Not bad

What if I were to tell you things aren't as bad as they seem in Corvallis?

I know. Things do look grim.

If it's not six interceptions by two quarterbacks in one game, OSU fan had to sit through a different game with five interceptions by just one quarterback.

It wasn't good for the ego to get waxed on national television by an average Cincinnati team. And it couldn't be good for the soul to go up 19 points in the first quarter of the Pac-10 opener just to be slammed back to reality in the next three quarters by getting outscored 44-13.

But really it's not that bad.

The good news is there is only one problem that needs to be addressed. Granted it is a pretty big problem, but it is still just one.

Defensively, the Beavers are solid. The Oregon State defense is tied for first in the Pac-10 with the Sundevils only giving up 289 yards per game. And that's even after the debacle in the desert.

They are stopping the run at an unbelievable 29.3 yards per game average. Their opponents are gaining less than a yard per carry going up against this very stingy OSU run defense.

That bodes well this weekend facing a beat up Bruins team that has one quarterback out with a bum knee and another making his first start sense a concussion.

If you take away the point given up off of turnovers the Beaver D is even more impressive. OSU has held their opponents to 23.75 points per game which is good enough for fourth in the Pac-10.

Now take a look at the fact that 51 of the 95 points scored against the Beavers have come off of turnovers. Take those points out of the equation and the Beavers are holding teams to only eleven points a game.

Not bad.

On the other side of the ball it is important not to forget that the Beavers still have weapons.

Even though he has struggled to get his game going this season, don't forget that Yvenson Bernard is still one of the best running backs in the conference.

Even the receivers are something to talk about.

The return of Sammie Stroughter has been a lift that has really gone unnoticed. He has caught 15 passes already this year for 262 yards. His 17.4 yards per catch average is tops in the Pac-10.

However, due to a bruised kidney Stroughter will not be able to suit up against UCLA. So now it would be a good time to have others to turn to. And Oregon State does.

Anthony Brown has more catches than any one on the Beavers staff with 16. His 16.2 yards per catch isn't too far behind Stroughter's league leading 17.4 yards per catch.

Brandon Powers has stepped in nicely and the emergence of James Rogers and Darrel Catchings has been a pleasant addition.

Now I can hear all the skeptics saying, "Yea, but who is going to get the ball to those guys?"

The answer is simple; Sean Canfield.

Did you know that the Beavers are second in the Pac-10 after the Sundevils game in total passing yards? That's right, second with a pretty good 289.8 yards per game average.

We have all seen Canfield complete the out pattern, the crossing pattern, the deep ball and pretty much any other pass that would be asked of a Division-I quarterback to make.

The problem is his head. And that is somewhat common of a young quarterback trying to compete in the Pac-10.

Out of his nine interceptions so far this year, I can honestly say at least four of them weren't entirely his fault. They were either passes tipped at the line of scrimmage or off an open receivers hands.

The other five were just flat out poor decisions.

The thing is, poor decisions making can be fixed in the film room and the practice field.

The key is the head of Canfield. Does he want to improve? Does he have the mental toughness to improve? Does he have the confidence?

Reality is this team was picked by most experts to finish fifth in the Pac-10. And with a slight adjustment in Canfields play that is very obtainable goal.

It is important that Beaver fan remembers last season. Four games into the season everyone was asking for Canfield over Matt Moore and Coach Mike Riley's head on a platter.

At the end of the season you remember what happened. My only question is where is your 2006 Sun Bowl t-shirt now?
 


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