Trent Bray Says Beaver Football Will Be A Blue-Collar, Smash-Mouth, And Physical Program Under His Leadership

750 The Game Staff

Signing day has come and gone, and OSU fans are already starting to look forward to spring football in Corvallis.

It is officially year one for the Trent Bray era at Oregon State. The new Beavers head coach joined John Canzano (Afternoons 3-6 p.m.) on Thursday to talk about the state of his roster, his plan for spring practices, and the style of play he is looking to implement in 2024.

Bray was announced as the new head coach back on Nov. 28th, replacing Jonathan Smith who left for Michigan State. Canzano asked Bray what he has learned about his job since taking over the head role.

“How little of football on a daily basis that I would do,” Bray said with a laugh. “That’s probably the least of my jobs. I kind of knew that, but I really figured it out since I got the job.”

Bray said he is looking forward to spring practice, which he said will begin on March 5th and go over two phases with spring break in between.

“I kind of thought a lot about how is practice going to look for me,” he said. “Because I can’t just stand there and twirl my whistle. I got to be involved. I’ve thought about that a lot, and find ways to involve myself without stepping on the coaches toes and letting them do their job at the same time.”

Bray says there will be a lot of evaluation going on of the roster, with some younger returning players on the squad along with nineteen new players who joined the program in the offseason.

“Mostly, I like the talent that is on the team, both guys that we brought in and guys that were here. It’s now – OK, how do we get them to gel, become a team, learn how to play with each other, learn how to build that bond, that makes Oregon State such a great place really from now until the season starts.”

As for what he expects out of his program in year one, Bray isn’t holding back.

“Our expectations are high and I want them to be high,” he told Canzano. “I think our talent level of where we’re at is as good as it’s been. I think it’s just going to be a bunch of new guys learning how to play together. And that’s going to be the difference in our season, in my opinion, is how well those guys come together. Because we’ve been fortunate over the last couple of years, those guys have played together for multiple years, they’ve built up that trust in each other. We’re going to have to do that in a short amount of time.”

Fans grew accustomed to a certain style of play on both sides of the ball in Jonathan Smith’s tenure, one that featured a heavy dose of the run game and a defense, led by Bray, that thrived on high effort. Bray said that level of physicality will certainly shine through with his program.

“I feel great about the season,” he said. “I think our identity is going to be blue collar, tough, smash mouth, physical football. That’s going to separate us from the rest of the teams that we’re going to play.”

Bray will be helped by a strong coaching staff, including new defensive coordinator and fellow OSU alum Keith Heyward, who comes back to Oregon State after spending last season as a defensive quality control coach for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

“Super intelligent,” Bray said of Heyward. “Knows ball. Has coached at different levels of defense in the secondary, at linebacker. I’ve known him forever, we’ve clinic-ed together in the past, we just see things the same way. But he’s also going to bring things from all the places he’s been, the NFL, different places in the country, that will help add new wrinkles to what we do and make us better.”

Canzano asked about the level of trust Bray needs to have in his coaching staff and how vital that trust is to building a culture at Oregon State.

“I think it’s huge, and it might be the most important,” Bray said. “Especially nowadays the way college football is, just the way the world is now. Everyone’s an independent contractor, everyone’s out for themselves. Being able to have people that you know and trust that you know are going to do their job and do it the way that we want it done, I think that’s huge.”

Bray says spring ball will begin on Tuesday, March 5th, and will run for two weeks before taking a week off for Spring break and coming back together for the finishing stretch of practices.

“I think it’s great to break up spring ball,” Bray said of his schedule. “If you do just a month straight, and I’ve done that with other staffs, with no game, with nothing really to look forward to, it can become monotonous. The last couple practices or so really become unproductive. And so breaking it up allows us as coaches to go back and review the first two weeks, what do we like, what do we need to clean up, do we want to continue to move forward in the install or hey, we got to slow down. And it also gives the kids a break and I’ve found when they come back, they’re re-energized, and those last nine practices are just a lot better.”

Oregon State opens the regular season on Aug. 31st hosting Idaho State before visiting San Diego State on Sept. 7th, and hosting the rival Oregon Ducks in Sept. 14th in what will the the first edition of the Civil War rivalry since Oregon’s move to the Big Ten.

Listen to the full interview with Trent Bray on John Canzano’s Bald Faced Truth at the podcast below.

John Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.