After AD BDC announced his latest Orange Perspective the feeling across Beaver Nation seemed to be about a 6.5 or 7 out of 10. General consensus is that the Truax and Prothro Pregame activities for a full 3 hours prior to kickoff were done mostly right. Included information included big screen TVs, a beer garden, and free admittance. This will now be a hot spot. No doubt about it. In that respect I think OSU got it right. I would have liked to have seen a percentage of the earnings be earmarked for Reser Phase 3, but now we should see a lively mix of students, younger and older fans all using the Truax and Prothro areas actively as they get ready for fall football games. This is the positive energy generator that is needed to revive OSU Football.
I think at this stage of the game BDC and Rizzardini just want more fan interest in the Beavs and are willing to have a free and well-liked event for every game if it helps deliver more future fans supporting the program. One way or another new fans must be secured for Reser Phase 3 to have a strong likelihood in the next 5 or 6 years. Noone wants to see OSU stagnate by putting modest, but still expensive lipstick to the existing West side and being stuck like that for perhaps decades to come. The most laughed about new feature of Gameday is Text-To-Care. I hope this is not used against anyone who likes to stand and get the energy level raised at games. That should always be an option and if fans also have to stand for certain stretches of the game, well it is good for the atmosphere and rallying the players.
In my opinion there is nothing worse than a quiet stadium for very long on any Gameday Saturday. Briefly mentioned but not explained were the larger leadership roles for the marching band and cheerleaders. My hunch is that this is exaggerated and differences will not be all that noticeable. We will have to wait until Sept. 1st to see how BDC plans to revolutionize the cheerleading interaction. Closed captioning was also announced. Hopefully the size of this captioning is kept under control so it isn’t too distracting for most fans. There was also some tidbits about new player introduction videos and new video sequences for defensive stops. That is a good idea, because defense is just as critical as offense and 3 and outs need to be sought on every series and celebrated as often as possible.
UW’s defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox likes to say he finds 3 and outs even more exciting than touchdowns. That is a healthy mindset and one OSU fans would be wise to enlist in their ranks. OSU defenses of the past used to be known for being mean and relentless. The defensive culture also has to work its way back at OSU. It has been missing far too often in recent years. Ryan Gunderson may be doing the reading Mike Riley doesn’t want to as far as Sun Tzu and military-referenced game strategy. Riley recently tweeted “Fortune Favors the Bold! -Alexander the Great
#BeBold .” Some speculate it was Gundy who composed the tweet. Riley also tweeted “The more we sweat in peace, the less we bleed in war – Day 5, time to sweat.” The first 4 or 5 games will tell us if this is lipservice as Angry speculates, or indeed a “bolder” Riley.
I have not seen a very bold Riley or one that keeps the pedal to the metal so I will reserve judgement in wins and losses. This team has some weapons but also important this year is if the defense can keep the opponents to lower scoring and if the play of the lines can be much better. Mannion will need it to be and the strategy appears to have Seumalo anchor the center of the line, so Mannion can have brief seconds longer to get cozy in the pocket. Watching Seattle play last night with Russell Wilson and excute that brilliant bootleg run for a 50 yard TD makes you realize that Mannion cannot provide that skill. To cut down on interceptions there has been more focus on 15 yard passes and shorter and improving the run game. Look for Storm Woods and Chris Brown to share primary duties and Agnew getting his turns in spells.
The season, and football success in general, comes down to many factors but chief among them is will. Can the players find the determination to win the majority of their early games and get off to the hot start they desperately need. A quick start is crucial because the last 5 games are very tough with no for sure easily expected wins. If Riley and crew don’t win enough early the odds say a downward continuation will occur in the latter half of the season again this year. OSU cannot afford to have that happen. It is make or break time and Riley, Banker, Langsdorf and all the players need to win ballgames and get OSU Football back in gear.