We’ve had some pretty good success with our BYU “Insider” series this season and have been wanting to bring the same feature to our Utah fans in addition to the weekly previews that Chris Enger is doing to showcase the Utes match ups. Each week we’ll ask questions of a blogger for Utah’s opponent that week and post their answers as a post for you to read. We’ll give you some background info and link you to their own site so you can read all the good stuff they are doing while supporting their own teams.
Game 7 – Oregon State Beavers
Academically Ineligible: What did your team learn from beating BYU with back-up quarterback Cody Vaz?
Andy Woodridge: Oregon St. learned, or rather, confirmed, that Cody can handle the job if the rest of the team do their jobs as well. It’s the same formula that had been working all season, and there’s no reason to change now.
AI: The Beavers are one win away from bowl eligibility. What were the expectations for Oregon State prior to the season and how have they changed now in regards to a bowl game?
AW: Optimistic expectations were for 6-7 wins, with plenty of people expecting a 5 win season. Now, some are jumping ahead to another Civil War for the Roses, though most are like the team, taking it one week at a time. 8-9 wins now seems like a minimum target, though.
AI: What do you expect Cody Vaz to do for an encore against Utah?
AW: I expect a little drop-off in numbers might occur, but there shouldn’t be a great deal of difference. Vaz still has Wheaton and Cooks, and they can still run away from whoever tries to cover them.
AI: How is Mike Riley turning this program around after a dismal 2011 season?
AW: Coach Riley hired defensive backs coach Rod Perry to bring creative new ideas to a young secondary, and he resumed calling the plays, which he was doing back when Oregon St. won 28 games in 2006-08, including 3 bowl games.
AI: Defensively, what needs to improve against Utah, and going forward, to keep winning?
AW: The safeties need to continue to improve. There are 3 guys in Oregon St.’s six man dime group that are still pretty inexperienced, and there have been some mistakes in coverage and communication that have given up some of the big plays. Fortunately, the errors have almost entirely been easily correctable, and the group has been continuing to improve. But with sophomores back there, there is still plenty to learn.