For four years on Chris Petersen’s staff at Washington, Jonathan Smith and Jimmy Lake matched wits every day at practice, with Smith the offensive coordinator and Lake the defensive backs coach/co-defensive coordinator.
The two will get another chance to do so Saturday night in Corvallis, Ore., this time as head coaches, as Smith’s Oregon State Beavers host Lake’s Huskies in a Pacific-12 Conference game.
“Smitty and I are very close. He knows what I like, I know what he likes,” Lake said. “It is definitely a fun competition and I’m expecting he’s going to have an extraordinary plan against us.”
Lake has a 1-0 edge on Smith as the teams met in Lake’s head coaching debut, with the Huskies coming away with a 27-21 victory last season at home.
“There are still a lot of coaches on that staff that I know really well. I’ve got a bunch of respect for those guys,” Smith said. “I enjoyed my four years there, and there are still a few players I know with the COVID (extra year of eligibility). It’s a great place.”
The Beavers (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) opened conference play last week with a 45-27 victory at Southern California — their first at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 1960. B.J. Baylor rushed for 158 of OSU’s 322 yards on the ground and Chance Nolan completed 15 of 19 passes for 213 yards and four touchdowns.
The Huskies (2-2, 1-0) began their Pac-12 slate with a 31-24 overtime victory against visiting California as Dylan Morris passed for two touchdowns and Sean McGrew rushed for two more. The Huskies forced a fumble at the 1-yard line and recovered to clinch the win.
The key Saturday could be whether the Huskies can stop the run. Oregon State leads the conference with 226 yards rushing per game, while the Huskies rank 10th defensively against the run, allowing 165.8 yards per game.
But Smith isn’t buying that the Beavers can just run over the Huskies.
“This defensive front that we’re headed toward is really good, especially against the run,” Smith said. “Their stats are skewed by one game (allowing 343 yards rushing at Michigan) out of the four.”
–Field Level Media