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Oregon St. Q&A with Jake Bertalotto of ‘Build the Dam’

The staff of AZ Desert Swarm had some questions about the Oregon St. Beavers heading into the game this Saturday. Jake Bertalotto of SB Nation’s ‘Build the Dam’ was kind enough to answer them for us.


1. What is your biggest concern with regard to the Oregon St. offense matching up against the Arizona defense? (The Arizona defense is currently ranked #2 in the nation, and has allowed a touchdown to only one team.)

JB- The biggest concern, like it was against TCU and BSU, is how well the front five will handle the pass rush. Ryan Katz is getting into the swing of things at quarterback, but he still needs more time to throw than average. Plus, Arizona's interior rush hurts Jacquizz Rodgers and the running game. If the linemen can hold their ground and protect Katz, it will aid both the passing and the running game. Oregon State needs to establish both.

2. How do you think the Oregon State defense will fare against Foles and company?

JB- Hard to say, because the OSU defense showed a lot of improvement against Arizona State. Is it because they're actually getting better? Or is it because the Beavers are out of the dreaded month of September? It could be a little of both. I am concerned with both the pass defense and run defense frankly, but the first thing that comes to mind when I think about the UA offense is Foles' ability to pick defenses apart. OSU's pass coverage hasn't been stellar so far this year, and Foles is just the guy who can exploit it. The linebackers, too, need to continue their improvement over the past few weeks. Nic Grigsby is a good back and the linebackers need to do their part to not allow any extra yards after the first hit.

More questions from joenewby4040 and Smooty after the jump.

3. Do you consider this to be a ‘must-win’ game? Why?

JB- Yeah… simply because the Beavers have been in this situation twice before this season and come up a bit short. If the BSU and TCU games served any purpose at all, those experiences should allow OSU to win tomorrow. It seems like given three opportunities to upset a top ten team, a Mike Riley coached team would at least get one, right?

4. If this becomes a close game, what will be the deciding factor?

JB- Probably a combination of Katz's ability to execute in the two minute drill, and special teams. I can see a similar situation to the one the Beavers were in last time, when they drove the field and Kahut won the game on a field goal. But punting, and kick coverage will also play a big role as well. Oregon State can't afford not to win the special teams battle.


1. What do you think Oregon St. got out of playing TCU and Boise St. early in the season?

JB- Experience, hopefully. We won't know for certain what they got out of it until this season plays out. They've played good opponents and come up just a tad short, so the thought is that once the Beavers actually improve, they'll be in a position to win games like this.

2. Did the Beavers give up too many of their abilities early in the season by "showing all of their cards" to the rest of the Pac-10?

JB- I don't think so... there was nothing earth shattering that the Beavers did in the first three games from a scheme standpoint. I think most Pac-10 coaches know what Riley's offense brings to the table. So no, I don't think so.


1. Who, besides the Rogers brothers should Arizona fans be worried about?

JB- Oregon State was successful last week in the passing game without James Rodgers. So watch out for guys like Aaron Nichols, Darrell Catchings, Marcus Wheaton, and Joe Halahuni. Those are about all the offensive weapons who could get into the mix on Saturday besides James and Jacquizz.

2. On a scale of one to ten, how frustrating is it as a Beavers fan to watch OSU stumble out of the gates every season?

JB- It's frustrating, but somewhat easy to forget about when the late season success comes around. I think all Oregon State fans want to see the team start faster every year, but it the team can finish strong on a regular basis, that's more important. It's more annoying than frustrating, although this team needs to find it's way into the Rose Bowl sooner rather than later.

3. Your head coach, Mike Reilly, is one of the calmest field generals around. What do you think of our head coach, Mike Stoops?

JB- I don't have much of a personal opinion-- I think Stoops is a brilliant defensive mind, although he can lose his cool at times. Oregon State has to respect what his Arizona team has done this season--- it should be one heck of a game tomorrow.

4. Dennis Erickson: Merely hate, or realllllly hate? Expand.

JB- It's hard to hate a guy who had such a big role in turning the OSU program around. For that reason, I don't think there's much hatred at all. He does have a distinct style when it comes to the attitude and swagger of his teams. Arizona State had it last week, but his teams at Oregon State had it too. Hard to bash on the guy.

Thanks to Mr. Bertalotto for taking the time to answer our questions. Although he passed on an opportunity to bash on the Sun Devils’ head coach, (Lost some points there…), his answers were interesting.

Disagree with anything he said? Let us know in the comments.