"In the Utah game we were not doing to much early offensively but we also didn't have three picks and our defense kept us in the game." quarterback Sean Canfield said. "Then we came out in the second half in the Utah game and got things rolling and ended up winning."
"With six turnovers (at Cincinnati) on offense in a game you can't expect to win."
Two games into the season Oregon State has eight interceptions, the total of all other nine Pac-10 teams, and is last in the conference in turnover margin at -7. Idaho State has several veteran players in the secondary including safety Terrence Calloway, a preseason All-Big Sky selection, who picked off two passes last week, returning one for a touchdown.
The Bengals, like all of OSU's opponents, will stack the box and dare Canfield to complete passes. Coach Mike Riley says that although last week was painful, Canfield and Lyle Moevao will both learn from watching film.
"It's mostly about having the composure and the patience to just go through their progressions in the game." Riley said. "Watching the film, I get a clear picture of what they could have done with ball at times and that will help them tremendously. They will get better from it - frustrating as it was.''
Canfield, who has completed 26 of 50 (52%) passes for 218 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions, will be making his third straight collegiate start. While Riley has not outright called Canfield the starter, he is taking more repetitions in practice and - for the foreseeable future - there will be no set rotation between the two.
"We are giving Sean an opportunity to step forward with a couple of starts and we will do that again this week," Riley said.
First year quarterbacks under Riley have notoriously started slow; from Derek Anderson to Matt Moore the learning curve was very steep in their first years in the system which led to many turnovers. And while Riley has acknowledged the difficult learning curve, he says that a quarterback like Canfield, who has been in the system for three years, needs to step up and catch up with the rest of the team's ability.
"We've been through this here at Oregon State. You saw it early in Derek Anderson's time with us when we went to Fresno and I think he threw seven interceptions early in the year. Then you saw it with Matt Moore in his first year," Riley said. "What we have to do now is have a faster learning curve, because our quarterback really needs to catch up with the rest of team's ability."
Canfield's third test, and his last one before the stakes increase and the opponents get better, is Saturday against Idaho State.
"We are anxious to get back out and that's what I love about this team. The character of this team is very good," Canfield said. "(Idaho State) Being a 1-AA team doesn't really matter to us; you saw what happened to Michigan."
"I've had plenty of time in the program, I've been here for three camps in three springs, I am going to struggle and I realize that - I am just looking forward to getting better."