- Quarterbacks -
The good: Senior Matt Moore (pictured below) has a year under his belt and is eager to prove that he can throw more touchdowns than interceptions. Junior Ryan Gunderson received valuable playing time in the Civil War while redshirt freshman Sean Canfield has everyone excited for the future.
The bad: None of the quarterbacks have developed a rapport with the receivers nor have they worked much with tight end Joe Newton. It may take some time, even part of the season, for the quarterbacks to get comfortable with their receivers.
The question: Can Moore eliminate his turnovers and separate himself from Gunderson and Canfield as the starting quarterback?
Riley says: “At the quarterback position, it is really important to have someone with college game experience, and Matt played almost the entire season. Matt made a lot of good plays and played just a lot of good football for us. There are things he can improve on, but those are tangible things that we will work on in the spring. I really expect Matt to take a step to the next level.”
"I think Canfield will make a run (at the starting spot). He'll will enter right into it and take a lot of turns in spring practice. We'll let them just play from there."
- Senior Matt Moore
- missed the Civil War with a sprained knee, completed 211 of 355 (59.4%)
passes for 2711 yards (ninth highest in school history), 11 touchdowns and
19 interceptions, strong arm and mobile, needs to work on his decision making
- Junior Ryan Gunderson
- completed 54 of 102 passes (52.9 %) for 542 yards, two touchdowns and four
interceptions, started the Civil War, thorough understanding of the offense,
limited down field capability
- Redshirt freshman Sean Canfield - started practicing with the team in April of 2005 and redshirted last year, southpaw with a strong arm and confidence
- Running Backs -
The good: The rugged, all-everything back Yvenson Bernard (pictured on the right) returns after a very successful year in which he racked up 1,321 yards, good for fifth on OSU's all-time single season rushing list. Nate Wright and Patrick Fuller received valuable experience at running back and on special teams. Plus, the bruising, junior college transfer Clinton Polk is coming in the spring for a shot at the two deep.
The bad: Wright and Fuller had plenty of opportunities to prove they belonged on the field when Bernard needed a rest but didn't come through as Bernard took over 95% of the rushing load. There was much hype around Fuller but he didn't produce. It is a telling story when Riley stays with Bernard, when he can barely walk, then giving Wright and/or Fuller 10-15 carries a game.
The question: Will the backups provide skilled play to help Bernard stay healthy and give the team a two-headed running attack?
Riley says: “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Yvenson; he’s one of the most versatile players I have ever been around. He’s an excellent runner, he has great toughness, he’s a very good receiver, he’s smart and he’s a good blocker. All those things together make Yvenson Bernard.”
- Junior Yvenson
Bernard - Pac-10 honorable mention selection fought through knee
and shoulder injuries to rush for 1,321 yards and 13 touchdowns, gets stronger
as the game progresses, standout at running, receiving and blocking
- Senior Nate Wright
- rushed for 51 yards on 10 carries, decent speed, trouble with ball control
- Sophomore Patrick
Fuller - highly touted recruit that ran for 30 yards on 12 carries
while adjusting to Pac-10 ball
- Junior Clinton
Polk - rugged, bruising back who has a good top gear
- Redshirt freshman Tony Carrasco - hard running, hard working walk-on
- Freshman Andy Stewart - 2006 invited walk-on, second team all-league running back at Sunset his junior and senior seasons
Up next - The offensive line