The last two first year quarterbacks to open a season in Reser Stadium have carved up the competition. Anderson completed 15 of 26 for 345 yards to go along with three touchdowns and no interceptions against Eastern Washington in 2002 while Moore passed for 367 yards and four touchdowns with one interception on 26 of 38 passes in 2005.
Sophomore Sean Canfield, the first lefty to start at OSU since Terrance Bryant in 1998, will be making his first career start with Lyle Moevao coming off of the bench in the second quarter. Whoever performs better will get the nod for the beginning of the second half.
“I haven’t shared time since eighth grade on a Pop Warner team," said Canfield who played in eight games last year. "Other than that I’ve pretty much been the guy."
This isn't the first time head coach Mike Riley has used a two-quarterback system. As the USC offensive coordinator in 1995 he used Brad Otton and Kyle Wacholtz effectively, leading the Trojans to a share of the Pac-10 title. He also used a dual quarterback rotation in Winnipeg winning the Grey Cup in 1988.
“I don’t see why they both can’t play well," said Riley who is 38-34 at Oregon State. "I have noticed a growing confidence in both of them; as the last 3 or 4 days of practice have occurred I have felt a good feeling from both of them."
"And like I said initially, I wanted to pick a quarterback and they never really allowed that, or separated from each other. And in the mean time, I think that when they heard how we were going to do it, they got ready to go separately and their doing a nice job and I like what I see and I really have a sense that they can and will both play well.”
Canfield is more you prototypical drop back passer with a beautiful deep ball while Moevao gives the team a scrambler who can gain yards on broken plays.
“Our guys do well a little differently and it works only if those two guys make it work," Riley said. "There has got to be a lot of trust involved, between all the parties. When you’ve decided that these guys are close enough they should both play, those intangible things take over and that really is the key to success.”
Expectations are high for the Men in Black this season. Some players have mentioned going to the Rose Bowl as a goal, others the possibility of winning 10 games again, which would be a first in school history. With the lofty expectations, both quarterbacks know the focus is going to be on them.
“Playing this position you have to have tough skin," Moevao said. "You are always going to be criticized about different things. Mistakes are going to be magnified, especially if you are new."
" They expect a lot of things out of you. Your fight for a position just makes it that much more important for you to make sure that you don’t pay attention to the criticism and if you do, you just have to keep on rollin’.”
"As far as competing, I think that you just need to go out there, have a good start and not really worry about coming out and sharing time," Canfield said. " The more you think about it the worse you do out there.”
The practice sessions are almost done and another era of Beaver football is about to begin. Will it be the Canfield or the Moevao era? Or both?