Oregon State mailbag: Better catch, Harrison or Bolden? Pac-12 expansion, more Jack Colletto, please

You ask, and The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Nick Daschel answers. The weekly exercise where readers ask questions about Oregon State athletics. Here goes:

Will Amazon be hesitant to work with the Pac-12 since the Thursday night football games have been horrendous? – Joe H

Not even one percent of one percent of a factor. Two weeks from now, we could be talking about two of the greatest games in NFL history. Irrelevant anecdotal evidence.

If you take out the fact that one of them won us the game, who had the better catch? Silas Bolden or Tre’shaun Harrison? – Bryan M

As meaningful and impressive as Harrison’s catch was, Bolden’s was superior. It starts with Ben Gulbranson, who threw the ball into the tightest of spaces. Then Bolden, who found the ball, caught it, secured it, then had the mind to tap both feet in-bounds.

Will you change your incorrect prediction from earlier this week? — @GoBeavs2

I’ll stick with Cougs 24-21, fully knowing either team can win and it won’t surprise me.

Last year, I believe that (Jack) Colletto was only stopped by the Cougs and even possibly twice. If I remember right. Do you know if the coaches have a Special Colletto Package for the Cougs? It seemed that they were the one team that had practice for him, saw it coming and stopped him. – Ned W

If I knew, you think I’d write it before the game? Reporting knowledge of specific game strategy is a no-no for a beat reporter. For the record, in the 2021 game Colletto ran twice against Washington State, scoring a touchdown and failing to convert a third-and-1 opportunity.

Pac-12 announces they will expand to 16 teams. Best for league and Northwest teams if Boise State is one of those adds or if they take a pair out of Texas/Louisiana (SMU/Tulane)? — @OS_Beaver

Sixteen teams? I don’t see it. Maybe the Pac-12 returns to 12, one being San Diego State. There aren’t that many schools out there that would move the television revenue needle for the conference.

Why the hesitation to give Jam (Griffin) more opportunities? Should I be alarmed that this staff can’t figure that out, but everyone else can? — @TheDigitalDam

Everyone else? Over the past four games, Griffin has 42 carries, Deshaun Fenwick 44 and Damien Martinez 26. During that stretch, Fenwick is averaging 4.3 yards a carry, Griffin 5.9 and Martinez 6.5. It’s not that clear cut. I think it’s possible during the second half of the season that one of these three backs becomes the lead back. Gut feeling is that it’s Martinez.

Why has the red zone play calling changed to first down throws, no downhill running and no Colletto in short yardage? Is (Brian) Lindgren forcing something? And if so, he has to see that it’s not working, right? — @OhltsPM

The biggest change is Luke Musgrave’s absence. He was made for the red zone. Yes, the coaches are aware that the red zone has become a problem in the past couple of games. They would say it’s execution more than play calling. Whether the play calling changes, we’ll see.

Is it more likely that OSU ends up in the Pac-12 with teams added from other conferences, or that OSU ends up in the MWC? – Bryan

Oregon State isn’t going anywhere in the near term. I believe the Pac-12/10 is going to stay put for at least the next television contract. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

How many offensive linemen have regularly rotated into each game? Same for the defensive linemen? How important is this week’s game with WSU in getting OSU into an upper tier PAC-12 bowl game? – Craig W

Typically, Oregon State doesn’t do a lot of rotating among its offensive linemen. Marco Brewer and Heneli Bloomfield each had extended playing time at left guard, but that had to do with an injury to Brewer. There’s plenty of rotation along the defensive line. The Beavers typically play six or seven linemen. Last week against Stanford, for example, seven defensive linemen logged playing time. As for Saturday’s game, it’s immense in terms of momentum. Beat WSU — and the Colorado — and Oregon State heads into November bowl eligible with plenty of stakes. Lose to the Cougars, and it’s an uphill climb to the top bowls.

What the heck is going on with (quarterback) Tristan Gebbia? So much for the old saying that you can’t lose your job due to injury. It’s hard to believe he’d still be injured. It’s curious why he doesn’t even get mentioned. Perhaps he just decided to quietly retire while riding out his last year. I thought he was doing well at the helm. – Jeff D

The coaches believe Chance Nolan and Ben Gulbranson offer more options than Gebbia. It’s as simple as that.

What a great win. Really feels like the Beavers saved their season with that win. I am wondering if you can ask coach Smith why on two key two-point conversions we didn’t try a Jack Colletto package? It seems like that should be the play when you are inside the 3-yard line. Was he hurt? – Peter H

Colletto saw plenty of action. The 3-yard line is tricky. It’s at the edge of Colletto’s effectiveness.

Your take, are Musgrave and (Alton) Julian out for the year? Would enjoy a feature on Silas Bolden soon; his 4Q TD catch was understandably overshadowed by the Midnight Miracle. — @Lionbenny1010

Julian is out for the year, as he’s been slow to recover from ACL surgery. Musgrave is TBA. Once he’s healthy, Musgrave will decide whether to return or shut it down and start training for the NFL. Good thought on Bolden, given that Oregon State has become a family business.

What’s the level of entitlement you see in college athletes today? – Rich S

I can only speak for the athletes I met at Oregon State. For the most part, they’re run of the mill college kids/young adults. Respectful of young fans and adults. The big-timing from an OSU athlete is rare.

What is going on with Isaac Hodgins? Feels like he’s had a quiet season. – Carter K

Hodgins isn’t starting as he once did, but his play is OK. The difference is that Oregon State has improved the level of talent along its defensive line. There wasn’t much talent when Hodgins entered the program in 2018. It’s much different in 2022.

–Nick Daschel |ndaschel@oregonian.com | @nickdaschel

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