Rome was not built in a day. Good things some times take a little longer to develop. That is thought in Corvallis these days. The Beaver football program is under going a massive rebuild and culture change under first year head coach Jonathan Smith.
Any Beaver Believer will tell you what needs to done to get the football program on the right track. Those same Beaver fans know that this rebuild is a not quick fix.
However, I will say this. Having seen the team play in person the last two weeks I will say that there is some room to be optimistic about the teams future.
First of all, the team can score points.
The emergence of a dominant running game has lead opposing teams to be a little more cautious in how they game plan for the Beavers. The big part of the running game emergence is true freshman, Jermar Jefferson. Here’s a kid that had to take over at running back once Artavis Pierce went down with an injury.
What a takeover it has been.
The player who is also known as “Munchie” has been killing it through the first six games of the season. Jefferson has rushed for 865 yards and 12 touchdowns for Oregon State. We are only half way through the season. Keep that in mind. Jefferson is the second leading rusher in the country behind the Memphis running back Darrell Henderson who has 934 rushing yards.
Watching Jefferson in person is a fun. He’s a guy that doesn’t look like a guy that is running fast, but Jefferson is consistently getting around the corner. He is running by defenders every Saturday. Jermar is big, strong, and has the elusiveness you want in your running back. Jefferson has become the reason the Beaver fans come watch the games.
“Their running back is both powerful and fast. He seems fearless. He is biggish. Can change gears and has good lateral movement. Despite the fact that his a totally marked player, he is really productive. He is easily one of the best in the conference, if not the best.” Mike Leach said. (Oregonlive.com)
Secondly, the team is competing and not looking like a person headed to their own execution. Last season was about as low as it has ever been for the Beaver football program.
We don’t need to rehash last season at all.
With Jonathan Smith now in control of the football program he has given the team a much needed shot in the arm. The positive vibe that Coach Smith has shown at practice and on gameday has made a difference with his players.
You can say what you want about whether Smith is ready to be a Power 5 coach, but right now we are seeing the change in culture and the change in play on the field.
The Nevada game where they drove down the field with a chance to win the game, putting 31 points on Ohio State, putting 48 points up on Southern Utah, and last Saturday night showing it’s resiliency against Washington State after falling behind 14-0 quickly. The Beavers even took the lead twice in the Washington State.
“Oregon State has scored on everyone.” Mike Leach mentioned. (Oregonlive.com)
When you have other coaches noticing the little improvements in the teams play, that speaks volumes to the influence that Coach Smith is having on the Beaver football program.
Are there areas of improvement on this Beaver team that can be made?
Absolutely. There is not enough time in the day to discuss the slow defense.
However, as the program is being rebuilt Beaver fans need to look at the baby steps that are being made by Coach Smith and his staff.
To take a group of players and to turn their mindset around from what it was last year is going to take time, but the enthusiasm that the players feel and have from Coach Smith can be seen during games and practices. Many players have already said that the positivity that Coach Smith brings has already helped them with their mental preparation for games and practices.
Getting the mental side of the game better is half the battle. The players have to have a sense that they have a shot at winning games. Even though the win total for the Beavers is not where the team wants it, the competitive fight that is being shown by the team is giving the players and fans hope for the future.
Do the wins need to come at some point?
For the moment, the difference in what Beaver fans saw last year to this year is reason enough to have some growing optimism in what Jonathan Smith is doing in Corvallis.