Oregon State football finished the 2017 season at a new low, going winless in Pac-12 play. Can the Beavers rebuild under alumnus Jonathan Smith?
Following the 2017 season, Oregon State hired former Beavers quarterback Jonathan Smith as their head football coach. Smith has been groomed for the position as the co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Chris Petersen at Washington the past four years. Before Seattle, Smith coached quarterbacks at Boise State, Montana (where he served as offensive coordinator) and Idaho. His graduate assistant work was done at Oregon State after he finished playing for the Beavers.
Smith was a quarterback under spread passing guru Dennis Erickson. The well-traveled Erickson spent four seasons in Corvallis, OR in between NFL stints. The duo of Smith and Erickson gave the Beavers their first winning season, a 7-5 year in 1999, in 29 years and their first bowl appearance in 35 years. In 2000, Erickson’s squad featured Smith at quarterback, and future NFL wide receivers Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and TJ Houshmandzadeh. OSU decimated Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl with a 41-9 victory to cap off an 11-1 season.
Mike Riley returned from the NFL after Erickson left for the San Francisco 49ers job and kept the winning going, although never matching Erickson’s school record eleven wins. Gary Anderson took over in 2015 and ran the program into the ground, even quitting six games into the 2017 season, giving Smith limited talent or hope in Corvallis. The Beavers finished 2017 as the 127th ranked program in FBS per the S&P+ and the worst recruiting class in the Pac-12 won’t help OSU recover immediately.