“Wrecking” Nall comes to Martin Stadium in WSU’s conference opener

Photo Credit: Andy Cripe/Gazette- Times

Gary Anderson’s Oregon State (1-2) squad hasn’t a very good start to their season, as they’ve been blown out by their two FBS foes and needed a comeback to beat Portland State. The Beavers will be bringing with them running back Ryan “Wrecking” Nall, the first really dynamic tailback No. 21 Washington State (2-0) will face this season.

While the Beaver offense, as a whole, has been atrocious in the first quarter of the season, Nall has been doing Ryan Nall things. During their first game against Colorado State by carrying the ball 15 times for 115 yards…but 75 of those yards came on his only touchdown of the game. His touchdown against the Rams is a great demonstration of what makes the junior so difficult to defend; watch how he hits the hole, then finds an opening in the second level of the defense before turning on the jets to outrace everyone to the end zone.

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Credit: CougCenter

The Beavers’ offense does a great job of setting-up this play with how the blocking scheme is set-up to seal off the lanes for Nall to get him into the secondary. It’s going to be a challenge for Alex Grinch’s unit to try and stop; if WSU’s defensive line and its linebackers can’t use their speed to get around their blockers…then it will be a long day up front.

What will make it harder for Oregon State, is if the Cougars build up a huge lead and they have to throw the ball. Quarterback Jake Luton has struggled to adapt to the Air Raid concepts that are present in Anderson’s offense.

OSU’s version is pretty similar. They’re obviously not in the red zone, so their Mesh is run a little deeper, and it’s a post by their outside receiver instead of a slant. Their receivers aren’t quite as adept at the mesh as they end up almost stacked—instead of on the inside shoulders of the zone defenders—when they settle. But schematically, it’s like looking in a mirror. Jake Luton, unfortunately, just misses the wheel to Trevon Bradford.” — Jesse Cassino, CougCenter

Watch OSU’s version of the wheel/mesh below.

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Credit: CougCenter

Grinch’s defensive unit will have some experience against the concepts and routes that the Beavers will be running on Saturday. Since they’ll be familiar with the concepts, don’t be surprised if the defense gets aggressive and attempts to jump some of the routes when Luton does step back to pass; which could lead to some big plays for the Beavers…or some turnovers.

Offensively, this is a big game for Washington State quarterback Luke Falk as the redshirt senior hasn’t been right since the second half of the 2016 Colorado game. Falk has been reluctant to take shots down field, even when wide receivers are hitting the holes in the defense down field; instead he’s been hitting the dump down passes to his running backs. Since the Beavers are missing two of their starting cornerbacks, so this will be the opportunity for Falk to get in comfortable with his new wide receivers on deep shots during live games.

For true freshmen Jamire Calvin, this is going to be a great chance for him and his quarterback to get comfortable in the offense together.

Prediction

Wrecking Nall will rip off a couple of big runs early, including a touchdown dash that goes for 50+ yards. But eventually Grinch’s defense will come up with a scheme to clock the lanes and overcome the Beavers’ blocking schemes, which will force the ball into Luton’s hands…and flip the advantage to the Cougars.

Offensively, Falk takes a bit to get going; but he hits Tavares Martin Jr. on a couple of deep shots and Calvin starts to show off more of his athletic brilliance as he gets comfortable with the redshirt senior. The offense finally starts to click and buries Oregon State by the end of the third quarter.

Oregon State Beavers                           21

No. 21 Washington State Cougars     58

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