One team that Oregon State beat last season was the Arizona Wildcats, who the Beavers will face in Tucson this Saturday. It will be the second game in a row that Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley will have to develop a game plan for a team that runs a spread offense.
"There are a few different types of offenses in our league, even nationally," Riley said. "Wisconsin had a pro style offense and UCLA had a spread offense. Now, Arizona also has a spread down there. Defensively, we have to go back and forth between the two and it makes it very interesting from week to week."
Last weekend, the Beavers defeated UCLA, who was starting a redshirt freshman Brett Hundley. This weekend, Oregon State's defense will have to face redshirt senior Matt Scott under center for Arizona.
"I think both are great quarterbacks," Riley said. "We have some good ones in this league. (Scott) is a perfect fit for Rich Rodriguez and his system. That's a staff that is doing really well early. They looked at the roster and blended their talent with what they want to do. It is working well for them so far."
"It's interesting to see all the quarterbacks in the conference. It bodes well for good football for a few years, at least. There is a good crop of guys in this league."
Riley will counter with a young quarterback of his own. Sean Mannion, only a sophomore, has played well this season so far, leading the Beavers to consecutive upsets. He has totaled 655 yards through the air along with three touchdowns, but that isn't where his coach would praise him the most.
"His knowledge is probably his best asset," Riley said. "(Mannion) is a tremendously hard working guy. He spent all off-season working with the team and watching film. His knowledge has to be his best attribute and he is pretty darned poised for a young guy. He definitely benefiting from a season of playing."
Oregon State will attack Arizona's offense with a deep defense that is vastly improved from a year ago. The depth is just one thing that has helped the Beavers improve.
"Defense is better for us this year because we have the depth to switch personnel groups," Riley said. "I like it because it gives us variety. We get more guys engaged in the game. We like that is is also a curve ball for the other team. We try to use it as a change of pace to what we are doing.
"Confidence is really the biggest difference. A lot of our guys played their first games last year and it was hard. They took it well and worked to get ready and develop for the season. We are still young, with four starters, but they are getting better."
Riley went on to discuss two standouts from the defense that have been playing well for the Beavers. Scott Crichton, a sophomore defensive end, has turned into a leader of the defense. Michael Doctor, a junior linebacker, has evolved in his position of being a smaller, faster defender.
"Scotty Crichton really had a good game against UCLA," Riley praised. "That whole group has been fun, but he really played well and did what was expected. We have been playing eight guys and that's a good rotation.
" (Michael) Doctor is playing more physical than ever before. He was undersized when we got him, but he has worked hard in the weight room to get bigger. Having him as one of the faster outside linebackers has really helped us with the spread offenses out there."