Beavers back from bye to face Wildcats

For his first bye as Oregon State’s coach, Gary Andersen took some time last weekend to watch other teams play. No doubt he paid some attention to Arizona.

The Beavers (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12) visit the Wildcats (3-2, 0-2) this weekend in Tucson. With its new spread offense, Oregon State goes against a coach – Rich Rodriguez – who innovated the no-huddle, run-oriented spread.

”I really do try to study. I think it’s important to take a look back. I can’t say I sit down and study everybody’s tape or what everybody’s league is doing, but I do go back and try to look to see some critical situations or some scenarios that come up in games that you can potentially learn from,” Andersen said. ”There’s always something out there every single week that you can learn from.”

The coach also took advantage of the bye week to do some recruiting, and took some time to watch his son Chasen, a redshirt freshman linebacker at Utah State, make the first two tackles of his college career in a 38-18 victory over Colorado State in Logan, Utah.

The Beavers players, in the meantime, got a few days off to rest up for the meat of the conference schedule. Oregon State is coming off a 42-24 loss at home to Stanford, the team’s Pac-12 opener.

The Beavers continued to see good things from freshman quarterback Seth Collins, who passed for 275 yards and a touchdown while rushing for another score against Stanford, and Jordan Villamin, who caught seven passes for 138 yards.

Linebacker Caleb Saulo had a career-best 13 tackles and caused a fumble, one of two turnovers for the Beavers’ defense. Fellow linebacker Rommel Mageo ranks fourth in the Pac-12 with an average of 9 tackles per game.

”It was a positive week. We went back to some very basics, fundamental-wise,” Andersen said. ”I believe it was mission accomplished.”

The Beavers will face a slumping Arizona team that has been hit by key injuries.

After three wins to open the season, the Wildcats have dropped consecutive games to ranked opponents; a 56-30 loss to UCLA and a 55-17 loss last weekend to Stanford.

Quarterback Anu Solomon did not play against the Cardinal because of a concussion he sustained against the Bruins. But because he practiced Tuesday, it was looking likely that he’d play against the Beavers.

Senior Jerrard Randall made his first career start in Solomon’s absence against the Cardinal, passing for 178 yards and running for another 67, but he was struggling with a hamstring injury.

Additionally, All-American linebacker Scooby Wright is still sidelined after spraining his right foot against UCLA.

”Our guys have been pretty mature about everything, I have been pleased with their attitude,” Rodriguez said during his weekly press conference. ”I would be shocked and disappointed if our guys aren’t competing as best as they can every week.”

Oregon State has won the last three games against Arizona, but the two teams haven’t met since 2012, when Sean Mannion threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Connor Hamlett with 1:09 left for a 38-25 Beavers victory.

”We’re guaranteed, right now, 53 more practices, and that’s all we have as a football team together. If we want it to be more, then we’re gonna have to win some football games,” Andersen said. ”I want them to be in that moment.”