Where’s the defense?!
Sure, they lost Markus Wheaton and Jordan Poyer to the NFL, but the 2013 Oregon State Beavers are still a team filled with depth and talent. So why is it that in their season opener—at home—they manage to lose to an FCS opponent.
And this wasn’t just a loss, it was a beatdown.
Yes, OSU scored a lot of points. And it was an incredibly close game. But when your opponent scores on every drive except one, racks up over 600 yards of offense and scores 49 points on your home turf, something is seriously wrong.
If we can say anything good about this game it’s the offense. Sean Mannion looked comfortable under center, passing for over 4oo yards with three touchdowns. Not to mention Brandin Cooks‘ monster 196 yards receiving on 13 catches.
So now we turn to the problem, which was obviously the defense.
There’s a lot of new faces starting on that side of the ball, including two JUCO transfers at defensive tackle, Joel Skotte at middle linebacker and Sean Martin starting opposite Rashaad Reynolds at corner.
Up front the Beavers played okay. Edwin Delva and Siale Hautau—they new DTs—held their own. Scott Crichton had a fairly quiet game, while Dylan Wynn had some disruption from time-to-time.
If you take away Eagle’s QB Vernon Adams’ 107 rushing yards, Eastern Washington only managed 70 on the ground.
Down field the Beavs were beatable at times, but things could have been worse. Given how much time Adams was giving himself, the corners did the best they could.
If the Beavers played well at the line and down field, that means they fell apart in the middle of the field.
Which was truly the case in this one. The linebacker corp was God awful, with Adams dominating the flats. If he wasn’t throwing short passes across the middle of the field, he was tucking-and-running for huge gains.
Of course senior OLB Michael Doctor had a great game, posting 11 tackles and two sacks. But he was the only standout.
With OLB D.J. Alexander out with a knee injury OSU leaned on Jabral Johnson to hold his own opposite Doctor. The junior had a strong first half, but was overall inconsistent.
The middle of the field was an absolute mess, with Skotte playing dazed and confused. While the safeties also played an okay game, things could have been much better.
Outside of the individual players, the Beavs lacked the intangibles in this one.
They played with no physicality. There was little energy on defense. The fundamentals were out the door, with guys missing tackles and taking bad angles. Everything that could go wrong did.
With that said, let’s not take anything away from Eastern Washington. Adams had an unreal performance, passing for 411 yards while rushing for 107.
He was an absolute surgeon, dissecting the Beavers on every play.
But this was not a defensive effort indicative of the talent on this team. With names like Crichton and Doctor, this group’s nucleus is as good as it gets. Things can get better.
If they will has yet to be seen, but the Beavers will get another chance next Saturday to set the story straight when Hawaii rolls into town.
It should be an easy win for Oregon State, but at this point nothing is certain.