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Confidence is growing at Oregon State

Beavers are 3-4 and have a growing optimism under Jonathan Smith

NCAA Football: Oregon State at California Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

Rome was not built in a day. In Corvallis, Oregon there is something that is being built. The Beaver football program which has seen many dark days in their past and recent past have some reasons to feel a little optimistic.

When Jonathan Smith took over the football program at his alma mater he made sure that everybody knew that the rebuild of Oregon State would take some time. Beaver fans had to show some patience. To be a Beaver Believer patience is a definite must.

“Why not? Why not here? We can get this done here.” Coach Smith said when he was picked to lead the football program.

Coach Smith has his offense moving much better than his first year.

Jake Luton is on pace for around 30 touchdowns and over 3,000 passing. Luton’s favorite target is certainly wide receiver, Isaiah Hodgins, who is also on pace for over 1,500 yards. Artavis Pierce is leading the team with 583 yards so far this season as well. The offense is there and is something to hang your hat on with the Beavers.

Oregon State is currently sitting second in the Pac-12 North Division behind Oregon. Can the Beavers get four wins? What about five wins? Bowl eligible?

Certainly, that is something that some Oregon State fans are floating around in their heads.

The other side of this for Beavers is that they could lose out to finish the season. However, I see Oregon State battling right down to the end in most of their remaining games.

Remaining Beaver Schedule:

  • @ Arizona 11/2
  • Washington 11/8
  • Arizona State 11/16
  • @ Washington State
  • @ Oregon

How many of these games can the Beavers win? How many will they lose?

I believe that the winnable games are Arizona, Arizona State, and Washington State. The Oregon and Washington games are games that could end up like the Utah game a couple of weeks ago.

In reality if the Beavers finish with four wins I think most Oregon State fans will consider this season a success. It will give alumni and the media hope for the future. Plus, it’ll bring more people through the gates to the home games.

NCAA Football: Stanford at Oregon State Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Fans and the media are starting to see the improvement that Jonathan Smith and his staff are providing to the program. Obviously, there are still holes on this team.

The Oregon State defense still needs to be able to make more stops. Defensive Coordinator, Tim Tibesar, is one of the coaches that get a lot of criticism from Oregon State fans.

After the previous season where the Oregon State defense couldn’t stop a junior varsity high school team it was thought that Coach Tibesar was on a warm seat. The Beaver defense right now ranks 96th out of 130 schools in total defense at 426.9 yards/game. To be fair there are other Pac-12 teams that are worse than the Beavers in total defense.

The defense is still a work in progress and needs to continue get better.

Last season the Beavers gave up 45 points/game. The Beavers are giving up 34 points/game this season which is improvement, but still ranks 114th in the country. Coach Smith and Coach Tibesar need to address the secondary for sure.

Back to the positive side of things in Corvallis.

Two of the three wins have been on the road. Confidence building is what Coach Smith is after as he builds his program, sets his team culture, and making his players believe that they can compete in any stadium, anywhere, anytime.

Granted, the Beavers beat a bad UCLA team, but would the Beaver fans want them to lose that game? Of course not.

Going on the road again to California and beating a Golden Bear team that has a pretty decent defense is something to feel good about if you’re Oregon State.

Now that the Beavers have a bye week to soak in their new found confidence the question is simply this: Can Oregon State keep it going against Arizona?

For a young, inexperienced team like the Beavers, keeping the focus on what has won them three games is going to be the question.

If you think about the Stanford and Hawaii games and a few mistakes are cleaned up in those games the Beavers could be 5-2 and with a completely different mindset heading into the latter part of the season. Oregon State would certainly be ranked.

Football is a game of inches and doing your individual job for the team. The margin for victory is razor thin and I am sure the Beaver players, coaches, and fans have all looked backed and said “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve”.

For the time being, Beaver Believers have something in their football program that gives them hope. Like Coach Smith said, “why not here?”