Expect some changes, says Riley

DON'T EXPECT OREGON STATE TO be predictable this season. Just because something worked last year, that doesn't mean the Beavs won't be trying something new. That was the word from Mike Riley this week. The head man of the Beavers also talked Lyle Moevao, Sean Canfield and who is No. 1 right now, brothers James and Jacquizz Rodgers, just what it is that makes the OSU offense tick and more.

Mike Riley said on a Seattle radio station this week that everything about this time of year is about getting the Beavs ready to start the season.

True, Oregon State is deeply involved in recruiting right now, winding up four weeks of being on the road and the evaluation of prep and JC prospects by the entire staff will be continuing. But post spring ball it's also the time for the coaches to, schematically, get down in the trenches.

"Right now, for me, it's research and development. We're obviously looking at talented recruits. But we're also just looking back -- and I love this part of it -- looking back at what we did, offensively, defensively, kicking game, and seeing what we can tweak, what we want to add. And how it fits in with our players," said Riley.

Riley initially thought that slotback James Rodgers running the fly sweep in terms of a trick play and that he'd call it maybe once a game. In concert with Yvenson Bernard running the inside zone, the fly sweep ended up becoming a staple of the OSU offense in '07, with Rodgers gaining 586 yards on 50 carries.

So to what degree the Beavs will adjust what they do on the field, in order to best fit this year's personnel, is the question.

"I think that's really one of the keys in coaching," said Riley. "You saw us last year and we have never run anything like the fly sweep. But out of necessity, we needed something to try and get some chunks of yardage because we weren't throwing the ball down the field like we did with Derek Anderson and Matt Moore.

"And really, it was because of James Rodgers' (abilities), there's no magic to it."

SOME OF THOSE same gamebreaking abilities are present in James' younger brother, incoming freshman Jacquizz Rodgers.

There has been some debate among the Oregon State faithful, given the emergence of running backs Ryan McCants and Jeremy Francis, of if the Beavs would be best served by possibly redshirting the younger Rodgers his first year.

Don't count on it.

"He may be in line to be one of those guys (Yvenson Bernard, Steven Jackson, Ken Simonton) and we certainly need that in our program," said Riley. "The foundation of our team is giving the ball to a good tailback and having him gain 1,000 yards. That's what we need to have happen.

"He brings a lot of production...he was the all-time leading touchdown maker in the history of the state of Texas for a runner."

THE QUARTERBACK QUESTION at Oregon State might not be completely settled until fall camp, with Sean Canfield sitting out this spring rehabbing a shoulder while Lyle Moevao took the reins with the No. 1 offense.

But Riley said there is now, clearly, a guy to beat.

"Lyle is definitely the No. 1 guy right now," said Riley. "Sean got hurt and that's when Lyle took over last year. Sean is still recovering..but doing a great job of staying engaged, working out, and will be a very good competitor and quarterback for us in some fashion. Now how that all plays out, we'll let it play out, but Lyle will take the first snaps.

"(Lyle) had a very good spring, and he finished the season very well. What I'm hoping.. is what I wanted a year ago: through the process to have at least two guys we feel are very capable starters in the Pac-10 conference. I think we're getting closer to that. The fall camp will tell the tale for sure on that."


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