'06 Inventory: QB and RB

With the 2005 Oregon State football season firmly in the rear view mirror, it is time take stock of the team. Let's start with the offensive side of the ball, first the quarterbacks and running backs.


The roster (3) Losses (1)
Current Verbals (0) Need (1)
  • None
  • One

The outlook -
To say the least, it was a tumultuous year for the Oregon State quarterbacks. Moore started out red-hot against non-conference foes completing almost 70% (78-114) of his passes for 963 yards, five touchdowns and just two interceptions. He orchestrated a 12 play, 48-yard drive against the Broncos in a come from behind victory and looked poised to led the Beavers into conference play. He did all this while being sacked a conference high 11 times.

Unfortunately, Beaver fans quickly found out that Moore was not ready for conference play. He threw just six touchdowns in six and a half conference games while throwing 17 picks. He finished with a NCAA leading 19 interceptions. Part of the blame goes to Moore for making bad decisions, the other goes to bad luck as several catchable passes bounced off receiver's hands into the opponents.

The junior did give the Beavers added mobility in the pocket and the flexibility in the playbook as the rollouts showed. But towards the end of the year Moore did not look comfortable in the pocket as he held onto the ball, often times panicking. Despite the struggles Riley stuck with the California native.

As Moore's touchdown to interception increased in the wrong way chants for backup Ryan Gunderson rang down from the stands regularly on Saturdays. The fans got their wish in the next to last game of the season when Moore was injured in the second to last game of the year.

Gunderson looked lost in his first significant action, but almost led the Beavers to a come from behind win. Moore was forced to watch the Civil War on crutches as Gunderson took the offensive reigns. With a week of practice under his belt Gunderson improved by leaps and bounds despite throwing three picks and fumbling once.  He did display good footwork and patience in the pocket though.  Plus he gained valuable game experience in a harsh environment.


Spring ball -
The good news is Moore does not need surgery which means he will be rehabbing by January and will be ready for spring ball. Some more good news is Gunderson received valuable experience in practice and in game situations which will help him and the team in '06.

The bad news is the team missed a bowl game which took away extremely valuable practice time from Gunderson and freshman Sean Canfield.

Heading into spring ball the job is Moore's to lose although a hungry Gunderson and the talented Canfield will be breathing down his neck. The key for Moore is to get his knee healthy and his confidence back. The key for Gunderson is to keep pushing himself both physically and mentally while the key for Canfield is the playbook.


Keep your eye on - Matt Moore.  Look for Moore to coordinate and lead the voluntary off season workouts.  He is hungry to prove his critics wrong and with a year of the OSU system under his belt he should improve dramatically.  Intense competition from Gunderson and Canfield will keep him focused and performing at the top of his game.


Running backs

The roster (3) Losses (1)
Current Verbals (1) Need (0)
  • None

The outlook -
Most fans expected a moderate improvement in the running game but few would have guessed that the featured back would average 120 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry and score 13 touchdowns. They also wouldn't have guessed that the featured back would finish third in the conference and seventh in the nation in rushing.

The coaches toyed with using a running back by committee in spring and fall camps but Yvenson Bernard's aggressive running style, good blocking, and excellent hands quickly changed their plans. Bernard proved to be durable, carrying the ball 299 times or 27 times a game, and tough, not missing one game, despite being beat up near the end of the year. On top of that Bernard also ran better as the games progressed helping the Beavers to a balanced attack for the first time in several years.  Bernard's 1,321 yards is good for sixth on OSU's single season rushing list.

But it all wasn't rosy for the running backs. Junior Jimtavis Walker left the team due to personal issues while freshman Patrick Fuller didn't blossom into the player everyone hoped. Junior Nate Wright provided Bernard some rest, but not much as he carried the ball just ten times.  Bottom line, Bernard was beat-up at the end of the year and OSU did not have a solid back up.


Spring ball -
Bernard most certainly will be the number one back as Wright and Fuller battle for the backup position. Despite having Wright and Fuller on the roster, Riley is bringing in Clinton Polk in hopes that he can handle 10-15 carries a game.

It remains to be seen if Polk will snatch the starting spot, but his presence on the team will server as motivation to Fuller and Wright to hit the weight and film room hard in the off season.

Fuller has all the physical tools to be a good back, but needs work with the offense. He will get get plenty of repetitions in spring camp and if he develops he could play a similar role that Patrick McCall played in 2000.


Keep your eye on - Patrick Fuller.  If Fuller can adequately spell Bernard and give the Beavers an effective one-two punch in the running game it could be another successful year for the Men in Black on the ground.

Next inventory article - offensive line and wide receivers.

BeaverBlitz Top Stories