Cory Hall was not quite his normal high-energy self when he arrived at the press conference following Oregon State's 49-28 Pac-12 football loss at Arizona last Saturday.
The Beavers were a mess on defense. They knew the run game was coming with quarterback Khalil Tate leading the Wildcats' read option, but failed to even come close to slowing it down.
OSU gave up a single-game Arizona record 534 total yards on the ground with Tate running for 206 yards and two touchdowns and running backs J.J. Taylor and Nick Wilson going for 129 and 101 yards, respectively.
That performance, coupled with allowing Cal's Patrick Laird to rush for 214 yards in the previous game, led Hall to the decision to take a more active role with the defense.
"We've got to put our players in situations to where they feel comfortable and can get lined up and execute the details of their assignment," Hall said on Monday. "When you watch something like that and you see it two weeks in a row, starting with Cal and you saw it again manifest itself in Arizona, it's very telling.
"My role is a hard suggestion. We've got to make sure we're doing what's best for our players. And it's not a question, it's a demand. And so that's what will happen. The players will be protected and the players will be able to play football fast and effectively, which is kind of like what you saw against Stanford."
Hall said the Beavers will simplify some aspects of their defense and keep it basic for the players.
"Sometimes you need to just let players line up and play," he said.
Similar scheme, different style
Arizona State runs a spread option offense but the approach is not quite the same as Arizona's.
While the Wildcats run the ball almost exclusively, the Sun Devils are more balanced and throw more than they run. ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins has thrown for 2,588 yards and 12 touchdowns and receiver N'Keal Harry has 66 catches for 889 yards.
"Obviously, Arizona State's quarterback is not Khalil Tate. Now he will pull it in the read option, he'll pull it, but he's not as prone to pull it as much as Khalil Tate," Hall said. "You're still going to deal with the inside zone and the outside zone, the stretch.
"This quarterback can drop back and he can throw as well. So now this is more of a defensive game that's going to be more complete, to now we've got to stop the run but we also have to defense the pass because they have some weapons out there with N'Keal Harry and crew."
The Beavers have been dealing with a banged up cornerback group for most of the season, but were fairly healthy for Arizona.
"Isn't it ironic that we have four healthy corners versus an Arizona team that couldn't really throw?" Hall said. "And so now you go into a game where you need them and now Shawn Wilson is questionable again."
The Beavers do have Jay Irvine back, and Isaiah Dunn and Kyle White should be available.
"So now you expect to get into somewhat of a healthy rotation at that position and it couldn't come at a better time getting ready to prepare for Arizona State," Hall said.
Hall said Christian Wallace's situation at OSU is still uncertain.
Wallace, a four-star recruit, was granted his release from the program last week due to personal reasons. But Wallace could choose to stay.
"When life happens, then it's a delicate situation," Hall said. "It's not about football with Christian Wallace. I'll just say that."
Tickets for veterans
Oregon State is offering two complimentary tickets to Saturday's game against Arizona State to verified military personnel, including both active personnel and veterans.
Service members and veterans can also purchase additional tickets for 50 percent off regular price.
To get tickets, go online to bit.ly/2mmw7yx.