By T.J. Mathewson
Contributor, 750 The Game
You’ll have to give Jonathan Smith credit when he it comes to his aggressiveness: he’s consistent.
It happened again on Saturday night after Colorado lined up offsides on an Atticus Sappington extra point. Instead of declining the penalty and taking the point, Smith sent his offense back onto the field for the two-point play. The result is a lost fumble, and a Colorado return for two points the other way, making what would’ve been a 21-3 game a 20-5 game.
Smith has his reasoning, alongside all his peers at the college and NFL level who make the same decision. He referenced the “analysts chart” that says “go” given the distance. The quick math is you convert a two-point conversion about half the time from the original spot. When it goes half the distance to the goal, that jumps above 50 percent and justifies the two-point attempt (one point ~95 percent of the time or two points ~65-70 percent of the time).
“I feel really confident that (attempting that) from the 1.5-yard-line to double our points,” Smith said after the game. “I think we walk in the end zone if the snap is clean.”
The only reason this play was under as much scrutiny in the moment was because of the botched fake field goal last week. Smith owned up to that one, called it a mistake, and it ended up being the difference in the Beavers’ crushing loss in Tucson.
It paints a bigger picture, that while many laud Jonathan Smith for his culture-building, talent evaluation, and offensive pedigree, his ultra-aggressive approach to situations leaves many frustrated and begging for a more passive approach to the game.
As long as Jonathan Smith is leading this program, there’s not going to be a passive approach to the game. You have to take the good with the bad.
You have to be able to trust him in a situation like we saw at the end of the half, where Deion Sanders has his own spurt of ultra-aggressiveness backfire in his face, and Smith responds with a promptly aggressive throw into the end zone to Deshaun Fenwick to stretch the lead to double-digits at the half.
In any coach, you want consistency. You cannot sell your roster on your aggressive approach and only use it half the time. These guys are here playing for you because of a vision, and this is part of it. Nobody sounded more confident that they would convert the fake field goal a week ago than DJ Uiagalelei.
It’s the same message that recruited Aidan Chiles out of SoCal to play in Corvallis.
Hey, you’re going to play right away if you’re ready.
Hey, if we can go get more points, we will. We want to be aggressive.
With the win on Saturday, Jonathan Smith’s Beavers improved to 17-5 over the last two seasons, with two of the biggest games in that stretch remaining over the next three weeks. I know you and I have both watched what the Huskies and Ducks have done over the weeks since they played. Oregon State isn’t going to win those games with a passive approach.