This is part four of the 10-part series analyzing the Pac-10’s quarterbacks. In this installment, we take a trip to Corvallis, Oregon.
Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley has an interesting decision that he has to deal with before the season starts. The question is, “Who should I start at QB, Lyle Moevao or Sean Canfield?”
Both quarterbacks have shown their abilities on the field. Both have shown that they can lead the Beavers in tough situations.
Lyle Moevao, a senior from Torrance, California, passed for over 2,500 yards and 19 touchdowns last season for the Beavers. That is the good news. The bad news, however, is that he threw 13 interceptions last season, and he had surgery to his throwing shoulder in the offseason.
As a result, Moevao did not throw a pass in the spring. But, he is slated to begin throwing, and he will be able to compete for the job when fall camp opens up later this month.
Now, Sean Canfield, the 6’4" San Diego native, put up his numbers in 2007. Although, his stats don't compare to Moevao's 2008 stats. Canfield passed for 1,661 and nine touchdowns while gifting defenses with a grand total of 15 interceptions (five of which Canfield tossed to ASU in the Devils' 44-32 comeback victory in ’07).
However, when Moevao went down with his injury in ‘08, Canfield did step up for Mike Riley when he was called upon. Moreover, Canfield returned the favor to Arizona State in Corvallis last season with 218 yards through the air and two touchdowns in the Beavers’ 27-25 win.
Canfield’s fill-in-when-needed role also led to victories over UCLA and Arizona both on the road.
But Moevao was given the start against Civil War-rival Oregon in the final regular season game.
This scenario has been played out before. Jeff Tedford and California struggled with this issue the past few seasons with Nate Longshore and Kevin Riley.
But that is not the only similarity between the two schools. Both Oregon State and Cal have built their offenses with solid running backs and great offensive lines.
Cal has showed off their running back talent in Jahvid Best, Justin Forsett, and Marshawn Lynch even earlier.
Although, the Beavers have had their fair share of All-Conference talent as well in Steven Jackson and Yvenson Bernard. Similarly, Jacquizz Rodgers has taken the pressure off of the passing game-quarterback carousel and carried the team to a 7-2 conference record in ’08.
Rodgers posted over 1,250 yards and 11 touchdowns in his freshman season. His only downside, at 5’7" and 190 pounds, is durability, as he missed the final two games after being injured versus Arizona.
However, when one Rodgers is sidelined, the other players stepped up. James Rodgers, brother of Jacquizz, was the comfort blanket that Moevao and Canfield looked to in clutch situations. Hauling in 51 passes for over 600 yards, this “x-factor” can impact the score in the run game, utilizing the fly sweep, and returning kicks on special teams.
Still, the main question in Corvallis is, “Who is going to play quarterback?” Is Mike Riley going to stick with Moevao, who led the Beavers to a huge upset victory over USC last season, or play the healthy and improved Canfield.
Although I am not the head coach at Oregon State, I would go with Moevao. He has emerged as the leader of the team this past season and has been a vocal leader during spring workouts. If Moevao’s shoulder is healthy and performs well in fall camp, then he is the man for job in 2009.
Although, it never hurts to have two quarterbacks that are proven and experienced. I am sure Paul Wulff and Washington State wouldn’t mind the services of either one of them.
Next up: The Arizona Wildcats, coming off their first bowl victory since their epic 1998 Holiday Bowl victory over Nebraska. Good bye Willie Tuitama. Hello Matt Scott?