Thursday, March 23, 2006
Oregon State's Moore top QB going into spring drills
Spring football at Oregon State is almost two weeks away, but coach Mike Riley is already dispelling the notion of a quarterback controversy.
"Matt Moore will be our incumbent quarterback in spring practice and we'll let it go from there," Riley said Thursday in Corvallis as he and his staff prepared for workouts starting April
Moore, a transfer from UCLA, started well last season and showed
toughness, but lacked consistency. Before he hurt his knee in the
season's second-to-last game, he passed for 2,711 yards, 11
touchdowns and had 19 interceptions.
His backup, Ryan Gunderson, completed 22 of 43 passes for 175
yards and a touchdown in the final game of the year, the Civil War.
He was intercepted four times.
Some questioned whether Riley should have turned to Gunderson
sooner, as Moore's interceptions mounted. But Riley was solid in
his support of Moore.
"I thought Matt did a lot of great things for us last year, and
I'm glad we had him," Riley said.
Last season was a disappointment for Oregon State, which
finished 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the Pacific-10 Conference. The year
ended with a resounding thud as the Beavers fell 56-14 to rival
Oregon in the Civil War.
As the team looks forward to a fresh start, there are some big
holes to fill, including the gaps left by NFL hopefuls Mike Hass,
the Biletnikoff Award winner, and linebacker Keith Ellison.
But the Beavers return a solid running game in Yvenson Bernard,
and barring disaster they should have tight end Joe Newton, who was
injured before fall camp started and was lost for the season.
Riley called Newton a "big guy who can run and catch the
ball," and a threat in the red zone and on third down.
"I'm very anxious to have him back and work with him in our
offense," Riley said.
Bernard, a junior next season, rushed for 1,321 yards and 13
Oregon State loses 13 seniors, but the Beavers are a fairly
young team, with returnees including kicker Alexis Serna, strong
safety Sabby Piscitelli and slotback Anthony Wheat-Brown.
Serna was particularly dependable, making 23 of 28 field goals
last season. He has made 61 straight extra points and won the Lou
Groza Award as the nation's best placekicker.
Riley said his team is eager to erase the memories of last
season, when they started 4-2 and upset California, then lost four
of their last five games.
"We had a chance to take off, and for whatever reason, we did
not," the coach said. "Every day you've got to get better. Every
game you've got to get batter."