The Stanford football team was every bit as big and tough as it was billed.
No doubt the Oregon State players are still feeling the effects from Saturday night’s 20-12 Pac-12 loss to the Cardinal at Reser Stadium
“It was physical, very, very physical,” OSU coach Mike Riley said. “Stanford’s that kind of team and it just turned into that kind of game.”
Saturday’s game left several OSU players banged up and many others physically drained.
Now the Beavers (6-2, 4-1) have a short week before taking on another tough, physical team in USC.
Like Stanford, the Trojans (5-3, 2-2) are a strong defensive team that can put pressure on the quarterback. They throttled Utah, 19-3, last Saturday and held the Utes to 201 total yards.
The game is on Friday (6 p.m. in Reser Stadium), so the Beavers lose a day to repair and prepare.
The Beavers will take it easy and Riley said they’ll cut about 15 minutes off each practice.
“We haven’t had many short weeks before, so it’s a little bit new for us,” offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said.
“We’ve cut it down a little bit trying to get them to be fresh for the game.”
There will be some changes to the practices as well.
“We’ll probably do a little more than a walk-through on Thursday,” Riley said. “That will be a different part of it.”
On Monday, the players went without pads and wore shorts with jerseys and helmets. The Beavers usually practice in pads to start the week.
It’s the first step to getting them rested up and ready for the Trojans.
“We’re going to try to get them off their feet a little bit and try to get them rested and healthy and fresh for Friday night,” Langsdorf said.
“We thought that our guys gave a great effort and played hard and played a tough game and I think everybody needed today to kind of recover a little more, an extra day to recover, so we decided to go shorts with them.”
While it’s an unusual situation for the players, most of the coaches are familiar with short weeks from time in the NFL or Canadian Football League.
Riley and his assistants are able to draw from experience in putting together a plan for the week.
A lot of emphasis will be on the thinking side of the game.
On the field, that means working on speedy execution, using vision on defense and sharpening up route running.
“We’re concentrating more on the mental,” defensive coordinator Mark Banker said. “The reaction part of it, the speed part of it as opposed to just the physical part of it and then we’ve just got to bring that along slow as the week goes.”
Off the field it means staying up to speed on the plays and learning as much as possible about the Trojans.
“I think we still can get all of our packages installed and we can have a little bit more meeting time and get them mentally ready,” Langsdorf said.
“I think this will be a good way to get them to freshen up for Friday, to be able to take some of the practice off of them physically and then a little bit more time mentally in the classroom.”