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Film Study: Cal D vs. OSU

Shutting Down the Wrecking Nall

In 2016, the Bears lost a game that they had no business losing to the Beavers in Corvallis. Sonny Dykes didn’t get fired after that game, but it was one of the best examples of why he had to go. The Beavers put up almost 500 yards rushing, and they barely needed a passing game (only 89 yards through the air) to score nearly 50 points against us. The worst part was that we went the entire game without finding an answer. The defense put our offense in a hole time after time, and forced them to play catchup for the entire game.

In 2017, with many of the same players on both teams, we were able to flip the script. Nall was held to 35 yards rushing (2.9 ypc), and the Beavers scored 24 fewer points, in spite of the fact that they gained twice as many yards through the air. In 2017, instead of our defense being a liability for the offense, they opened the door for the offense to win the game with 37 points of their own.

At the heart of this was a simplified strategy for shutting down the run. In this video, I show how that strategy of the game unfolded, and I look at how our commitment to playing lots of Cover-0 in this game allowed us to take away Oregon State’s strength. We didn’t do anything exotic, but we took away the obvious thing (the run game) and dared them to beat us in a way that they couldn’t. The end result was a comfortable win instead of a shootout loss, which is a nice change of pace from the past regime.