preseason pick Brian Greene – WSU’s starting center in Week 1 who missed three games due to injury – works at the left guard. Veteran tackle Liam Ryan also had some time down center.

Rolovich established the rotation “mainly because Ma’ake was making so many improvements. It can help in several places, keep guys cooler. … There is still a little mixing. Brian can play center, goalie. Konner can play center and tackle. Ma’ake can play guard and tackle.

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