Posted on: January 10, 2011 3:47 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Today is just not a good day to be an Oregon State fan. Not only do you have to watch your hated rival play for a national championship tonight, but now you're getting the news that one of the best players on your team won't be coming back to Corvallis next season. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers will be announcing his decision to forego his senior season at Oregon State and enter the NFL Draft.
The school will announce Rodgers' decision this afternoon in a teleconference at 2pm PST.
If there's any good news for the Beavers, though, it's that at least James Rodgers will be back next season. Even if he doesn't have his brother around with him.
Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for 1,184 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. All told, in his three-year career with the Beavers, Rodgers tallied 4,933 yards rushing and receiving, with 51 touchdowns. That, my friends, is a lot of production to replace.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 7:01 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
Oregon State got a boost of good news today when senior James Rodgers -- brother of Jacquizz Rodgers , of course -- was given an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA. Rodgers was injured after making a (negated) touchdown catch past Arizona safety Adam Hall in the first half of the OSU-Arizona game; Rodgers' knee buckled as Hall tackled him in the end zone, tearing Rodgers' ACL.
Technically, Rodgers' season-ending injury came during the fifth game of the year, but he had missed the prior game after suffering a concussion on a hit by Boise State safety Will Venables (the helmet-to-helmet hit by Venables would result in a two-quarter suspension), so Rodgers really only played in four of the season's 12 games. That's small enough to meet the NCAA's requirement of 30% games played (yes, there's rounding involved) to grant a medical hardship waiver.
But while Venables' hit was obviously dirty and punished as such, the play that resulted in Rodgers' blown knee would probably be less defensible if it weren't so common. On the fateful play, Rodgers had clearly scored the touchdown and taken several steps in the end zone with Hall on him when Hall finished the tackle, twisting Rodgers' knee past the ACL's tolerance. If that play happens out of bounds, Hall gets flagged and perhaps ejected for unnecessary roughness. And yet, the ball is dead in the end zone after the officials signal a touchdown too, and Hall wasn't trying for a last-gasp strip. It's just common practice to go ahead and get the ball-carrier down in the unlikely event that the ball comes out. Not only is the practice cheap, it's demonstrably dangerous, and with replay being such a part of college football, it wouldn't even work anyway. You're really going to strip a guy 5 steps into the end zone and then expect the ref and replay booth to all think it's a legitimate play? Come on.
Again, it's still technically legal, mainly because it's so widespread, but the fact that someone who has just scored a touchdown can get whacked without any repercussions from the officials seems inconsistent with the rest of the protections afforded to players everywhere else on the field.
At any rate, this is a welcome change of circumstance for Rodgers, who came into the 2010 season as a preseason All-American only to fall off his school-record pace from 2009 even before the injuries. If he can put together a solid senior season with his brother in the backfield, cannon-armed junior Ryan Katz returning as the starting quarterback, and a bevy of experienced receivers coming back, the lousy 2010 campaign will become little more than a distant memory.
Posted on: January 5, 2011 11:41 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
In the Rose Bowl, Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst made a few decisions that left Wisconsin fans baffled and angry. Now it sounds like his next decision could end up leaving Wisconsin and its fans without an offensive coordinator. Chryst has been rumored to be a candidate to replace Greg Davis at Texas for a while now, and he was in Austin to interview on Tuesday.
According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, he flew back to Madison with an offer on the table.
While there is no official word on what the offer is, it has been rumored that Texas is willing to pay up to $1 million to each of their new offensive and defensive coordinators, and while Wisconsin is working on giving Chryst a raise from his current $361,000 salary, would they be willing to give Chryst $1 million? He's already the second-highest paid assistant in the Big Ten.
Chryst has been an assistant at Wisconsin for seven seasons, though he was let go by Barry Alvarez in 2002 and spent the next two seasons at Oregon State before Alvarez brought him back to Madison in 2005. What may keep Chryst in Madison is the fact that he's a Wisconsin native and a graduate of the school, and may not want to uproot his family to Texas.
All that being said, $1 million is $1 million. Offers like that don't come around every day, and can prove to be hard to turn down.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 6:15 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 6:16 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
While Pitt's Jonathan Baldwin seemed all to eager to get out of Pittsburgh and into the NFL earlier today, there seems to be one superstar in the Pacific Northwest who hasn't made up his mind just what he's going to be doing next season. Over the weekend there were internet reports that Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers was going to forego his senior season for the NFL draft this spring.
Which is all news to Rodgers, as he says he's yet to make a decision about his future. He even took the time during a final exam to let the Portland Tribune know about it.
“People don’t know what they’re talking about,” Rodgers told the paper.
Sentiments his coach, Mike Riley, also echoed to the paper.
“Quizz is nowhere near making a decision,” Riley said. “When he gathers the necessary information, what he does will be a personal decision. We will support it either way.”
For what it's worth, Rodgers has been saying for a while that he planned on coming back for his senior season. Of course, that was before the Beavers went through a tough year that saw his brother James Rodgers suffer an injury that cost him his senior season. So when weighing those factors, combined with whether or not returning to school would actually help his draft stock, he may change his mind.
Maybe he plans on waiting to see how he did on those finals.
Hat tip: CFT
Posted on: December 7, 2010 12:38 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Oregon' s D.J. Davis may have confused a lot of Oregonian readers this weekend when he appeared in the newspaper with a black-and-white photograph of an unidentified young man affixed to his handwarmer. But he'll make up for that confusion with the respect he'll earn in South Bend, since it turns out the photo was a tribute to Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan, the videographer who died at an Irish practice Oct. 27 when his scissor lift tipped over in high winds.
Davis has no formal connections to Sullivan, but as an Oregon spokesman explained, his brother is "the same age" as Sullivan and Davis "couldn't imagine having something like that happen to him."
Here's a photo of Davis scoring against Oregon State , with the photo of Sullivan over the belt buckle:
And a closeup of the photo:
After Davis's gesture, it's not a stretch to say we know which team Fighting Irish fans will be rooting for come Jan. 10.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 2:48 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
As of last week, Paul Wulff himself admitted that he didn't know whether he'd get another season at the Washington State helm any more than anyone else did. But after the Cougars fell valiantly in their Apple Cup showdown with Washington, coming back from a 28-14 deficit to tie before falling 35-28 , Wazzu athletic director Bill Moos decided he had seen enough ... to keep Wulff around!
Paul Wulff will return for his fourth year as head football coach at Washington State, something athletic director Bill Moos made clear Sunday.Apparently the chat went well.
And frankly, it should have. Wulff still doesn't have much to show for his efforts in the win column, going 2-10 and just 1-8 in the Pac-10 , but the improvement from the Cougars has been dramatic nonetheless. In 2008, Wazzu lost their average league game by more than 40 points; in 2010, that number was down to fewer than 15. The Cougs had yet to win a game under Wulff against a Pac-10 team that wasn't winless or a league game on the road; this year they spanked Oregon State in Corvallis.
If that sounds like the over-glorification of a series of moral victories, at some schools it might be. But the Wazzu program was in such off-field tatters at the end of the Bill Doba tenure, and the number of top-flight coaches likely interested in the Wazzu job at this stage so few, that at this stage that improvement should have been enough.
Kudos are in order to Moos for realizing it, however belatedly that decision might have come.
HT: DocSat .
Posted on: December 2, 2010 1:27 pm
Edited on: December 2, 2010 2:00 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
There's basically two candidates for the upset of the 2010 college football season: James Madison taking out Virginia Tech , just the second-ever victory for an FCS team over a ranked opponent, and Nevada ruining Boise State 's dream season with their wild overtime victory.
But neither of those would hold a candle to a hypothetical Oregon State victory over the top-ranked Oregon juggernaut the Beavers will host in Corvallis this Saturday, in the 114th edition of the Civil War. The Ducks are, of course, a perfect 11-0, boast the top-ranked offense in the country, and one hiccup at Cal aside have won their other 11 games by an average of 32 points. Oregon State, meanwhile, is a disppointing 5-6 and is coming off a 38-0 humiliation at the hands of Stanford .
But the Civil War has some history of chaos , particularly when one team or the other is on the cusp of a championship. Could the Beavers make it happen? It won't be easy, but it won't be impossible, either. Here's what they'll have to do:
Shorten the game with Rodgers. It's mostly beside the point to say the Beavers need to "control the clock"; Chip Kelly 's hyperdrive offense scores so quickly that even gaining more yards than any other attack in the country, the Ducks still rank 103rd in the FBS in time-of-possession. But OSU will have to hog even more of the ball than the Ducks normally concede, because the more possessions Oregon can pack into the game, the more cracks they get at the Beaver end zone, the more fatigued the OSU defense will get as the game wears on, and the greater the toll the Ducks' superior talent will take. OSU needs to approach the game the way a Princeton-offense basketball team would a first-round NCAA Tournament game; the fewer possessions there are, the greater impact one or two fortunate bounces and big plays could have in the underdogs' favor.
So how do the Beavers do that? The heaviest dose possible of Jacquizz Rodgers . The Beavers' dynamo has been at his best in big games in the past, and will have to be again to keep the chains moving, the clock running, and the Duck offense off the field.
Rattle the Ducks on the road. Oregon has been incredible just about everywhere, but they've been far more vulnerable on the road than at home in their virtually-impregnable Autzen Stadium fortress. They allowed more than 600 yards to Arizona State in Tempe in their worst defensive performance of the season, winning largely on the strength of a cavalcade of Sun Devile errors that led to six turnovers; the Ducks' worst offensive performance came in Berkeley, where they managed just one offensive touchdown and anaverage of 3.8 yards per-play, nearly two yards lower than their next-worst performance.
The Beavers haven't been particularly good at home -- their decisive loss in Corvallis to Washington State is probably the single worst performance in Pac-10 play this season -- but if they can play with enough emotion and energy early to keep the crowd well in it, the Ducks have shown they might not respond all that well.
Win the special teams battle. This is much easier said than done with All-American Duck returner Cliff Harris around, but special teams have typically been a Mike Riley strength -- they kept the Beavers competitive in their meeting with Boise almost singlehandedly -- and they simply can't afford to lose this phase of the game when they have such an uphill climb on first-through-third down. Preventing a big Oregon special teams play and making one or two of their own would go a long, long way towards evening the scales.
Sell out against the run. With an offense as powerful as Oregon's, there's no good way to defend it; packing the box means that Darron Thomas will have more opportunities to hit a backbreaking pass downfield. But the only time Oregon's been halfway contained -- in the aformentioned trips to Cal and Arizona State -- it's started with limiting LaMichael James and the Duck running game, which averaged just 3.47 yards an attempt vs. the Sun Devils and an ugly 2.95 vs. the Bears. The Beavers' star defensive tackle Stephen Paea will need to play the game of his life.
Don't turn the ball over. A team like OSU simply won't beat a team like Oregon wasting possessions and helping the Duck offense with turnovers. There's not much else to say there.
Even if Oregon State does all of the above, they're still not likely to actually emerge with more than a moral victory; Oregon is just that good. But they'll at least have a fighting chance, and if they catch a couple of breaks with the officials and in the turnover department, who knows? There could be one more shocker left in the college football season after all.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 4:09 pm
Posted by Jerry Hinnen
On paper, the stakes don't look all that high for this year's edition of the Apple Cup : Washington is 5-6 and a Pac-10 afterthought (again), and 2-9 Washington State is just hoping for another small step forward on the road to respectability. The Iron Bowl this is not.
But for the teams involved, this will be the biggest game of the year. The Huskies have a chance to end a bowl drought dating all the way back to 2002, an unthinkably long dry spell for a team with Washington's Pac-10 pedigree, and send seniors like Jake Locker off on a high note. The rest of the Pac-10 will have a vested interest in a Husky victory as well; of the league's three 5-6 teams aiming for bowl eligibility this weekend -- Washington, Arizona State , and Oregon State -- the Huskies have by far the easiest task with the Sun Devils facing Arizona and the Beavers the Oregon juggernaut.
But to hear Wazzu head coach Paul Wulff tell it, there still might be more on the line on the Cougar sideline, or at least for Wulff himself. As tweeted by the Seattle Times 's Bob Condotta:
Wulff, on Pac-10 conference call, says he's confident in the job he has done, but stops short of saying he knows for sure that he will be back next season. Said no question that WSU will be a bowl team next season.Putting aside the 2011 bowl talk (which would represent a quantum leap forward for a program that's still being outscored 34-18 on average in conference play), you'd think Wazzu would be happy to keep Wulff in place. The Cougars have consistently played hard for him, have dramatically improved the past two seasons (that average conference score for Wazzu in 2008? 50-9 ), have loads of Wulff's recruits returning next season, and frankly won't have a lot of top-tier candidates beating down their doors to coach on the Palouse if Wulff is dismissed.
But Wazzu athletic director Bill Moos has declined to make any kind of assurances that Wulff will be returning. That, paired with Wulff's own lack of confidence in his job status, would seem to point the tea leaves in the direction of Wulff's firing. After all, we saw this same movie a few days ago, when Vanderbilt 's Robbie Caldwell surprised many by saying midweek that he might be coaching his last game at Vandy; sure enough, he was gone before the week was out.
The good news for Wulff? An upset victory over the Cougars' most hated rival in front of the Wazzu faithful (the very faithful, by this point) would make Moos's decision to let him go dramatically more difficult, and maybe impossible. Wulff could quite possibly still save himself, even if it's highly debatable he ought to need saving in the first place.