I’m never a fan of the “it could be worse” line of advice. But although fans of the California Golden Bears are feeling a little glum right now... the Oregon State Beavers have 25% of our wins and have an uncertain future due to some unexpected developments with their head coach.
Let’s gain some oh-so-powerful perspective by chatting Beavers with Building the Dam and their writer Joe Londergan.
1. Which player on offense should Cal fans know about?
Joe Londergan (JL): Ryan Nall for sure. Despite some critical fumbles in last week's loss to Stanford, Nall is still easily the biggest piece of OSU's offense. He's been especially critical because of the loss of QB Jake Luton. The junior is up to 597 yards with seven touchdowns on the year.
2. Which player on defense should Cal fans know about?
JL: Linebacker Manase Hungalu is the unquestioned leader of the defense. He's the leading tackler with 61 and he has two interceptions on the year. He's frequently in the backfield helping defend the run and putting pressure on the quarterback. He may not play on Saturday though after being cited for violent conduct by the Corvallis police this past weekend. OSU hasn't yet stated whether or not they will hold him back yet.
3. Who's one under-the-radar or X-factor player who could swing this game for Oregon State?
JL: Darell Garretson. It may seem weird to say the quarterback is the under-the-radar guy. But most teams are going to key in on Nall and Garretson is a solid runner in his own right. If the Beavs can get the ball down within the 20, look for Garretson to try and punch it in with a few QB keepers.
4. What does OSU need to do to win the game?
JL: Hang on to the ball for one. They're looking considerably better since Cory Hall took over, but their three turnovers against Stanford ended up being the difference maker in a one-point loss. Granted, it also helped that Bryce Love didn't play. But Cal's offense isn't great statistically, so I have faith that the defense can turn in a similar performance. For the offense, they have execute a little better and continue the high-energy style and maybe get creative with a playcall or two. I mean, they threw a screen pass to an offensive lineman in the last game. What do they have to lose at this point, really?
5. What does Cal need to do to win the game?
JL: Rely on the passing game. Get a few long, sustained drives going. OSU's pass defense is tenth in the league and that's the route that Colorado and, to a lesser extent, USC took and it worked out well for them. Plus, OSU's secondary is pretty beat up so that could be trouble for the Beavs.
6. How do you see the game going?
JL: I honestly think Cal will win, but OSU still has some fight in them. They're desperate for a win. I'm thinking something along the lines of a 21–17 win for the Bears.
7. Gary Andersen abruptly quits: Good thing, because he wasn't the guy to rebuild at OSU? Bad thing because he could've been that guy? Neutral thing because you don't know who the next coach is? Other?
JL: I think it's a mix, really. He clearly wanted the team to be progressing faster, but at the same time he just wasn't recruiting well. And sure, part of that's on his assistant coaches, but at some point you have to blame the guy that put the staff together. If there's one thing that the texts he sent to John Canzano brought to light, it's that he just didn't have it mentally in him to keep doing this. So I personally think it's a good thing someone high-energy like Cory Hall is in there right now. The one thing that they can't really afford to do right now is have players get down on themselves and the program. If that happens, I think we could see an exodus of players transferring. Keep in mind, this is the second head-coaching change some of these players have had to deal with since the came to OSU.
8. What's the mood in Corvallis right now? Pleased that the team looks competitive under the new interim coach? Depressed because it's been two consecutive weeks of surrendering a game-winning TD in the final minutes? Empty because this season has steeled your souls against the folly of human emotions?
JL: I guess confusion? People are happy that the team is playing better, yes. But they're still losing and 1–7. Plus there's this cloud of uncertainty over who the new permanent head coach will be. Sometimes it feels like people are paying more attention to that than the games remaining this year. So I guess there's a little bit of soul steeling going on.
9. Cory Hall was born in 1950 as the building that is home of the electrical engineering division of the EECS program at Berkeley. How concerned are you that Cory Hall is actually an agent operating on the behalf of Cal?
JL: As a college football fan, you eventually learn to not be surprised at anything. But the way this year has gone for OSU, you really don't even need a double agent at this point. Though I'm sure there's some dude in his basement with cork boards and red yarn trying to put that together.
10. Whom do you most want to punch in the face?
JL: Gosh, if I only get to pick one person off of that list, let's go with the Burger King mascot.
A big thanks to Joe for answering our questions and the whole Building the Dam team, who have been covering the Bears heading into Saturday’s game. Check out the Q&A we did to educate them on the Bears here.
How do you see the game going?
This poll is closed
Big Cal win
Close Cal win
Close Oregon State win
Big Oregon State win