The “truth room,” as outside linebacker Hamilcar Rashed Jr. called it, was probably not a lot of fun this past Sunday.
That's where Oregon State defensive coordinator Tim Tibesar isn’t afraid to pinpoint the miscues his defense makes each game, along with pointing out the positives.
There were plenty of the miscues following last Saturday’s 52-7 loss inside Reser Stadium.
“The first thing we’ve got to do as a coach is we’ve got to show it to them and tell them the truth and tell them what was good enough and what wasn’t good enough,” Tibesar said. “They’ve got to take responsibility for it just like we do as coaches and then you move on.
“… Our guys didn’t hide form it. It’s on tape, it’s there for everybody to see. You know who made mistakes, who made plays and who didn’t make plays. There’s no hiding from it.”
The players know what to expect.
“He’s going to tell you how it is and he’s not going to sugarcoat nothing,” Rashed said. “If you didn’t do as good as you should have he’s going to tell you. You got a minus on this technique and this is why.”
The Beavers (2-4, 1-2 Pac-12) hope to put together a far better defensive performance this Saturday when they hit the road to take on a California (4-2, 1-2) team coming off a bye. Kickoff is around 11:30 a.m.
“We have to come out and execute and start fast,” senior safety Shawn Wilson said. “We can’t wait until we get hit in the mouth to react on something. We have come out basically how we did at UCLA, we have to come out like that every single game.”
The Beavers have struggled at times this season with allowing teams to score early and often.
“I don’t think there has been one thing that has carried over from game to game and this is the reason why we haven’t stated fast,” Tibesar said.
Tibesar said the players have responded well this week and that is good because they “can’t let Utah beat us twice,” he said.
“Obviously that was an ugly showing all around and we’ve got to own it and move on and get ready for Cal,” he said. “… You don’t ever want to have a game like that but I’ve been coaching a long time. I’ve been on teams that were 9-0 and got their butts kicked like that and rebounded back. It’s just part of it in sports and that’s why you play the game.”
Oregon State will be facing a backup quarterback for the third time in the past four games as Devon Modster will make his second start for the injured Chase Garbers.
Modster has completed 23 of 49 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown with three interceptions.
The Golden Bears could lean heavily on the run game that is averaging around 134 yards a game. Cal has three backs with at least 44 carries with Christopher Brown leading the way with 106 attempts for 431 yards and three scores.
Cal is last in the conference at 331 total yards per game and 11th at 20.3 points per game.
The Golden bears' strength is on defense as the Golden Bears are allowing just 18.3 points per game.
The catalyst is Evan Weaver, who leads the conference with 84 tackles and 14.0 per game.
“He’s been doing it for a while,” coach Jonathan Smith said. “That guy is instinctive around the ball, a physical tackler with good hands and does a good job recognizing where the quarterback is looking and getting in passing lanes, besides the fact that he can just tackle all over the place. He’s presents some real problems.”
Added offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren: “The thing you notice about their defense is they’re really sound and they do a great job of tackling. They don’t give up a lot of big plays. So (Weaver) is someone we have to be aware of in the run game and pass game on where he’s at and he’s going to be a challenge.”
Lindgren said the Bears’ defense is similar in scheme to what the Beavers run so that could help the offense out some.
“They’ll give you some different looks but the thing that always stands out to me is they are extremely sound and disciplined in what they do,” he said. “The players know the system, they play extremely hard and they don’t miss a lot of tackles. So when you may hit something they’re not giving up a lot of big plays.”
Added receiver Isaiah Hodgins: “They have a lot of similar coverages and similar schemes so a lot of things we are going to see we’ve seen throughout fall camp and practice all the time. So I feel like we’ve been getting good looks and kind of know what’s coming. With more film study and preparation we’re going to know even better.”
The Beavers hope to rebound on both sides of the ball this week and head into their second bye week with a little momentum. Getting to start in the morning might just help.
“It’s a great time to play football,” Wilson said. “You basically wake up, brush your teeth, eat and you’re playing. I think that’s a great atmosphere for football instead of waiting and all you’ve got all this time.”