Returning Beavers want redemption from Las Vegas Bowl loss

2009-12-23T21:00:00Z Returning Beavers want redemption from Las Vegas Bowl lossBy Cliff Kirkpatrick, Gazette-Times Reporter Corvallis Gazette Times

LAS VEGAS - Oregon State football players and coaches scattered across the country on Wednesday after being pummeled in Tuesday night's Las Vegas Bowl.

They headed out to take a deep breath and collect themselves after a long season filled with varying degrees of success.

After losing 44-20 to BYU, there's plenty of soul searching to be done.

Seniors will move on with life, with some headed to train for an NFL opportunity.

Hugs and tears were shared on the field and in the locker room. Younger players felt bad for the seniors because the season ended on a two-game losing streak, and that they were bumped from the Rose Bowl in the last regular season game for the second year in a row.

The 12 seniors thanked everyone, then handed the team over and wished everyone luck.

"I'm disappointed but we'll go on," senior offensive guard Gregg Peat said. "The Beavers will have even more successful seasons."

Coaches will return to recruiting soon and begin preparations for the 2010 season. Those thoughts of rebuilding were the ointment for the team's bruised egos after Tuesday's performance.

"You have to form each team's identity and see what they can do," coach Mike Riley said. "A lot of guys when we start next year have been there, maybe twice. And so they know what's possible if they take care of business. But it's an uphill climb to get there."

The Beavers (8-5) made the season interesting with a run at the Pacific-10 Conference title. Being so close in their four losses this season made the idea of a blowout foreign.

An overall vibe moments after the loss came from the returning players of wanting to redeem themselves.

"In the offseason I have to take care of my teammates and do all the right things," defensive tackle Stephen Paea said. "This will be motivation for the next season."

The Jan. 12 reporting date for offseason conditioning is already etched in their datebook.

"When it comes to Jan. 12 we have to get back to the weight room when training starts," linebacker Keith Pankey said. "We have to work hard. We've been one game away (from the Rose Bowl) for two years.

"I'm not a believer in lucky No. 3, but if we put the work in, and with the talent we have coming back, we'll put a good team together."

The only thing missing on offense for 2010 is an established quarterback and one guard. Chances are the quarterback will be Ryan Katz, maybe Peter Lalich.

Katz showed his ability late in the game when he engineered a quick 46-yard touchdown drive, capped off with a 31-yard scoring strike to Damola Adeniji.

Experienced players who are starters or have been starters are in every position on defense.

"I have a ton of hope and excitement," Pankey said. "Even now I can't not think about next year. We have so many guys back. We have so much young talent, we might be a better defense next year than we've ever been."

That's why having some players go through a stunning bowl game defeat could help the program. The last time the Beavers lost a postseason game was to Pittsburgh in the 2002 Insight Bowl.

In a way, losing was like pressing the reset button.

"We just have to go in the offseason and work harder," running back Jacquizz Rodgers said. "We have to stop talking and just do it. That's all I got to say."

Copyright 2014 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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