Beavers took positives from Civil War loss
EUGENE — Oregon State’s visit to Autzen Stadium last November resulted in another agonizing defeat.
The 52-42 loss to Oregon also gave the Beavers some confirmation the program is trending in the right direction under coach Gary Andersen, despite the team’s 0-9 Pac-12 record and 2-10 overall mark in his first season.
Oregon State will try to end its painful eight-game Civil War losing streak Nov. 26 when the Ducks visit Reser Stadium.
“We took that momentum we had in the Oregon game and transitioned that into the offseason, worked hard and got ready,” wide receiver Victor Bolden said at the Pac-12 media day event earlier this month in Los Angeles. “We took the adversity and handled it. Some things didn’t go our way, but we didn’t let that stop us, we didn’t let that faze us and we’ve got some positive things going.
“That’s the biggest thing we’ve got to take for this year, in this league it’s going to be competitive every game.”
The Beavers averaged only 14.6 points in their eight previous conference losses before putting six touchdowns on the board in the season finale against Oregon.
Both of the quarterbacks who played in the rivalry game, Marcus McMaryion and Seth Collins, return this season. Neither is expected to start when Oregon State opens the 2016 campaign on Sept. 1 at Minnesota.
Utah State transfer Darell Garretson Jr. won the job during the spring.
“I think Marcus competed very well in the spring, and it’s going to be fun,” Andersen said. “But right now Darell is definitely our starter.”
Garretson threw for 1,140 yards, eight touchdowns and three interceptions in five games for Utah State in 2014. The injured starter he replaced, Chuckie Keeton, was added to Oregon State’s coaching staff this offseason.
“Chuckie is so knowledgable,” said Andersen, who coached Keeton at Utah State before taking the Wisconsin job. “He’s been through so many ups and downs. Those emotional swings in his career ... Darell may lean on Chuckie in certain situations, and I hope he does.”
Collins, the starter entering the 2015 season, left the program to pursue transfer opportunities. The sophomore ultimately decided to stay in Corvallis, and Andersen said he will be used as a wide receiver, running back and in special packages at quarterback.
“When he came back, he was very excited to get back into the mix,” Andersen said of Collins, who ran for three touchdowns against Oregon. “He went through the procedures that we laid out for him as a team to get him back into the mainstream. He accomplished those goals very quickly …
“We expect Seth to be a big part of our offense.”
Garretson has two dependable wide receivers to work with in Bolden (461 yards, three touchdowns) and Jordan Villamin (660 yards, five touchdowns). Andersen said he is also excited about Trevon Bradford, a true freshman from Oregon City, who enrolled early and had a strong spring.
“(Bradford) basically laughed at me when I said, ‘You’re going to go out there in the spring scrimmage, and I want you to get in front of all these people and catch punts’,” Andersen said. “He was like, ‘OK, no big deal’.”
Projected starting tight end Caleb Smith left the program for undisclosed reasons earlier this month. The offensive line must replace standouts Isaac Seumalo and Josh Mitchell.
Sophomore running back Ryan Nall rushed for 174 of his 455 yards against Oregon. Collins led the Beavers with 580 net yards and eight touchdowns last season.
Andersen reassigned offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin to inside receivers coach and promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin McGiven and offensive line coach T.J. Woods to co-offensive coordinators. The skill players are looking forward to the fresh start.
“I just want to make sure that my teammates and my brothers are feeling like we need to change the perception of this team,” Bolden said. “We’ve worked so hard, and I just want the world to see how hard we’ve worked and put it on a big stage. We’re excited to play everybody this year.”
Andersen hired Kevin Clune away from Utah State to be his defensive coordinator after Kalani Sitake left Oregon State after one season to become head coach at BYU.
The Beavers allowed 37.0 points per game last season, which ranked 11th in the conference ahead of only the Ducks (37.5 ppg).
Clune inherits six returning starters, including defensive back Devin Chappell and linebacker Caleb Saulo.
Andersen, who will coach the defensive line, brought punter Nick Porebski to Hollywood instead of a defensive player.
“The defense is doing a great job, they’re transitioning into a new style of defense, and guys are taking more of a leadership role,” Bolden said. “We were missing a little bit of that last year on the defensive side. Guys are stepping up, and I think they’re going to have a great season.”
Jake Cookus, a hero in the 2000 Civil War with three interceptions of Joey Harrington, returns to his alma mater as the new special teams coordinator.
Placekicker Garrett Owens was 11-for-15 on field goals last season. Porebski, a former Australian Rules Football player, averaged 38.5 net yards with 26 punts placed inside the 20-yard line.