OSU’s opener against Eastern Washington is now only a week away. Reser stadium has had some more updates and Beaver Nation is curious if OSU will put up 50+ against the Eagles. Top 25 teams are supposed to look good and win with style points so we will see if the team is ready to start 2013 with some thunder.
New orange siding was placed on the OSU home team sideline in front of the student section and my impressions are it is a nice improvement. It is fairly simple but the orange was the right call and getting rid of the old players and unis shown here for the last 7 or 8 years was needed. New posters of players are now on the outside and personally I would like to see who gets a spot for these reviewed every year and updated so it doesn’t feel dated and there is some fresh aspect to it every year. Brandin Cooks with no doubt have a future spot. Interesting about OSU promotions is that the tartan pattern is a consistent and integral visual tie in to the football program. You will see it on these posters and in a bunch of advertising as if it is a real element of the identity, but then once the 45,674 are in the stadium they won’t see it again. Seems very odd and not Nike-like so some decision (BDC?) must explain that void which is unfortunate.
Tartan endzones would have tied this theme all together in a strong fashion that reinforced the marketing and the new banners and it actually having a part in the football program once inside Reser on gameday. Fans won’t see the small black and white version behind the logo on player gloves or what is inside their shoes. They just won’t see this theme that seems so promised in the promotions at all.
In other weekly news Riley has still not named a starting QB for Eastern Washington and instead said both players will get ample playing time. Sounds good, but we will know alot more about they way things are headed if the game is closer than they would like. Then you have to imagine whoever they like to guarantee victory is who will be in there. If Mannion starts and can not get a multi touchdown lead by the end of the first half then will Riley make a switch he was so unwilling to during the Alamo Bowl when Vaz was just off for far too long and Mannion was sharp while in too briefly? I see a game where OSU is a little rustier than fans expect but the excitement of fall football still produces enough bursts of playmaking where OSU has something like a 24-10 halftime lead and tacks on 20 more second half points to EWU’s 14 to win 44-24. Just slightly disappointing because OSU really should crack 50 to have a fitting Top 25 opener.
The players who will look the best will be Cooks, Woods, Reynolds, Mullaney, Seumalo and Mannion. Vaz will also have a pretty good few series on the field but most will be in the late 3rd and first half of the 4th quarter. One of the biggest questions is whether Victor Bolden will play or be sidelined in likelihood of using his redshirt year. A very tough choice but my lean is too go ahead and use him now. OSU has a very favorable schedule and the Ducks with a first year head coach are finally a tad more vulnerable. With Standford, USC and Washington at home OSU has a legit shot at a BCS Bowl if they can get out to a hot start and win a couple of key games late.
Bolden’s speed potentially could be a decisive factor and opens up more possibilities for a stronger return game and more offensive packages including some opposite Cooks that are as fast as last year’s duo of Wheaton and Cooks. If Bolden does not get the green light then the return game needs to be smart and often just accept the ball at the 25 yard line. Without a burner it is too hard to do much better than this and the odds for something worse happening that hurts the team rarely worth a couple extra yards. OSU learned this lesson last year and that gives some hope that other lessons, like happened at Washington, Stanford and the Alamo Bowl in 2012 can also be learned. EWU is not a slouch team so Riley needs to let the boys of fall run wild and free. Dream scenario would have been tartan endzones this year and a 60 point performance from OSU but what we will likely get is a somewhat subdued version of that. Fans want to be energized and feel like they are a strong national contender that is relevant. Whether Riley and the Beavers are ready to deliver that kind of performance will be seen this coming Saturday.