Beavs can't catch a break

It doesn't seem like the Oregon State football team can catch a break this year. From players quitting to players being ruled ineligible to just plain old injuries - the Beavers are simply banged up heading into games with their Northwest rivals.

The defense has done a nice job filling in for injured players as safety Greg Laybourn started two games in place of Daniel Drayton. Laybourn reached double digits in tackles in each game.

Cornerback Tim Clark was outstanding in Keenan Lewis' absence as he kept California's DeSean Jackson in check and picked off his first pass against Stanford.

This week another player will have to step up as senior defensive end Dorian Smith will miss the Washington game with a left knee injury. Junior Victor Butler, whose specialty is pass rushing, will get the start.

Huskies (3-6) at Beavers (5-4)
AT A GLANCE

KICKOFF:
7:26 pm Pacific Time

WHERE:
Reser Stadium (45,674)

TELEVISION:
FSN

RADIO:
The Beaver Sports Radio Network covers much of the West. Click here for listings.

THE LINE:
No line

LAST MEETING:
2006 OSU won 27-17

THE SERIES:
UW leads 57-30-4

It will be a good test for next year to see if he is an every down player like Smith. The good thing is that he has a ton of experience and confidence with a team high seven sacks, but the question remains if he can sustain his high level of play with more repetitions.

Where the injury bug has really taken its toll is the offense. Senior running back Yvenson Bernard missed last week's contest against USC as the offense struggled mightily gaining just 176 total yards.

It was simple to see that with Bernard off of the field all aspects - from passing to third down conversion to play calling - of the Beaver offense struggled.

"If he's not the best, he is definitely in the top two or three, best all-around players I have ever been around when talking about running, blocking, receiving, smart, and extremely tough," coach Mike Riley said. "He is the heart and soul of this team."

And the Beavers must have that heart and soul suited up and ready to go against Washington if the Beavers hope to put their first touchdown in six quarters on the board.

Another crucial position that will have a first time starter is quarterback where Lyle Moevao will be replacing Sean Canfield who injured his left shoulder last week against USC.

And while Canfield and the offense have struggled at times, it's nothing when compared to when Moevao is running the show.

Moevao is late to the line of scrimmage with the play calls resulting in delay of games and putting unwarranted pressure on the offense. Plus, he has completed 27 of 51 passes for 280 yards and four interceptions while making it look difficult. But, for the glass if half full crowd, Moevao has never had a chance to start the game from kickoff or get the additional repetitions with the first team offense in practice during the week.

And it shouldn't come as a surprise that the ever optimistic Riley has confidence in his backup quarterback to get the job done Saturday.

"We have good feelings about him, our goal was to develop two guys who we thought were both semi-starters, and could both play in a game," Riley said. "so this is his opportunity to show what he can do in a starting role."

The shuffling of the offensive line continues after they were dominated by the USC front four a week ago. Luckily for the offensive line, Washington has no where near the talent the Trojans have and should have an easier time run and pass blocking.

In what should be a boost for the unit junior Jeremy Perry returns to the lineup at left guard after missing every game this year except the home opener. As a result of Perry's return Adam Speer moves to right guard while Roy Schuening, who will be making his 47th consecutive start, slides over to right tackle.

Junior Andy Levitre moves from right tackle to left tackle replacing redshirt freshman Ryan Pohl who has has an ankle injury and struggled last week. Of course, Kyle DeVan will be at center starting his 34th consecutive game.

Offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh said Perry has looked good this week and is getting back to his old self, which is great news for the offense who will have to rely even more on the running game then usual with Moevao in the game.

The team has been blessed several times this year as backup after backup has stepped in and held their own - this week is no different.

It's time to put up or shut up as the Men in Black try and secure the fictitious Northwest Cup, which would propel them into the postseason, secure a winning record and rip the hearts out of Oregon fans across the nation. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves, first, let's start with the Huskies.

The saga beings this Saturday at 7:15 p.m. on FoxSports Net. It's gonna be cold so you might as well stand up, jump around and get rowdy during Oregon State's last home game of 2007.

Go Beavs!

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Dan Norz is the publisher of BeaverFootball.com. He can be reached at webmaster@beaverfootball.com.


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