More Moevao in '10?

MAKE NO MISTAKE, it appears a long shot. But Oregon State coach Mike Riley said he's pursuing an option to see if fifth year senior QB Lyle Moevao might be able to return to the Beavs for next season.

The rule for a sixth year is generally that a player has to miss all or significant parts of two seasons to injury, in order to get back one.

Lyle Moevao redshirted his first year, and has missed virtually all of this season with a shoulder injury. He would seem to be in the same boat as was Joe Newton, whose request for a sixth year was denied.

"Our odds don't appear great...but we are not through exploring that, it's a great time of year (bye) to explore that -- and we have," said Riley.

Riley said Moevao is physically cleared to play, but the arm strength isn't there.

"He is healthy..but he's not strong," said Riley. "And that affects directly the velocity of the ball. When he plays his intermediate game, he plays like Lyle -- he's quick with the ball, he makes quick decisions, he looks real good.

"But when the balls get up and down the field a little bit, he even says it feels like somebody's got a string on the end of the ball and they are pulling it back. His (intermediate throws) look good, his mechanics look good, it's strengthening that's an issue."

In playing out scenarios, in one where starter Sean Canfield got hurt the Beavs could, said Riley, turn to Ryan Katz.

"There is that possibility...if we explored and found we could get more time with Lyle, then Katz could certainly be a very capable backup for us," said Riley.

THE WILDCAT FORMATION, where Jacquizz Rodgers takes the direct snap, finally came out of the lab against Stanford but Riley isn't necessarily talking it up in terms of what fans (and opposing teams) might see in the weeks ahead.

"It did have a good debut, we'll see what we can do with it in the future. We don't have a lot of other thoughts about it right now. We've kinda put in the basics and we'll see where it leads...we had some good hits with it, it really helped us in the (Stanford) game and of course that's exactly what you want to get out of it," said Riley.

AS HAS BEEN well chronicled, the Beavs have started slow (2-3) the previous three seasons only to string together a bunch of wins and finished the years ranked in the Top 25 from 2006-08. After a 2-2 start this year, the Beavs knocked off Stanford on Saturday, who were then atop the Pac-10 standings. There were, said Riley, some signs OSU was ramping up.

The Beavs are taking care of the ball and the defense has come on, said Riley, and in particular the defensive line is becoming more productive.

"I will say that the last two weeks have felt real good with this team. The biggest change (is) we've made some real good, smart decisions and we're playing intelligently, I think that's probably been the biggest difference," said Riley.

RILEY SAID IT'S in his nature to go conservative in the playcalling such as when the Beavs surged to a big lead against Stanford.

One reason is because of what happened in 1992 and a World League game Riley coached. Closer to present day, there was the UW-Arizona game this past weekend where a freak (and disputed) interception off a Wildcat's foot resulted in an return for score and a win for the UW. Riley said he can sympathize with Mike Stoops.

"I can't remember ever losing one like that but it is your biggest nightmare," said Riley. "And that's why I'm really conservative at those points in the game with a lead, I kind of have a paranoia about that, not that you can control everything.

As for the game in '92, Riley's team was clinging to a small lead but taking a knee in the victory formation. But the center snapped low, the ball was kicked through the defensive line and the safety grabbed it and took off across the field and down the sideline. He ducked out of bounds as the clock expired.

"I'm thankful it was a home game because I think the guy let it go to zero, otherwise they're kicking a field goal to win the game," said Riley.

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