The linebackers are badâ€¦ Really badâ€¦ Through three games this year, they have shown little improvement in coverage and run support. They have faced three very different attacks and have looked equally slow and inadequate in all three so far this year. I can understand brushing off the rust of the opener against TCU, so didnâ€™t put much weight into that one. But, against Louisville, in their second game, they looked like they were moving in slow motion when making their reads and reacting to the spread attack and started to get a little concerned.
It all came to a head yesterday against Boise State. Whether it was covering a tight end/receiver/running back, trying to get a rush on to Kellan Moore, or simply making a tackle, this group struggled. It was ugly. Moore had all day to throwâ€¦ ALL DAYâ€¦ And in Defensive Coordinator Mark Bankers system, that isnâ€™t only a lack of push by the lineman (which Stephen Paea does), but it is the inability of the linebackers to shed blocks and wreak havoc. It is what made guys like Keaton Kritstic, Joey LaRocque, Trent Bray, Keith Ellison and Richard Seigler so successful in the system. A motor that is always going and the ability to shed blocks. They might not be recording all of the sacks, but they are responsible for collapsing the pocket around the quarterback. And when there was a collapse, the it was well after receivers Titus Young and Austin Pettis had time to lose the defensive backs...
To put it in perspective, the average football play is four seconds in length. Kellan Moore had anywhere from 6-8 seconds to move in the pocketâ€¦ That is an eternity when you are trying to run backwards and keep up with someone. Those big gains are more a product of great throws, good routes and too much time. Not poor play in the secondaryâ€¦
On the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line didnâ€™t play too bad. Four sacks are never good to give up, but not all of them are the O-Lineâ€™s fault, some credit can be shared with strategic blitzes, and phenomenal coverage down field.
Ryan Katz did another good job of taking care of the ball and didnâ€™t throw an interception for the 3rd straight gameâ€¦ As a whole, his performance is continually taking baby steps into becoming the elite quarterback we have heard so much about. The next step for Katz is the deep ball. He had plenty of opportunities to hit guys down field and simply missed them. And that did kill the Beavers. You need to be able to capitalize on those situations. Mike Riley is a guy that will avoid addressing his quarterbackâ€™s inability to hit the deep ball, but deep down he knows there were two or three throws that could have changed the outcome of that game.
Quiz was Quiz. Boy, are they going to miss him when he is goneâ€¦ The scary one is James though. He needs to be healthy if Oregon State is going to beat Arizona State, and a concussion is not a good start to a week of preparation that could be the turning point of your season.