Oregon State mailbag: Most difficult players to replace in 2023, Las Vegas Bowl prominence, Jack Colletto and NFL

The Las Vegas Bowl edition of the Oregon State mailbag, where The Oregonian/OregonLive’s Nick Daschel pounds out the answers from the team’s hotel coffee shop. Here goes:

(Note: Mailbag goes on hiatus for a couple weeks during the holidays, with hopes to resume first week of January)

Other than the “Dam Nation” collective, are you aware of any other Oregon State NIL vehicles that will help keep current players and attract transfers? More specifically higher dollar boosters providing higher dollar opportunities for athletes? – Dan R

There is the Giant Killers Collective, run by a team of former Beavers who include Scott Sanders, Bill Swancutt, Yvenson Bernard and Dave Montagne. Time will tell if the “higher dollar boosters” jump in. The key to me isn’t so much the boosters, but prominent businesses wanting to jump into this space. That will take time.

Is culture and chemistry equal to, less than, or more important to success than graded talent? I know it’s a combination, but it seems some schools focus on character and fit over physical gifts. — @RSinsights

Fit, culture and chemistry works at Oregon State. It must work at OSU, because the school simply isn’t going to attract Alabama, or even Oregon-level of 5-star talent. Ultimately, talent wins out, as teams with the most 5-star athletes tend to win the national championship. But an Oregon State can consistently compete for a top 25 berth with culture and chemistry, as it steadily improves the level of talent.

Which of the players that won’t be playing in the 2023 season will be the biggest loss for the team and most difficult to replace? – Daniel D

They’ll all be missed to some level. But I’ll point to three. Jack Colletto tops the list as he successfully fills so many roles on the team. His intelligence will be missed. That blocked punt against Oregon? I’m told it happened because of a last-minute call on the field by Colletto. Brandon Kipper is a loss, because of a combination of experience, leadership and talent. Then cornerback Rejzohn Wright. The loss of a lockdown corner is hard to replace.

Which conference is the officiating crew from for the bowl game? – Matt

It’s an ACC crew.

Can we all agree that the Vegas bowl is better now than most bowls in the Pac (outside of the Rose)? Brand new NFL stadium, in a great city, and ‘primetime’ TV against an SEC opponent. Give me that over a converted baseball stadium in San Diego or San Antonio in general. — @OhltsPM

That argument can certainly be made. The pre-Christmas date is a plus. Allegiant Stadium, undeniably a bonus. Playing an SEC opponent – ​​the Big Ten and SEC alternate years in the Las Vegas Bowl – gives the game a big-time feel.

Personal order of preference, in terms of city, fan experience, opposing conference, etc.: Rose, Alamo, Las Vegas, Holiday, LA, Sun.

Any insight on when the 2023 Pac-12 schedule gets released? — @DamFan98

Thought it might happen about now, but with the holidays coming, it’ll probably get pushed into early to mid-January.

What table game is Coach Smith’s go to? – Tanner B

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Did you listen to announcers for OSU/UofO wbb? I felt they were overly in favor of UofO. Shouldn’t they be impartial? They do a good job of adding personal bits about players. – Carla M

I was at the game, so I didn’t hear the broadcast. In general, I don’t think this is accurate. Most of the regional and national broadcasters root for the story, not a particular team.

Can (Ben) Gulbranson improve enough to lead the team to a conference championship next year or must we go portal to have a chance? – Greg H

You’re first assuming Oregon State will have enough talent to play for the 2023 conference title. We don’t know that yet. If that’s the case, could Gulbranson elevate his game to championship-team level? Sure. He’ll have a year of starting experience to lean on, and an offseason to grow. But I don’t expect OSU to take chances. I think they’ll push to sign a portal quarterback, and take a look at what freshman Aidan Chiles has to offer. If Gulbranson wins the job, he’ll have to be better.

If Beavs win, what will they be ranked to end this year and start next? – Greg H

Oregon State is currently No. 16 in the coaches poll and 17 in AP heading into the bowl season. We’ll skip the CFP rankings – where OSU is No. 14 – because it doesn’t produce post-bowl rankings. Assuming a Las Vegas Bowl win, a top 12 finish is reasonable in both polls. Top 10 seems unlikely. Too many teams ahead of the Beavers have head-to-head battles.

As for 2023 preseason rankings, I’d have to know who’s on the roster first.

Beavs injury report? – Richard K

There’s always a game-day surprise, but the team the Beavers put on the field against Oregon should largely be the same.

MBB – Is the consistent dropping in the second half a sign of youth or coaching? Seems like we can hang with anyone in the first half, but then lose it minutes later. – Josh H

Obviously, this question was asked before Thursday night, as Oregon State outscored Seattle 48-30 in the second half to win 73-58. Look, this team is going to have moments. The Beavers are young and growing. They’ll amaze and frustrate fans, often in the same game. I’d say enjoy the ride, because if this team stays intact, OSU should get back to a winning record next season.

Any news on how many tickets from their allotment that OSU has sold? – Paint E

Oregon State sold about 5,000 of its 6,296 Las Vegas Bowl tickets. The Pac-12 will pick up the tab on the unsold tickets.

With so many elite QB’s in the portal, are any of them on the Beavers radar as of now? – Andy

Absolutely. I’m not going to speculate on names, though.

Any estimate as to how many Florida fans will make the trip to Las Vegas? — @parimrock

I can’t say that I’ve seen a lot of blue and orange-clad fans in Las Vegas, but we just hit Friday, and I’m staying at Oregon State’s hotel. I suspect OSU fans will outnumber Florida fans. The Gator fan base is extremely fixated on next week’s 2023 signing class, and not so much on a 6-6 team playing 2,500 miles from home.

Discussion of next year’s schedule and which games are winnable, etc. Assistants moving on? Jack Colletto’s chances of being drafted? Does he end up on an NFL roster? — @realwebtraveler

A discussion of next year’s schedule will have to wait until we see the makeup of OSU’s 2023 roster. Colletto is a lock to end up in someone’s NFL mini or training camp. I’d say odds are 50-50 that he’s drafted. I’m going to say, yes, Colletto lands on an NFL roster. His intelligence and versatility are going to win over a coach.

Any word on what uniforms the team will wear on Saturday? Mostly curious about color. I haven’t seen anything from the school or otherwise. – Randy S

Oregon State is the home team. The Beavers are wearing black.

If (Brian) Lindgren leaves… Paul Chryst! – Jonathan W

Never say never, but I don’t think Lindgren is leaving Oregon State, at least for the 2023 season.

Glad to see OSU has offered Trent Bray and Jonathan Smith bigger contracts. I would hate to see Jim Michalczik leave OSU. Have you heard of anything through the grapevine that will see the departure of any OSU football coaches after the Las Vegas bowl? I am hopeful we can keep the coaching staff intact. – Jerry S

Would I be surprised if an assistant coach left for another job? No. Such is the case when you’re on the staff of a 9-3 team. But it’s more likely to be a young coach looking for a larger role or an NFL opportunity, like Brian Wozniak, AJ Steward, Anthony Perkins or Blue Adams. I’d be surprised if Michalczik leaves. At this stage of his seasoned career, Michalczik is looking more for stability, appreciation and compensation over a chance to make a name for himself. He has all three at Oregon State.

Any word on what assistant coaches are getting paid after that raise? — @IlikeBeavs

All the assistants had two-year contracts heading into the 2022 season. Discussions are already underway, and I suspect most contracts are wrapped up in January.

Nick Daschel reported from Las Vegas

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

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