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Oregon State football: Beavers earn a reprieve

How will Oregon State improve with their time off?

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Oregon State has to feel pretty good about their chances of getting back to a bowl game. Fill in the blank: The Beavers will finish with a record of ___________ because ____________________.

RVM: As mentioned to the Colorado people I don't do game score predictions nor will I do this type of numbers prediction, comes back to you in the afterlife I heard! Seriously, I don't know that is all up to the guys on the field.

Andy: I also hesitate to predict records and scores, but I see about an 8-4 season. Especially with 4 road games left, there are likely to be some losses too, but because Mannion and Cooks, if they stay healthy, give Oregon St. a chance to win every time out.

If Oregon State 2013 were a music band, they'd be _____________ because _______________.

RVM: I hesitate here because whatever I say here will show my age! Thinking...dang man this is a tough one! Okay, you got me.

Andy: I'm older than Robert, and actually still own some records. Next question!

The Beavers get a much needed week off. What improvements are you looking to see between now and your matchup with the Cougars?

RVM: Running game, offensive line health, defensive play all-the-way-around, defensive linebacker play, defensive back play, kicking game (slightly, was not great last week but weather was funky so not as worried about this in the long-term), did I mention running game? I do like the improvements overall on the defensive side of things and some more injury recovery here should help too, so really my main concern of late is the running game. The defense of course has not quite turned the corner, so they are going to need help in tougher upcoming match-ups from the offense and some ball control rush game could go a long way here.

Andy: Health and reps should produce better offensive line and rushing game play. The offensive line has done well beyond any reasonable expectation given the injuries, shuffling, and inexperience, at pass protection. I don't expect a zone blocking system to equal that level of production from the run game, because it won't produce many big plays, which usually come out of mis-direction, and produce the big moves in rushing averages. But if they can add 15-20 net yards per game to the total each of the next 2 weeks, it will be a good piece of work.

I also expect to see better decisions and schemes from the secondary after there is time to really work on some things. The key to disrupting the Mike Leach "Air Raid" version is penetration by the defensive line, and I sense that group too is getting more comfortable with some new schemes that are moving especially Dylan Wynn around.