Jonathan Smith Knows The Challenge That Wilcox, Cal Present To Oregon State


The No. 15 Oregon State Beavers (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) hit the road on Saturday night to pay a visit to Justin Wilcox and the California Golden Bears (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12). The game kicks off at 7:00 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.

Beavers head coach Jonathan Smith joined John Canzano (afternoons 3-6 p.m.) for his weekly conversation on 750 The Game and broke down the scouting report on the Golden Bears.

“On the offensive end, they’ve moved the ball a bunch,” Smith said of the Cal offense on 750 The Game. “They’re running a lot of plays. Yardage is balanced. They can run the thing. Really, they should have beat Auburn. Multiple opportunities in the red zone and couldn’t finish the deal and that caught them a little bit in that one game. They’re 4-1 if they handle business in the red zone.

“They’re potent offensively, they can finish drives, they’re really scary. And defensively — sound, solid, make you earn it, physical. Justin’s been running that scheme for a long time. They do it at a high level.”

The Beavers are coming off a 21-7 home win over then-No. 10 Utah last Friday night at Reser Stadium. Smith said the Cal defense presents some different challenges defensively than the Utes.

“Schemes are a little different. They’ll play a little bit different fronts. Utah’s pressures are a little bit different than what Justin and Cal likes to do. Obviously, the personnel is different. They got some really good players in some different spots. You look at Cal’s inside linebackers – Sirmon’s son (Jackson), he’s a good player. They got some secondary coverage disguise that’s really solid. So each week is a little bit different like that.”

In addition, Smith knows that Wilcox’s program is very hard to beat, year in and year out.

“You watch Cal, over the last few years, there’s no question, they don’t bow down to anybody, they can play with anybody, they’ve had some tight wins against some really good teams. They’ve got our full attention this weekend.”

Smith is not playing music or simulating any energy at practice this week as he prepares his team to bring its own energy to a different road environment on Saturday night in Berkeley.

“Just the change of pace, the environment is going to feel a little bit different,” Smith acknowledged. “So we’re trying to practice for the week of recognizing that. I will say, maybe the environment – there might be a few empty seats. Crowd noise isn’t as loud. The student section maybe not as good as some of the other road games that we’re going to play at. But the team we’re going to play, we’re going to need to bring some serious energy and focus and physicality, because that’s who we’re playing. Whatever environment we’re in. We got to come out (with energy).

“I know Cal’s going to be humming. They’re so similar to us. We’re 1-1, they’re 1-1. They’re just coming off a home win, we’re doing the same. They got a lot in front of them too, and they’ve got a lot to play for, so we’re going to have to play well down there.”

Listen to the full conversation with Jonathan Smith at the podcast below, and catch John Canzano delivering the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.