The Art of War, Riley & the Brennan Factor


This is a post guaging what was missing last season.  It was a year where early high expectations were not reached after key injuries and poor execution against teams we could and often should have beat.  The late and season-ending tackle on James Rodgers was over 5 yards deep in the endzone and uncalled for but we had plenty of chances after that in a surprising year where a Holiday Bowl was more attainable than usual.  It really pretty easily should have been ours last year.  Sometimes teams snap back from a down year.  Can we get to 7-5 this year with a 2nd year QB, receiving talent and unproven backs?  Doesn’t seem like it will be too easy.  The good thing is recruiting seems to be improving by significant amounts as we begin play under the Pac-12 banner.  Is it mostly due to Larry Scott, or should new hires like receivers coach Brent Brennan and running backs coach Chris Brasfield get alot of the credit?  It does seem like Brennan has already had a tangible impact and perhaps in more ways than one.  More on that later.

I had a chance to speak with Mike Riley last year and asked him about Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War.’  He was informed that it is indeed the favorite book of Pat Riley of the Miami Heat.  He expressed some interest but a bit less than I was hoping for from a Pac-12 head coach as the conference continues to grow and gets increasingly competitive.  But the addition of Brennan seems to hit this nail on the head.  We were told upon his hiring that Brennan is a ‘strategy’ guy.  He likes to think about this stuff and believes it is critical to success.

Brennan has made a difference in recruiting and part of his early success appears to come from the fact that he embraces technology and understands change and adaptation are a key part of life.  Greg Newhouse wasn’t getting it done in the recruits’ homes and he looked to be content and stuck in his ways.  It was a smart move to bring in some new guns and a guy who wants to incorporate technology more deeply into the core functioning of the program.  This allows us to be relevant and in the minds of recruits who expect Oregon State to be in line with the Pac-12 innovation and leadership as expressed by Larry Scott in his course for the conference.

Bottom line is I expect some of Brennan’s ‘strategy’ will almost for sure incorporate and find its way into Beaver gamedays.  But what do we most need to work on as far as high level concepts?  I think we should take a look at some Sun Tzu quotes and decide as Beaver Nation what we should try.