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BN Gameday Roundup: Streaking In Corvallis

<em>Can the Bruin DEFENSE get after it again? Photo Credit: <a href="" target="new">jgtitan (flickr)</a></em>
Can the Bruin DEFENSE get after it again? Photo Credit: jgtitan (flickr)

Let's start this game day with perspective from the other side. Oregon State is looking to bounce back after a tough loss against Southern Cal last weekend at the Mausoleum. Bruins coming in with an 0-4 record in the conference and seemingly lost and confused in a number of departments seems to present the perfect matchup for the Beavers to get back into their winning mode. While there are some positive data points on the side of the Bruins, everyone is pretty much expecting the Riley's team to cruise to a homecoming win.

The set up has Coach Riley worried just a little bit or at least he is working hard to give Bruins respect in public:

[I]f Oregon State players got online this week and checked out what the media had to say about UCLA they might come away thinking, "How hard can this be?"

That is exactly what Riley fears. [...]

Riley's keys to the game are right out of Coaching 101:

"We've got to block a very good defensive front so we can run effectively and get in good (down and distance situations) so we can pass the ball," he said.

"Whether it's first down, third down or red zone, we have to have balance."

This might be a game where having no pass rush (an NCAA-low four sacks in seven games) does not matter, but Riley said if OSU doesn't "stop the run, make plays in the secondary and pressure the passer" it could be a long day.

On paper, this is more likely a long day for UCLA. But given Riley's track record against the Bruins, maybe not.

"We'll get," he said, "their best shot."

Mike Riley IMHO is probably the classiest coach in the entire Pac-10. Yes he does have an ugly record against UCLA (1-10). He didn't win his first game against the Bruins until last year at the Rose Bowl. Still I think at this point he is being gracious about the outlook of today's matchup.

Right now it's not clear to me whether we are going to give the Beavers our best shot this afternoon (1 pm PST). We are certainly hoping that will be the case. However, I think today's game IMO could turn out to be Neuheisel's rock bottom weekend in Westwood (at least to date ... we still have the Pullman trip left on our schedule). Over the years we have heard a lot about CRN's ability to motivate his coaches and players. Well today we are going to find out how he and his program can deal with real adversity against one of the better coached team in BCS conferences. More notes after the jump.

It's too bad majority of us will not get to watch the game. Otherwise, we would probably get to see Richard Brehaut get first half action for the first time in his college career. Per Jon Gold's article in the Daily News, it sounds like coaches are going to try to keep the offensive packages for Brehaut a little more manageable:

"Every time I've gone in, I've gone out there and just been slinging the rock all around," Brehaut said. "But I haven't really had a chance to go through the whole game plan and have my run checks. Every time I've gone in, we've been down, so I've been throwing the ball. I think defenses were keying on that, and that's why I've struggled a little bit. They were just bringing guys.

"Now I can go in there and move the chains not just throwing the ball, but make my run checks."

That doesn't mean Brehaut won't take chances if they are there, though.

He can chuck it with the rest of them.

He just wants to prove he can lead an offense in the little things, too.

"When you know what you're doing and what the defense is doing, you can let your athletic ability take over and just play," Brehaut said. "I've always gone out there and my goal has been to have fun. I can't play all uptight and worry about making mistakes. You should be able to go out there and just let it fly."

While Brehaut is looking forward to playing in more manageble game situations, Prince is looking to get more aggressive:

"It's tough to go out there and do it when so much is on the line, but you have to take that risk sometimes," Prince said. "It's something I'm trying to develop, that gunslinger attitude. I want to get the ball downfield and make big plays."

Those are encouraging words from Prince. I think he has been a little too tentative in last few weeks. He needs to get some of the swagger back which he clearly had during the first half against San Diego State and during key stretches against Tennessee. He has the tools. He just has to do a better job of making decisions faster and getting the ball to the right guys. I know that sounds so much easier to write. However, the key is to let it go a little and get rid of the sense of fear that seems to have handcuffed this team last few weekends. For more on the game check out the LAT coverage here and here.

I don't have any sense of delusional hope heading into today's game. The game is not on television.I am not going to be one of those who will try to blank out online and television until the tape delay so that I can watch the replay in suspense. I will be following the updated scores and also the game thread.  An ugly loss is not going to be fun. I don't care much for moral victories either, which means I ma not going to watch the replay to look for silver linings.

So I think it is going to be a tough day for all of us. Still I will be curious to hear from those who are going to be at Reser stadium this afternoon. I will be interested in hearing what our coaches and players have to say. At this point for me this season can be salvaged if we can pull out 6 wins. We might hit rock bottom this afternoon but there will still be enough time left this season for us to climb back slowly starting with a huge home game next weekend.

Anyway, we will see how it turns out. The game starts at 1 pm PST. I will put up our game thread around 12:30 pm PST with links to WWL, Sportsline, and the game tracker to our official site. Again for those of you who are at the game today, if you can chime in during the comment thread that would be great. Same goes for those who are out in LA area listening to the radio broadcast. Periodic updates in the game thread will be much appreciated.

No matter how tough it is going to get we will be in this together.