The 'H' Jinx and Can Someone Catch Catchings?
April 20, 2009
Corvallis, Ore. -
Back in the day, personnel from Washington State University sent every Football Writers Association member a plain white envelope with a leaf in it. The leaf was to bring attention to quarterback Ryan Leaf, who briefly played for Beaver head coach Mike Riley with the San Diego Chargers, to promote the prototypical NFL quarterback for the Heis…, uh, that prestigious award that is presented to nation’s top college football player.
Today, are those catchy gimmicks necessary to win that award? That’s debatable. You still receive an occasional notebook from a school featuring its top player (s) and Missouri even sent viewfinders (the kind from your youth) to promote Chase Daniel last year.
With the worldwide web, Twitter and nationally televised games seemingly every day of the week, those gimmicks are starting to become passé. What really works? It’s hard to say, but running for 186 yards and two touchdowns in beating the No. 1 team in the country with ESPN’s “A” crew in town probably is the optimal way to go about a campaign.
Which brings us to sophomore running back Jacquizz Rodgers, the 2008 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. Ken Goe of The Oregonian is one of many that have mentioned “Quizz” as a candidate for that award, and without a doubt he is worthy of such anointment. But does it merit a full-fledged media blitz? I guess it comes to knowing what your program is about and who Quizz really is. Riley has made this program into more than just one player or even one team; it truly is an all encompassing program. Then there is Quizz, who along with his brother James, are two of the most humble “kids” you’ll ever meet and who put the team first in all instances.
OSU personnel discussed with Riley during the winter what he thought of promoting the Rodgers brothers, specifically Quizz, for some big things. Riley on the whole idea -- “I don’t know, let’s just see how things play out over the course of the year; maybe it’s something we can consider next year. Our recent success and overcoming slow starts hasn’t been about one guy, it’s been about a team – that’s what’s important.”
Don’t think that there won’t be some grass roots out-of-the-public eye promotion of Quizz, Quan or any other deserving Beaver. That approach seemed to work well in 2005 when Mike Hass and Alexis Serna snared national awards during ESPN's College Football Awards Show in December – from a team that went 5-6.
Enough about this awards stuff, let’s get back to today’s business on the field. Check out Beaver Nation Online as Mike was on the receiving end of questions from his son Matt (OSU Video) and daughter Kate. “What is this, family day?” quarterback Lyle Moevao said of the dynamics. I guess so, remember Oregon State for two years running is the most “family friendly program” in the nation. Also spotted on the sidelines were Debbie Banker and two of Mark’s daughters, and Laurie Cavanaugh.
If Monday was a scrimmage, junior receiver Darrell Catchings would have rivaled his 251 yards receiving from Friday’s performance. He’s looked like he did back in August of his freshman season when he had Beaver fans salivating.
“He played in the shadows of Sammie (Stroughter) for a while, but now he’s really stepped up and shown what he can do,” senior cornerback Tim Clark said during practice. Clark promptly went out on the next play and perfectly defended Catchings, however No. 15 made a nice grab on a perfect pass from Ryan Katz. To be fair to Clark and the rest of the secondary have had to defend receivers while the quarterbacks have not been pressured.
“That is a little false,” Riley said of the receivers’ numbers from Friday. “Personally, I think it’s good for everybody. The quarterbacks get to throw, the linebackers get to keep doing what they are doing and the cornerbacks have to stay in coverage. Would they all have been (caught)? No. There would have been sacks Friday (and Monday too).”
On the injury front, Patrick Henderson and Brandon Hardin returned to practice today on a limited basis. Kaulin Krebs (left knee) and Brennan Olander (foot) were on the sidelines, but Olander could be back by the end of spring practice according to Riley. Also, good news on offensive lineman Michael Lamb as he won’t require surgery on his left knee and should be back to full strength by August, according to him.
As for the top media in the state -- Paul Buker of The Oregonian is working on a story on the cornerbacks from the relative safety of the Valley Football Center, Cliff Kirkpatrick of the Gazette-Times is writing a piece on the special teams, and Bob Clark of the Register-Guard will have a story on freshman tailback Jovan Stevenson in the coming days. Nick Daschel, an OSU graduate, also attended – look for his summary on Bustersports.com.
Back on the field Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Nike personnel will be in town to have Beaver players test new gear – hopefully we will have a photo of what we can’t show you.
OSU Spring Football practices are scheduled for Monday, Wednesday and Friday from March 30 – April 29 beginning at 3 p.m. The spring season culminates with the Spring Game, May 2 at Reser Stadium at noon. Tickets for the Spring Game can be purchased beginning Monday, April 6 at the OSU Ticket Office in Room 107 of Gill Coliseum. Support Oregon State University Athletics by making your tax deductible donation to the Beaver Athletic Student Fund. For more information follow this link or call 541-737-2370. You can make an “everyday champion.” Follow Beaver Athletics on twitter.