Sweat fu­eled Beavers’ flip-flop

Ore­gon State re­ver­sal from 3-9 to 9-3 be­gan with a 6-let­ter slo­gan.

Austin American-Statesman - - C SPORTS - Byjohn Hunt The Ore­go­nian Alamo ALAMO BOWL Texas vs. Ore­gon State, C

COR­VAL­LIS, ORE. — So how did the Ore­gon State Beavers go from 3-9 to 9-3 and, now, to the Alamo Bowl? They wanted to. It sounds sim­ple enough, the “Want To” slo­gan the Beavers have adopted in 2012. But those six let­ters rep­re­sent an off­sea­son’s worth of sweat that changed a cul­ture, and with key se­nior lead­ers leav­ing, what next?

“We’ve got to take it to an­other level be­cause now they be­lieve in it,” strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Bryan Miller said.

Miller and coach Mike Ri­ley met in Jan­uary, putting their heads to­gether to try to bring about a win­ning at­ti­tude af­ter go­ing 8-16 in two sea­sons. The cul­ture had to change.

So Miller went to his team lead­ers with a sim­ple mes­sage.

“I said, ‘You guys are not here to play foot­ball. You guys are here to win games. Take care of it,”’ Miller said. Take care of it they did. The lead­ers-by-ex­am­ple be­came more vo­cal, call­ing out team­mates who were late to meet­ings or work­outs.

“Some­thing had to change,” cor­ner­back Rashaad Reynolds said. “We had to make sure ev­ery per­son is here for the right rea­sons. And we needed vo­cal lead­ers. We didn’t have vo­cal lead­ers the last cou­ple of years, and I think that hurt us a lot.”

Miller’s off­sea­son con­di­tion­ing pro­gram didn’t change that much, but the in­ten­sity did, and so did the com­pet­i­tive­ness. Ri­ley and Miller had a mes­sage, and they also had a re­cep­tive au­di­ence. Ev­ery­body was tired of play­ing foot­ball and not win­ning.

“We were watch­ing all th­ese bowl games and think­ing, ‘We would have been there if we had put in a lit­tle ex­tra work in the off­sea­son,”’ re­ceiver Kevin Cum­mings said. “That’s what fu­eled us. We didn’t want to be

Dec. 29, 5:45 p.m., Alam­od­ome, ESPN, 1300, 98.1

ASH­LEY LAN­DIS / FOR AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Cedar Park’s Grayson Cotham (right) tack­les Lan­caster’s Nick Alexan­der (6) dur­ing the Tim­ber­wolves’ UIL Class 4A, Di­vi­sion II state cham­pi­onship vic­tory at Cow­boys Sta­dium in Ar­ling­ton on Fri­day night.

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