The Beaver Beat (October 10, 2006)

Your intrepid reporter was back in Reser Stadium this week, in case you were wondering why there was a significant bump in the noise level on Saturday. Of course, by the end of the game, the noise had transitioned to the sound of Matt Moore choking. But believe me, I trust you to recognize that sound by now.

This week, the Beaver Beat is going to delve, once again, into how your defense can play its best game in two years by holding a powerful offense to 13 points (at home), how your punt returner can have people thinking "touchdown" with every touch of the ball, how your special teams can take care of business and how you can tout an All-American tight end, veteran offensive line, top-notch running back all in the same game…AND STILL LOSE! I wish it were fiction, but here we are.

On top of that, I'll talk about the mighty crash of God's gift to football down the road (their words, not mine), give you a preview of the Washington los…game, unleash a beatdown with the Pole of Power (HINT: USC isn't number one), inserting an appropriate amount of snark somewhere in the middle.

As always, we back it up with the Beaver Beat guarantee: Fourteen screen passes while you read or your money back!

WHEN DOES A QUARTERBACK CONTROVERSY TURN INTO JUST PLAIN INSANITY?

Your intrepid reporter defined the Big Man On Campus while he was in school. All the girls flocked to me. All the guys flocked to me. Birds flocked to me. I drove a 1991 Toyota Tercel and chicks thought I was a GOD.

I was a monster on the field. My QB rating was four digits. I set school records for completion percentage and third-down conversions.

Yes sir, life as the second-string quarterback was good.

Of course, not everyone can go to Oregon School for the Deaf. The second-string quarterback always has the respect and admiration of fans everywhere, but sometimes they get the shaft along with it.

Enter Sean Canfield.

Lately, on the BF.com Insiders Board, there was a discussion of what it would take to convince Mike Riley to replace Matt Moore as the starting quarterback. Here are some of the generated ideas:

1. Matt Moore decides to reminisce for the UCLA game, donning the blue and gold

2. Matt Moore decides to be the Pedro to Coach Cav's Zimmer, throwing him to the ground after being sacked for the third straight time (after his third consecutive eleven-step drop).

3. Matt Moore is accused of sending illicit text messages to a Congressional page.

That's. About. It.

This isn't a personal attack on Matt. I don't want him to start in the same way that I don't want Ryan Gunderson to start. I am more than happy to recognize that he plays a positive role on Oregon State's team, but TBB no longer feels that that place should be as the starting quarterback.

In the first two Pac-10 games of the season, Sean Canfield has thrown one more touchdown pass than Matt Moore. And he's thrown one touchdown.

What was the last positive on-field accomplishment with Matt Moore as quarterback? We've had a losing season, four straight Pac-10 home losses, been embarrassed against Boise State and Cal…at what point do you start expecting results? College football is about building young men as much as it is about football teams, but how much can Matt Moore expect to grow at this point? With a season and a half under his belt and little progress shown, are we really just waiting for that light to "click on"? Is our quarterback situation now just a great big prayer session?

Some people, especially with the Washington game this week, are comparing our current situation to the situation in 1998: An entrenched senior starter is replaced by a redshirt freshman wunderkind and the legacy begins.

That's a fair comparison, but lately I've been thinking of another Oregon State quarterback: Derek Anderson.

DA was probably the poster child for "the light coming on". He was an extremely talented quarterback who often made bad throws and bad decisions. But in his senior year, Derek was THE MAN. The results don't reflect it, but Derek became a field general. Anyone watching could see his control of the offense and feel that the troops rallied around him. If I have to see Anthony Wheat-Brown jump up and down in frustration on another missed opportunity, I'm going to vomit blood (orange and black, of course).

If the interest is in building up young men, put in the young man that will be leading the team three years after our current quarterback gets his cup of coffee with NFL Europe and gets drafted in the twenty-third round by the Kansas City Royals.

What are the disadvantages to starting Fiver? A possible loss? We had a whole season of those last year. Loss of leadership? Look at the way the players respond to Canfield's being in the game and tell me that it'll be a problem.

Here's the part that hurts most: When we play Oregon, even if we lose every game before the Civil War, your intrepid reporter gets the feeling that Mike Riley will still be starting Matt Moore, saying it gives us "the best chance of winning". Hey coach, I understand you get paid a lot more than I do, but I think "the best chance of winning" isn't trying to salvage a win in a 2-9 season by keeping the same ineffective quarterback behind the helm.

If there's one thing I know, it's that "stay the course" is not an effective strategy.

WOW, MAYBE CAL REALLY WAS A GOOD FOOTBALL TEAM

Recent exchange between myself and a Duck friend (I live in Eugene, they can't be avoided):

DUCK FRIEND: So, what do you think of the Ducks this weekend?

TBB: I think they're going to get smoked.

DUCK FRIEND: Dude, shut up. Just because the Beavers suck…

TBB: I don't think our quarterback represents the talent of the whole team, but I'm not saying it because I hate the Ducks – I think they'll win every game besides USC after Cal. But Cal has some PLAYMAKERS. I don't even watch their team and I can name more players for them than for any other team outside of Oregon.

DUCK FRIEND: You're an ass. Oregon's good, too. Ass.

TBB: Whatever. You wanna wear the Darth Vader costume this time?

DUCK FRIEND: Yeah, but be soft, I'm chafing.

Well, look at that. California is the best-looking team in the Pac-10 right now. And Oregon looked…well, mediocre. Less mediocre than, say, everyone else in the conference, but mediocre nonetheless.

Thank. God.

Life is so much easier when Duck fans are humbled. As I was telling my girlfriend before the game (she's a Duck fan, too. I live in Eugene, it can't be avoided), Saturdays where the two teams in Oregon lose are almost better than the weeks when UO and OSU win, at least in terms of living your day-to-day life. Both teams win and Oregon fans are only too happy to remind you that Oregon is and always will be better. Both teams lose and Oregon fans are too busy crying into their patchouli oil to make any comment on the absolute ineptitude of your team.

To put it mathematically:

The limit of Oregon arrogance and insufferability as Duck winning percentage approaches 1 = infinite.

If you're one of those people that still thinks Iraq had something to do with 9/11, please just skip the last sentence and move on – it's probably over your head.

SPEAKING OF THE DOWNTRODDEN REGAINING THEIR MOJO…

We at The Beaver Beat make a lot of jokes and references about masochism and flagellation. This weekend, we're taking the joke into the real world.

Yes, your intrepid reporter is making his way to Seattle.

To their credit, Husky fans were exceedingly nice last year in the driving rain and wind that surrounded OSU's field goal-laden victory at Husky Stadium. They gave my group a blanket to be warm, and one guy even let me wear his Husky windbreaker.

That said, I'm sure that if U-Dub was having a good season, the coat would've had smallpox all over it.

That danger becomes real this year, as the Huskies have regained the swagger that is commonly known as Willingham-itis. Don't worry. It'll pass.

Of course, Oregon State could've picked a better time to become completely inept on the offensive side of the ball. You know, like, next season. Because if last year's Huskies could hold us to five field goals, we might want to start praying that the defense can get enough safeties to win the football game.

If the quarterback situation doesn't resolve itself, we know we can expect another dogfight. The defense seems to have exorcised its demons (minus the cornerbacks, who can't turn their heads 180 degrees to find them), but unless we stumble into a passing game that doesn't define "long ball" as a nine-yard pass, it's going to be a long drive home from Seattle.

I still don't buy that Isaiah Stanback is a good quarterback. I still don't buy that the Huskies are a powerhouse. But I also don't buy that it'll matter if we can put the ball in the end zone.

THE POLE OF POWER

1. Cal
2. USC
3. Oregon
4. UCLA
5. Washington
6. Washington State
7. Arizona State
8. Oregon State
9. Arizona

(The Beaver Beat is published every Tuesday. If you play it backwards, Tinky Winky will send you a subliminal message about the devil. Or something.

thebeaverbeat@beaverfootball.com)

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