After a disappointing defensive performance at Arizona last weekend, Oregon State interim coach Cory Hall said he was going to take on a bigger role on that side of the ball.
Hall said he tried to simplify things and allow the players to feel comfortable and just fly around and have fun.
"The biggest thing is just making sure everyone's on the same page, and I think we did a good job of that this week," Hall said. "Just making sure things were cleaned up, making sure things were clear and concise and that the players really understood.
"I'm not chopping anybody's legs from under them, that's not my job here. I just wanted to make sure everything was clear."
Hall said the players reacted very well to the situation.
"They loved it, because it's who they are and what they do and it's what they're comfortable with. It's a coach's job to put players in positions that they feel comfortable in. We can sit back as coaches and we can draw Xs and Os but it's never about the Xs and Os, it's about the Jimmys and the Joes," he said.
"You want to make sure you're doing everything possible for them to run around and feel (good) about themselves, not feel like they don't have a chance, and I think the staff did a good job of that this week in preparation."
Saturday's game against Arizona State will be the final home game for 16 Oregon State seniors.
Hall said he's excited for the future of those players and that they will get to play one final game at Reser Stadium.
"I think of players like Brandon Arnold — he played his whole career here as a Beaver — and the emotions and the things that they are going to go through, because I remember my senior year and my last year at Bulldog Stadium and what that meant," Hall said. "And you've got other guys who are going to complete their collegiate careers at home and then drawing near as we approach the Civil War.
"You've got to contain your emotions, you've still got to play a football game, but it's still going to be a special time, a special moment."
Hall said running back Trevorris Johnson, who was suspended indefinitely, is back with the team and will be available to play against ASU.
Senior linebacker Manase Hungalu is listed as questionable going into the game and Hall said he will be a game-time decision.
"He's still plugging along," Hall said. "We'll see how he's doing, how he's feeling, if he's able to give us the effort that we need."
Running back Ryan Nall has been named to the CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) Academic All-District 8 Team, it was announced on Thursday.
It is the first career national academic award for Nall, who now has an opportunity to earn Academic All-America honors. He is a speech communication major with a minor in leadership.
First- and second-team Academic All-Americans will be announced in December.
2018 schedule released
Oregon State's 2018 schedule was released on Thursday morning.
The Beavers do not have a Thursday game but the Civil War will be played on a Friday.
OSU starts the season at Ohio State, which will be an interesting road trip for the players. The Ohio State game had already been announced.
"I think it's big. Any time in your career when you are able to play in a stadium that is so rich in history, it's going to be big," Hall said.
"It's going to mean a lot. I know when it came out, a few of them saw that and were excited about it because how many times in a career are you going to be able to play against an Ohio State? How many times are you going to play against an Alabama? So as these schedules come out, obviously you want the kind of players on your team that are excited about those opportunities. So I'm excited for them and I'm excited to see how they progress and perform."
Hall said he missed out on playing Ohio State by one season while he was at Fresno State but did play at another big-name school.
"I was fortunate enough to be able to go play against Auburn," he said. "And that was exciting, playing in front of 90-plus thousand fans and just being a part of that."