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Cal Football 2019 Defensive Preview: The Beavers of Oregon State

What does year two under DC Tibesar bring?

NCAA Football: Utah at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

We talk with Building the Dam about the Oregon State defense under Tim Tibesar.

1. What are the thoughts on DC Tim Tibesar’s defense in year 2? Is the system working? Do you see growth and the direction of where he wants to go?

It is still very much a work in progress. It looks better than year 1 but I personally havent seen as much growth as I would like. I do wonder how warm his seat is and whether a change will be made this offseason.

2. The defense is giving up an average of 34 points per game which is 114th in the country. That’s a clear improvement from last season when the Beavers gave up 45.7 points per game. What’s the biggest change or improvement from last year to this year? What are the strengths and weaknesses of the defense this season?

The linebacking core is pretty solid despite a tone of injuries and the D line is much better than it has been in previous seasons. Right now the weakness is the secondary which has been pretty abysmal so far.

3. Jeromy Reichner, Kyrei Fisher and Andrzej Hughes-Murray, all out with injuries or eligibility issues. Were they expected to make big strides this season? Who has stepped up in their stead?

Reichner and Hughes-Murray were supposed to be key pieces of the defense. Fisher was more of a wild card, but it was hopeful he could step in and contribute. Hamiclar Rashed has played a much bigger role than I had expected and Shemar Smith has been very consistent. We’ve also seen some strong contributions from newcomers Avery Roberts and Omar Speights

4. Jalen Moore led the team last season with over 100 tackles, have the production from Shemar Smith and Hamilcar Rashed Jr done enough to mask over his loss? Who has surprised from the linebacking corps?

Jalen Moore has been a huge loss at safety. His loss plus the health issues of David Morris has really left the back 7 in a tough spot. Unfortunately noone on the back end really stepped up to fill that void. Omar Hick-Onu had seen increased playing time, but recently left the team and entered the transfer portal. Moore has been back on the field lately so hopefully he can stay healthy and improve the secondary

5. Rashed Jr, had 12.5 TFLs and 2.5 sacks all of last season, this year he already has 10.5 TFLs with 6 sacks. Was he expected to make this big of a jump this year?

The potential has been there and many had hoped this would come, but I would be lying if I said it was expected.

6. Are there any newcomers to the defense that give you some optimism for the future?

Addison Gumbs was awesome in his game and a half before getting hurt, plus the aforementioned Anery Roberts and Omar Speights. I would also toss out linebackers Matthew Tago (hurt) and John McCarten as underclassmen who have shown some promise.