Storm Woods: We're Family, Carry Each Other
No, I'm not talking about firing coaches. That's not what needs to be done in Corvallis. But I do believe some re-thinking has to be done in terms of what's going on with the Oregon State Beavers.
The Beavers went into Saturday's game without a full-contact scrimmage since last spring. Yes, without any live hitting. Without its defensive team getting a chance to test its skill shedding blockers, tackling real runners and experiencing the general bumping and grinding that it takes to get ready to play football.
Too thin, they said. Too many injuries and short of players -- especially up front, where Oregon State did not want to take a chance on losing any more players to injury. And really -- that's got to change. First off, this isn't the first time we've heard them bemoaning a lack of depth. It was a similar story last season. My goodness -- how does this happen to a Pac-12 program? You have to have enough players so you can get ready for a season. This is a team with 18 returning starters from last season and plenty of other veteran players.
Are the non-contact practices too difficult -- so much so they cause non-contact injuries? Is there are a problem in the strength and conditioning regimen? Are the coaches using enough players in games so that depth is developed behind the starting lineup? Is there a failure of some sort in the recruiting pipeline so that not enough players at certain positions are being recruited?
I have no idea. But I do know this has got to change. There must be a way to get a squad healthy and strong enough to get some physical contact prior to the opening game of the season. Just about every other football team in the world is able to pull that off.
Is this, by the way, any excuse for a Pac-12 team giving up 49 points to a Big Sky team? No, it isn't. But it's the best I can do.
And by the way, Eastern Washington, as I mentioned on Twitter prior to the game, is a very good football team. It's on a par with North Dakota State, another FCS powerhouse that opened with an upset of Kansas State. The Beavers are going to have to change one more thing, quite obviously -- if they're going to open against a team from a lower division, do what they did last season and what the Ducks did this year: find arguably the worst team at that level.