PLAYERS LOST: Brennan Sim (transferred to the University of South Alabama)
INJURIES: Lyle Moevao missed spring practice recovering from rotator cuff shoulder surgery. He started throwing in early July.
OVERVIEW: The Sean Canfield/Lyle Moevao debate has been hacked to bits and analyzed every which way so there's no need to rehash the positives and negatives of each player.
If for some reason you don't know about the debate and/or you would weigh in on the controversy, I encourage you to read this thread on the BeaverFootball.com message boards that provides views from each side of the fence.
From this writer's perspective, the Canfield/Moevao argument isn't even an issue heading into the season. Canfield asserted himself as one of the leaders of the team in the spring and since he is healthy and performed at such a high level, he will rightfully start the season atop the depth chart.
Moevao was cleared to start throwing at the beginning of July, giving him a month to get his shoulder into playing shape before fall camp. He had surgery on his rotator cuff and bicep on his right side in early March.
The kickoff date of fall camp Aug. 10 would make five months since he went under the knife. Typical recovery time for an athlete with the injury is four to six months, with most recoveries generally taking at least six months.
That might mean that Moevao, who was a honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick last season, would most likely not be 100 percent ready for the season opener and could need much of September to get ready, but should be well on his way to full strength come early October.
Not throwing, no pun intended, Moevao in before he is fully healed is key for the Beavers' season and Moevao's career - the coaches don't want a repeat of the Jeremy Perry experience.
Even if the senior Moevao never starts another game, the coaches want to get him ready as soon as possible -- that gives them an experienced safety cushion if Canfield goes down.
One of Moevao's strengths is worth mentioning though at this point -- his leadership skills. He was the recipient of the Team Award on offense which is voted on by the Beaver players and given to the Beav who guides the team to play together at the highest level.
The players feed off of his vivacious energy -- a trait that Canfield has improved on this past year -- which helps both the offense and defense through difficult situations.
But even if the players are drawn more to Moevao the team has realized the importance of both gunslingers -- they were both voted team captains for 2009.
The nice part about No. 3's leadership skills is that if he can't be in the huddle, he can still support, encourage and instruct his counterparts on the sidelines.
While Moevao gets back to full strength, redshirt freshman Ryan Katz and walk-on Justin Engstrom will serve as the backups.
Katz has grown leaps and bounds as he received extra snaps in the spring due to Moevao being sidelined. Despite being just a redshirt freshman it was his second spring practice and he was looking to do more playing and less thinking.
If Canfield goes down and Moevao is not ready to go Katz would most likely see game time. He has a gun for an arm and is improving his accuracy. He has a solid foundation, he just needs experience and to keep building.
Engstrom isn't going to wow anyone with his arm strength or his mobility, but he knows how to play the game. At 6-foot-5, he is the tallest of the Beaver quarterbacks and gets rid of the ball quickly while spreading the pigskin around nicely.
At this point, junior Peter Lalich is fighting to get into the picture. He sulked a little bit last year, but readjusted his attitude before spring practice showing Riley that he is willing to wait for his opportunity.
Lalich threw some nice passes in the spring game, his first significant action at OSU, but it also came against mostly third and fourth string competition. The plan is to have him redshirt this year and compete with Katz for the starting spot in 2010.
One point of note is that history shows a big time season for a senior quarterback in a Mike Riley system.
In Matt Moore's final year he completed 60 percent of his passes for over 3,000 yards while throwing 18 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. In Derek Anderson's senior season he threw for over 3,600 yards to go with 29 touchdowns, 17 interceptions and a 54 percent completion percentage.
Moevao's statistics from last season show that he was almost there.
He tossed 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while completing 58.7-percent of his passes. Playing with a bum shoulder in the latter half of the year, he threw five touchdowns, all against Oregon, and five interceptions, one against Cal, two versus Oregon and two in the Sun Bowl.
AN OPTIMIST WOULD SAY: Both quarterbacks have plenty of experience and will settle into their roles - whether that be in a starting role or supporting the starter on the sidelines.
A PESSIMIST WOULD SAY: Moevao will not fully recover from his shoulder injury which puts the team on pins and needles every time Canfield gets hit. A pessimist would also say that Canfield cannot take the team to new heights - he is too laid back and holds onto the ball too long.
STAR PLAYER: Sean Canfield, Lyle Moevao or both. Both seniors have plenty of experience, have lead the team to big-time victories, have each started and each have come off of the bench.
UNIT STRENGTH: Experience. Neither Canfield or Moevao have a complete season under their orange belts, but have combined for an 18-8 record in the last two years.
UNIT WEAKNESS: Consistency. With the deep ball, or with getting rid of the ball quickly enough, each quarterback has struggled with a part of their game that has hurt the team.
NOTABLE NOTE: Moevao is 11-4 as a starter while Canfield is 7-4 | Moevao is sixth all-time at OS for passing yards (3,410) and passing touchdowns (21)
STATS: Moevao (11 games, all starting): 214 of 361 (59%) for 2534 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, 211.1 ypg, 128.4 rating | Canfield (5 games, 2 starts): 56 of 84 (67%) for 703 yards, six touchdowns, two interceptions, 140.6 ypg, 140.6 rating | Engstrom (3 games): 0 of 2