this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
I started looking at the earlier content posted on the game and noticed it will be on FS1. I have the Dish 120+ Pack which does not include FS1 so I will have to upgrade for the day to get the game.
Just a heads up as you might want to see if you get FS1.
Feel free to post what cable/satellite packages include it. I believe it is in the Dish 200 pack.
Ok, this is a bit early but still welcome--actual football content and analysis in July, from SB Nation, with x's and o's and attempts at predicting Harbaugh's approach in the game.
"Some of the talent Hoke recruited might finally be experienced enough to find answers against the kinds of teams that have given Michigan fits, teams with perhaps lesser athletes but sounder systems. Utah has been that kind of team."
days until UM @ Utah!
Also: When does Fall camp start?
Says he's planning on visiting for the bbq unless his ACT conflicts with the date
Disclaimer: My previews of non Big 10 teams are based on limited viewing of games of said teams from 2014 plus extensive reading of local and national previews of that team. I might be wrong in my assessment any one team or any specific unit of that team. But that's clearly doubtful. (!!) No, on a serious note I enjoy people who comment who live locally to these teams or is an opposing fan - helps us get a better perspective so if you are one feel free to add to the discussion.
I also write this with the assumption Jake Rudock is the starting QB as the matrix of possibilities is too great trying to predict things with Shane Morris as a starter.
The other OSU is going to suck this year. And most likely will really suck. UM could probably not have lucked into a better Pac 12 opponent and aside from a few P5s ala Kansas could not have found an easier warm up game in the Power 5 conferences.
June you were tantalizing...but you are wrong here.
The Beavers are basically the MSU of forty years pre Dantonio. A plucky team with limited depth that every so often puts together a good squad that gives big brother some troubles here or there and catches the national attention in "rivalry week" but otherwise operates in anonymity in a podunk town (keep in mind Oregon has only become a big brother the past 12-15 years). [Yes that was all 1 sentence] This is not one of those plucky years.
The team lost a NFL talent senior QB (who had a decent - not great - year by Pac 12 QB standards) and loses 9 of 11 starters off a near Indiana level defense (80ish in both FEI and S&P+ last year).
To borrow Brian's style: "Worry about 2015 prospects for UM if we are in in a dogfight anywhere past the 3rd ... err make it 2nd quarter. " "Be happy if Shane Morris or Gentry gets the entire 4th quarter."
Everyone clenches their butt (rightfully so based on our history) when we go visit a Pac 12 team or even if one shows up in AA but peeps this is a bad team. I'd be much more concerned if any of the other Pac 12 cellar dwellers were on the schedule: Washington State makes you deal with crazy Mike
Riley Leach and his offense, Cal Bears staged a decent 1 year turnaround and have one of the best kept secrets in the country at QB, Colorado - despite winning 0 Pac 12 games - actually has a fun as hell offense that makes what UM rolled out last year look like something from 1930 (I saw about 3 of their games last year for some reason). My biggest fear for UM in 2015 is keeping up pace with high scoring teams - so all those teams would worry me much more than Oregon State, even if those squads are highly flawed on defense. On top of that is a new staff, new coordinators, everything - even if I actually like their staff.
I have this Oregon State team as the 2nd easiest game on the schedule ahead (behind?) of only UNLV and behind Rutgers (who actually has a RB and some DL to worry about). I project them to finish last in their division (North) and could possibly have 0 to 1 wins in the conf.
With what I consider a better team, Oregon State started 3-0 and proceeded to go 2-7 the rest of the way when playing "real teams". This was a very Rich Rod 2008-2009 type of season. Their season highlight was pulling a massive upset over Arizona State at home in November. Probably their 2nd best achievement was playing Utah tougher than UM did at home (sigh), falling in 2 OT. But both those things happened at home - bad teams usually really suck on the road and Oregon State sure did. They narrowly beat a 4 win Hawaii team and 2 win Colorado team on the road but when playing anyone with a heartbeat this is what happened:
- @USC Lost 35-10
- @Stanford Lost 38-14
- @Washington Lost 37-14
They were a very bad road team and just an awful defense altogether - in their other 5 conf games they gave up 31, 29, 45, 39, 27, 47.
And they've lost 9 starters from that super cool defense. If UM cannot find a way to score 30ish on this squad it's going to be a long year.
The offense was basically Sean Mannion and his 3100 yds, 62% completion rate, 15 TD and 8 INT. The rush offense was ranked 110th in the nation. This was the lowest scoring offense in the Pac 12 at @ 25.7 ppg. Granted in the Big 10 that would make them the 5th best offense but I digress.
Mike Riley left for Nebraska and Gary Andersen arrived. Andersen is a good coach and he brought over Utah's DC (Kalani Sitake) who is also a good coach (who if he can turn around OSU's defense should be a head coach somewhere within 4 years). Unfortunately the talent is the talent and this is a true turnaround - it's going to take a few years.
Oregon State was the only team to not land a player on any of the first, second, or third teams when Athlon's released their preseason All PAC teams last month.
Along with 9 starters leaving from the defense, the best offensive players - QB Sean Mannion graduated. His backup decided to transfer. Leaving Oregon State to start one of 2 RS freshman or an unheralded true freshman. The UM game will only be career game 2 for whomever is a starter. The Beavers are also changing systems on offense from pro style to spread concepts - we remember how that worked out here in 2008.
They do return 9 starters from a quite pedestrian offense (50s to 70s in FEI, S&P+) however - but the most important position is a black hole at this point. They do return their leading rusher who plays football when not acting in Marvel movies - Storm Barrs Woods who is a SR and 3 year starter (766 yards, 6.3 yards per carry). #2 rusher Terron Ward graduated. I assume it's going to be Woods or bust for the Beavers offense to begin the year - and unless a QB really surges ... that may be the offense for the year. Andersen likes to run as does their new OC Dave Baldwin (via Utah State, formerly of Michigan State). I'd expect near 30 carries out of Woods vs UM as they try to protect that QB. Junior RB Chris Brown (NTCB) looks to be the primary guy to spell Woods as he got some nice spring buzz, and they also got in a JUCO transfer Tim Cook (NTTC).
JR Victor Bolden is a Gallon sized (5'9, 175 lb) flanker WR who had 800 yards on 72 catches (2/3rds of Mannion's passes last year!) and near TE sized (6'4, 235 lb) Jordan Villamin contributed 35 catches for nearly 600 yards; the latter appeared to be their big play man. So they do have some talent at WR - but will anyone get them the ball? Senior TE Caleb Smith is ok - 20 catches, 200 yards.
The OL returns a bunch but Football Outsiders ranked them 71st in the nation in "Adjusted Line Yards" - their measurement of OLs. UM was 50th and an injury wrecked BYU 18th by comparison. OSU gave up 36 sacks last year - tied for 102nd in the FBS.
As for the defense... welp. 9 starters gone including the top 6 leading tacklers. DT Lavonte Brunett (4.5 sacks) seems to the best returning player. CB Larry Scott also seems decent. Sitake runs a "hybrid" 3-4 so there is a transition from a traditional 4-3 to deal with as well.
OSU returns a solid PK but lost its punter and main return man.
This is the Opposite of Taysom Hill
Luke Del Rio had 18 attempts as a QB in 2014. He decided to not stick around. So the options at QB are 2 redshirt freshmen - Nick Mitchell or Marcus McMaryion or true freshman Seth Collins. Mitchell and McMaryion are your generic 800 to 1000th ranked 3 star type prospects. Collins was a 2 star. It seems like early enrollee Collins is the current presumed leader as he is the 1 QB who was recruited for this new system. Good luck with that.
Collins was a lightly recruited athlete who had committed to San Jose State before Andersen came calling. Once offered, he jumped on the chance right away and made it to Corvallis in time for spring camp. Once there, his athleticism, play-making instinct and "hair-on-fire" demeanor quickly resulted in him staking out the lead for the QB competition. Collins is hardly a finished product and will struggle against PAC 12 defenses to be sure. If Collins is the guy for Gary Andersen, I'd interpret that as an investment in the future kind of decision with this season being somewhat of a "throw away" on offense.
Of the 2 RS FR, McMaryion is more of the "spread guy".
Hopefully this is a coming out party for the front 7 at least in the pash rush department.
Analysis of Beaver Defense
UM rush off v OSU rush def - Adv: UM. Just nearly impossible to guage the Oregon State defense - while down the road I expect the Beavers to have a good defense with the combo of Andersen and Sitake this is not down the road - this is now. Should be a great game for UM to work on their run game after what will be a very tough Utah defense in week 1.
UM pass off v OSU pass def - Adv: UM. See comment above - Rudock is a 3 year starter and will be going against a bunch of green defensive players. One hopes one of the secondary WR guys gets some confidence this game and begins a breakout season to join Butt and Darboh as actual threats.
OSU rush off v UM rush def - Adv: Wash. If UM can limit the run game this should be a very ugly score line. That said I do think Woods does get his yards even as the Beavers break in a new playbook. UM rarely truly stuffs a good RB in MSU fashion - usually they can limit them to a good degree. It also helps when your HC benches a star RB (thanks Kevin Wilson). I don't expect any benching of Woods.
OSU pass off v UM pass def - Adv: UM. We have zero intelligence on the Beavers QBs as they haven't played a minute of a real game. Coming into the Big House in game 2 of their careers I don't expect much - Andersen and Baldwin will probably try to run nearly every 1st down and try to keep their QB in 2nd and 6 and 3rd and 3 situations. One danger zone is sleeping on Funchess sized Villamin - when your whole day is spent crowding the line you can fall into a lull and you have to assume OSU tries to throw over the defense a few times.
UM should win and win big. Even with all our questions on offense. The Beavers are an offense whose strength (running) plays into UM's perceived defensive strength. They look like they will probably be starting a true freshman in his 2nd game. And if not a RS FR who has never played. The returning offensive starters must learn a whole new offensive system and UM fans will remember how ugly that looked in 2008 at times. The defense should be Indiana-ish. Oregon State will be coming off a game hosting awful Weber State (2-10 last year) - that might be their highlight of the year with the Pac 12 going to a 9 game schedule. The Beavers should be stuffed in AA.