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Q+A with Building The Dam

Well, with that destruction of ASU behind us, now we can look ahead to the next game on our schedule, Oregon State.  Everybody knows the story by now.  OSU is the Rudy of the Pac10.  Everybody overlooks them and yet year in and year out they are competing for the Pac10.  Honestly, Mike Riley has done better in the Pac10 over the last 5 years than Jeff Tedford and our beloved Golden Bears have.  It pains me to say that, but it is the honest truth. 

It is definitely going to be a difficult game this week.  Fortunately, we have a great SBN counterpart up north in Building The Dam. We sent a bunch of questions up to AndyPanda and his beaverboys and they got back to us with the information.  They help break down this Oregon State squad, so we can see what to expect this Saturday.....besides yet another emotionally debilitating defeat.  Is there any other kind with Oregon State?

Thanks to AndyPanda and BuildingTheDam for their answers.  You can check out their answers to our questions over there. GO BEARS!

1. Who's stepping up in the place of James Rodgers on offense and on special teams?

Marcus Wheaton, on both offense and special teams, has and will need to. Wheaton suffered from drops and also a sore knee against Washington, which was one of many contributing problems. The bye week came at a good time for him, allowing him to heal up and also further fine tune his routes. Jordan Poyer was already a factor on special teams, but will need to continue to improve his productivity as well.

2. Pac10 midterm exam - how do you grade Ryan Katz?

B-. He was making steady progress, adding things to his game each week, until the Washington game. A combination of having been surprisingly productive with his running against Arizona, and a sense of having to make up for the absence of James Rodgers led to some over-aggressive decisions in Seattle. The biggest, loudest opposing crowd he has faced yet might have been a factor as well, as he made a number of un-forced errors. Despite that, Katz is still all and more that could have been expected at this point in his first year starting, and the Beavers are right about where we expected to be half way thru the season.

3. Despite of starting Stephen Paea, one of the best DT in the Pac10, the Beavers seem to struggle against the run. What's the gameplan to stop Shane Vereen, who grinds out for yardage instead of flying over defenders for TDs like his best friend Jahvid?

Expecting double and triple teams on every down against Paea, Oregon St. defensive coordinator Mark Banker will do what he has done, using linebackers in gaps to try to guess right at least some of the time, and bottle up Vereen in traffic, with safety support focused on both linebacker support for mid-range passing, and run support on the edges. Which will continue to hang out the corner backs in single coverage.

4. Mike Riley - genius or mad man going for 2 in double OT?


A lot of fans surprisingly support Riley’s decision, despite the fact that it was a low percentage call, more likely to fail than not. No one trusts the defense right now, including the coaching staff. And Riley, as well as most fans, have confidence in TE Joe Halahuni that if they were to run the same play five more times, he would make the catch each time.


That doesn’t make it a good decision, or address the fact that Katz never looked at two open receivers on the play, but it speaks to two key points. Coach Riley makes a lot of decisions with his heart, because he has tremendous faith in his players. And many fans like that quality in him, vs. being conservative.

5. Is this the year for the Bears to break the Kevin Riley curse against the Beavers?

Only if he can turn in the kind of quarterback that Jake Locker or Andrew Luck are, ie a 60% passer who can also run a little, and throw on the run. That will allow him to take advantage of the Oregon St. cornerbacks, who are tasked with covering huge amounts of real estate, by buying time for his receivers to work into the open.

6. Oregon State has always found a way to give us our most heartbreaking losses of the year.  In 2007 we had the Riley fiasco, in 2008 Cal's special teams yielded 2 TDs and Riley threw a pick six to mask an otherwise stellar defensive effort by Cal (that should have won us the game), and in 2009 you guys ended Jahvid Best's career at Cal.  What sort of devastating win do you have in store this year?

This year it could be a statement game by Jacquizz Rodgers, who while only 7 yards behind his per game average from this point last year, has taken responsibility personally for what he considers to be the Beavers offensive underachievement. ‘Quizz is looking for a game in the 150 yard range, with several touchdowns.

7. If the OSU offense runs at 100% with James Rodgers, what would you rate it in his absence?  Has anyone been able to fill the void?

80%. The problems have been in part due to field position, something James Rodgers made a significant difference in, and the inability of anyone to make the fly sweep be productive with any consistency. Receiver is Oregon St.’s deepest position, however, and if Marcus Wheaton can refine his game a little, and Jordan Bishop continues to progress, the passing game is still formidable. And Aaron Nichols and Joe Halahuni, who continue to make significant plays, will be looked to for improved productivity. Again, the bye week came at a great time. If the time proves to be well used, the Beavers can still be a force down the stretch.

8.  You guys had some trouble pressuring the passer last year, has it improved this year?

There has been some improvement, but speed off the edge remains a concern. The key is to avoid getting into short second and third down situations.