Busy bye week ahead for Beavers
PULLMAN, Wash. — The Oregon State football team now has a much-needed bye for the upcoming weekend.
The Beavers are 1-3 (0-1 in the Pac-12) and face a tough stretch of games after the bye against No. 7 Washington, at No. 5 USC, Colorado and Stanford.
OSU has two weeks to work out several kinks and get ready for the Huskies.
This is not going to be a vacation week for the Beavers. There’s plenty of work to be done.
“Take this week, work on ourselves, try to get an edge on our next opponent and try to fine-tune the little things,” running back Ryan Nall said. “Take this bye week, we can’t take it off, we can’t take it lightly, we’ve got to take it serious from the get-go, even through walk-throughs. I doesn’t matter what we’re doing, we’ve got to make sure we’re taking whatever we can to get that edge going into this bye week and into the game week.”
Safety David Morris said the Beavers have to get everything right in the next two weeks.
That means honing in on their problems and figuring out the best way to execute in every phase of the game.
“We’ve got two weeks to get ready for our next opponent, so that’s a lot of time to get everything right and that’s all we’ve got to do,” Morris said.
An immediate concern is the well-being of quarterback Jake Luton, who is back in Corvallis after being discharged from the hospital in Pullman.
Luton was injured when he was hit by Washington State defenders at the end of a run and was left motionless for several minutes on the field.
Luton's father Judd said on a Facebook post that Jake had a probable thoracic spine fracture.
Darell Garretson has been Luton's backup. The Beavers also have Conor Blount and freshman Aidan Willard at quarterback.
If Luton is able to come back soon, the two weeks should be a welcome time to rest his body.
It will also enable the rest of the team to get right physically and recover from bumps and bruises or nagging minor injuries.
“This gives us a chance to get healthy, too,” receiver Jordan Villamin said. “Refocus ourselves and get our minds right and stuff. So this bye week is going to be crucial for us, our development, to see what we’re going to go through this season because we have (a stretch) of just tough games. So we’re either going to put up or shut up. So that’s what’s going to happen.”
The Beavers are coming off a 52-23 loss at Washington State in the Pac-12 opener for both teams.
Despite the one-sided final score, the Beavers showed improvement in some areas and will be able to build on that during the two weeks.
Defensively, the Beavers sacked WSU quarterback Luke Falk three times and had eight tackles for loss.
Falk was able to hit OSU with six touchdown passes with receivers too often making contested catches against the defensive backs, so the Beavers know that’s an area they need to improve.
Linebacker Manase Hungalu said the team also needs to look at the earlier games.
“Just learning off these last three games,” Hungalu said. “We’re so close to becoming a defense that we want to be. Those little mistakes that we have made in the past two games, we’re seeing progress every week. This extra week, hopefully we’ll use it for our advantage to get better. All we can do is learn and just keep moving.”
On offense, the Beavers need to build on the positives of their performance and work on getting more consistent.
The team needs to look at how to avoid those negative moments that too often have hurt its progress, whether it’s turnovers, giving up big plays or poorly-timed penalties.
On Saturday, the Beavers were flagged eight times for 80 yards and lost two fumbles, both resulting in WSU touchdowns.
So the players have a busy bye week ahead. Villamin doesn’t expect the team will get a day off.
“We don’t deserve a day off,” he said. “We need to go to work. We need to figure something out.”