The Oregon State Beavers: Three Keys to Success

David HedlindAnalyst IIMay 9, 2009

CORVALIS, OR - SEPTEMBER 25:  Jacquizz Rodgers #1 of the Oregon State Beavers scores a touchdown against the Southern California Trojans at Reser Stadium on September 25, 2008 in Corvalis, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

This is the eighth in a 10 part series about what I see as three points that will contribute to the success or needs to be fixed for the success of each PAC-10 team.

The Rogers Brothers

I am probably stating the obvious here. Jacquizz Rodgers, the younger brother, rushed for 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns. That is without playing in the last two games. Jacquizz was also the fourth leading receiver on the team.

Jacquizz is now the all time Pac-10 freshman leader for rushing. He was also named Pac-10 offensive player of the year and Pac-10 freshman of the year. On a national level he was named AP third team All American.

James, the older brother, was the second leading rusher with 408 yards and five touchdowns. James’ listed position is as a wide receiver. They used him expertly on fly sweeps.

James was the third leading receiver behind two seniors, which now makes him the team’s leading returning wide out.

Along with all that, James also has duties on special teams where he returns kickoffs. All together, James accounted for 1,833 all purpose yards in 2008.

The two of them missed the Sun Bowl and the Beavers only managed three points.

Quarterback Battle

With two capable quarterbacks in Corvallis it might be a game to game decision who plays.

Right now though, Lyle Moevao who finished 2008 as the starter, was out of spring practice with a shoulder injury. He had surgery on his throwing arm this offseason.

So who plays in his place? The guy that started the season as the starter, Sean Canfield. Here is the irony, Canfield couldn’t finish the season due to a shoulder injury.

Really the main competition will be in the late summer when things get going for the season. Both have proven to be winners and leaders so one of them needs an x factor and right now I am just not sure what that is.

Defensive Rebuild

Oregon State has to fill in holes on defense on all levels.

Starting up front the ends are gone. Both Slade Norris and Victor Butler were drafted.

The biggest losses come in the secondary. Both corners, Brandon Hughes and Keenan Lewis, along with strong safety Al Afalava, were all drafted.

Those are just the guys that are going on to the NFL. Don’t forget those that graduated and are not going on.

The thing is, a year ago, the Beavers had the same kinds of questions. Going from 2007 to 2008 they lost the entire front seven. Yes the defense wasn’t quite as strong in 2008 as it was in 2007 giving up nearly two times the amount of rushing yards per game.

With an overhaul nearly the entire defense this time, the Beavers are really going to need some players to step up if they hope to stay in the upper half of the conference and compete for the title.