The good folks at SB Nation's Oregon State site, Building The Dam, were nice enough to answer some questions about their team about the upcoming matchup in Jerry World against TCU.
1. What will Oregon State do on offense to be successful against a TCU defense that will probably be in the top 20 by years end?
2. How much will Oregon State rely on their running game since the Beavers are starting a new QB in Ryan Katz?
For us, the OSU offense in this game starts and ends with the offensive line. I'm expecting Gary Patterson to blitz the heck out of Ryan Katz, since that's the hip thing to do when you're playing against an inexperienced, young quarterback. If Katz doesn't have time in the pocket it will be a long day, because it's nice to just hand the ball off to Jacquizz Rodgers but he can't do that every play.
'Quizz will probably also get some short passes thrown his way out of the backfield. TCU's base defense invites the run and the short pass, and counts on speed and running to the ball. They haven't faced a back as elusive as 'Quizz though, and if he can create a few plays operating in space, it will slow down the Horned Frogs' pursuit, and that will allow the Beavers' passing game to operate.
Having a player like Jacquizz Rodgers in the backfield is probably one of the best things that a quarterback can have in his first ever college start. But, Mike Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf aren't going to be bashful with the play calling all night long unless things go wrong-- they want to let Katz show off his big arm on a big stage.
'Quizz will be a key to Oregon State. having success, but the passing game will not be as diminished as one might expect unless Katz just has a disastrous day. The receiving corps is easily the Beavers' deepest group, and Riley and Langsdorf will try to leverage that in this and every other game this season.
3. The Beavers traditionally start the season of slow and pick up steam as the year goes on, why do you think that is?
Oregon State in the Riley years has been primarily focused on teaching, given the character of the personnel they have been able to recruit. Additionally, Riley's offense, as well as Mark Banker's press defense, are individually demanding, and Riley's methodology for installing things has pro football tendencies. These things take time to fully implement. Riley has taken note of this, and made a concerted effort this season to at least try to address the issue, with a new teaching approach in fall camp.
4. Name someone on offense besides Jacquzz or James Rodgers who will make a difference this year?
The man who's getting the most attention right now is senior wideout Aaron Nichols, who seemingly came from nowhere. Oregon State's had a history of walk-on wide receivers who become dynamos by the end of the career. Of course we'll never forget what Mike Hass accomplished, but we've also had Shane Morales and Damola Adeniji emerge in their senior seasons the last two years. They are always counted on for their dependability, with the latter two being able to move the chains on third down like nobody's business. Plain and simple, Nichols has been making plays in fall camp this year, and should continue to do it in games.
5. What will Oregon State have done to win this game?
They'll need to move the ball on offense by controlling the TCU defense. I'm guessing that TCU's #1 goal is getting pressure on Ryan Katz, OSU's #1 goal is stopping it. It will be a big test for Mike Cavanaugh's offensive line, which didn't have the best of days two years ago when the Beavers traveled to Penn State. If OSU can give Katz time to throw and he can hit the receivers in space, the Beavers will have balanced in their offense and a good chance to put points on the board.
The Oregon State defense will also need to create a couple of turnovers. Andy Dalton is unbeaten when he doesn't throw an interception, but when he does, TCU becomes beatable.