By Kevin Hampton
No. 6 Washington at Oregon St.
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Line: Huskies by 27
California at Oregon
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Line: Ducks by 14
CORVALLIS — The bye week is over and Oregon State now faces one of its biggest challenges of the season Saturday when No. 6 Washington comes to Corvallis.
“A lot of people talk about the weapons that they have on the offensive side of the ball and quite frankly on the defensive side of the ball and special teams,” Beavers coach Gary Andersen said of the Huskies (4-0 overall, 1-0 Pac-12).
“To me, the group that needs to be talked about also is the defensive and offensive lines.
“Very talented kids. They change the game, play the game right with big, physical kids. They do a nice job with the offensive line and defensive line.”
The Huskies have an elite special teams threat in Dante Pettis, who has an NCAA record eight career punt returns for touchdowns.
Andersen said the Beavers will try to keep the ball away from Pettis as much as possible.
“He’s a big, long kid that can cover distance, too. So if you’re going to get it away from him it has to be a pretty good kick to get it away from the kid,” Andersen said. “So we’ll scheme it up. The key is to get the ball in the air. He is very calculated on his opportunities when they’re going to come his way.”
The Beavers’ three losses have been by an average of 31.3 points, and their only win is a narrow 35-32 victory against FCS Portland State.
“In the simplest terms I suppose you would say it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to in the critical situations and scenarios,” Andersen said. “We need to definitely coach that and the kids need to focus in on it and you need to make sure the fundamentals, the techniques, are all in those positions in that situation. We need to put kids in position to make the right decisions at the moment when they need to make the right decisions.
“That has been a little disappointing in the first games. There’s streaks where it looks very good and there’s other times when it doesn’t, and that needs to go away for us to compete at a high level.”
The Beavers practiced through their bye week but took the weekend off while the coaches went out recruiting.
“This was in a good spot,” Andersen said. “It was good recruiting for the coaches to be able to get out there, it was the first week of school for the kids, so that transition was clean. I thought that went very well for them and they’re back into the flow of school now. So it was good timing.”
Beavers trying to target TE Togiai more
With tight end Noah Togiai healthy this season, it looked as if he would be a consistent target in the passing game for the Beavers.
Togiai had a fast start to the season with seven catches for 67 yards and a touchdown at Colorado State and five for 95 against Portland State, but he had just two receptions against Minnesota and none at Washington State.
Coach Andersen said the Beavers need to find a way to get Togiai the ball.
“I’d like Noah to be more of a factor in the throw game and catch some balls,” Andersen said. “I think he’s definitely a weapon that we need to make sure we’re doing our best to use and we all know we could definitely throw the ball better, so if Noah added a few catches every game that would be a great thing.”
— Corvallis Gazette-Times