COMMENTARY: Should there even be QB question?

MIKE RILEY HAS said the situation will be resolved later on down the road. And I know people in the Beaver Nation who feel a healthy Lyle Moevao might get the nod when the season opener rolls around. But I think it should be Sean Canfield, and I don't envision anything coming along between now and September that should or will change that.

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Lyle Moevao started 11 games last year and at one point deep into the season was leading the Pac-10 in passing efficiency. But none of that changes the fact that Sean Canfield has become the best quarterback at Oregon State.

Canfield had a fantastic spring, the final spring game notwithstanding. Truth be told, he had an excellent, though abbreviated, 2008 season. He played in five games, started two, and looked great doing it.

Canfield has always had a great arm, a great throwing motion and he's always looked the part. But it took until 2008 for him to inspire as much confidence as Moevao. Because Moevao is a gamer, he's the fiery playmaker. He didn't always look great but he got the job done -- and had a ball doing it.

Moevao supporters in the past have argued that Canfield lacked the same leadership and competitive fire as Moevao. That changed last season, highlighted by the stirring Canfield-led comeback against Arizona.

Canfield supporters in the past have argued that Moevao lacks the arm strength to stretch the field and was too inaccurate, too much of the time.

WE'LL ALL HAVE to wait to see how accurate Moevao is this fall post-surgery but his arm strength is likely to remain the same. Moevao actually could have a strong arm but his throwing motion, where his body goes one way and the arm goes another, robs him of putting much pace on the ball.

If things go according to plan, no sure bet whenever injury rehab is involved, Moevao will have around six weeks of training and throwing headed into the Aug. 11 start of fall camp.

But unless Canfield suddenly wakes up one morning and forgets how to play quarterback, even a healthy Moevao should still be the No. 2 behind him. Because Canfield showed this spring he has developed into just that good a quarterback.

RILEY, HOWEVER, HAS taken pains not to publicly declare either one of the seniors-to-be the starter.

I know other Beaver fans, (whose long held opinions on all things black and orange I respect), who disagree with me but I think it's a mistake for Riley not to name Canfield the starter now and to get every ounce out of benefit from the announcement through the Beavs' summer workouts.

By naming Canfield the guy now, Riley would eliminate much of the offseason speculation that's to come -- both external with fans and media, and the internal kind with the players.

Changes on the depth chart happen all the time, so in the unlikely event a sea change is necessary during fall camp, so what? Make it. But letting the matter sit unresolved for the next 14 weeks isn't the best option.

The position of quarterback just isn't like other positions, where a starter to be named later doesn't have the same kind of potential to substantially upset the apple cart.

"I don't know if we're headed for those waters again, but those are good waters to be in because both of those guys have proven they can win games in this league," said Riley to the Oregonian recently.

MAYBE. BUT MORE likely they're roiled waters.

Few teams find success when there's a situation featuring an either/or at quarterback and the starter is not clear cut and defined.

And that clear cut and defining event came during this spring, when Canfield built upon his '08 season and showed himself to have continued to improve on his weaknesses, all while strengthening his best attributes. The best players should play and Canfield is right now clearly the best quarterback at Oregon State.

Stephen O'Dowd is a 1994 graduate of Oregon State and is a long time season ticket holder. BF.C welcomes guest submissions from our readers. If you're interested in submitting a column or story on the Beavs, send it to us here.


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