Beavers defense gets revenge

May, 4, 2009
5/04/09
10:37
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Oregon State's defense, after getting rolled in two previous scrimmages, controlled the Beavers spring game on Saturday, but the real story is composed of two huge questions that will linger into the fall.

Who's the starting quarterback? And can the Beavers get healthy?

As for the spring game -- a glorified scrimmage due to a lengthy injury list -- the defense piled up five interceptions, two forced fumbles and was all over whoever was playing quarterback.

What to take from that? Well, the unit, which is replacing eight starters from 2008, probably started to catch its rhythm late, particularly a promising but completely rebuilt secondary that got abused in the early going.

As for quarterback, it might further spice things up that Sean Canfield threw three interceptions after having an exceptional spring. Some might have been forgetting how well Lyle Moevao played in 2008 before trying to play through the shoulder injury that kept him on the sidelines this spring.

That competition between two experienced seniors -- Canfield vs. Moevao III -- might be the most interesting battle in the Pac-10 next preseason.

Further concerns will be fortifying the offensive line and finding the right combination at cornerback.

Remember that the last time the Beavers defense was bad -- anyone recall 31 touchdown passes surrendered in 2005? -- inexperience at cornerback was a problem. Of course, everyone knew then that Keenan Lewis and Brandon Hughes would never amount to anything.

Injuries are an issue. Moevao, running back Jacquizz Rodgers and receiver-brother James Rodgers all sat out with shoulder injuries. While the expectations are that all three will be fine by the fall, shoulder injuries can be tricky.

Further, No. 1 offensive tackle Timi Oshinowo hurt his knee during the scrimmage. Backup tailback Ryan McCants and backup middle linebacker Tony Wilson will need offseason knee surgeries, while cornerback Brandon Hardin will require wrist surgery.

On the positive side, the rebuilt receiving corps looked solid through spring, with Darrell Catchings, Jordan Bishop and Casey Kjos, among others, playing well.

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