Former lineman Moevao leads diverse Beavers offense


If things go Lyle Moevao's way this season, the Oregon State quarterback will be known for something other than his ability to lay out defensive ends.

Moevao, a junior from Torrance, Calif., will be the starting QB when the Beavers kick off their season Thursday at Stanford. That's a new scenario for Moevao, who started last season as Sean Canfield's backup.

After Canfield went down with a torn labrum after eight games, Moevao took the job and promptly led the Beavers to three straight wins.

If that wasn't enough to endear the 5-foot-11, 235-pound former high school lineman to Beavers fans, the crackback block that put Washington defensive end Greyson Gunheim on the Reser Stadium turf became a YouTube moment, garnering Moevao national attention.

While Moevao isn't planning to shed his freewheeling style, he has dropped 18 pounds over the offseason. After all, a quicker, nimbler QB is more likely to be more of an asset for the Beavers than a guy who can knock a nose tackle on his keister.

"It was just one of those things I wanted to focus on in the offseason," Moevao said. "It helps me be a little bit lighter on my feet, helps out my offensive line by improving my mobility. I wanted to make sure I was good for all the snaps."

In 2007, Moevao played in parts of nine games for the Beavers, who went 9-4, including a win over Maryland in the Emerald Bowl. He completed 77 of 147 passes for two touchdowns and six interceptions.

The Beavers won their final four games. Canfield took over, despite his shoulder injury, when Moevao was injured early on in the bowl game.

It's been a frustrating fall camp for Canfield, a 6-foot-4, 220-pounder from Carlsbad, Calif., who sat out the spring after undergoing surgery and was supposed to challenge Moevao for the starting job.

But a sore shoulder has kept Canfield mostly sidelined since the third day of camp. An MRI late last week was "routine," Oregon State coach Mike Riley told reporters.

"There is really nothing that is negative, nothing that is conclusive," Riley said.

If Canfield isn't ready when the Beavers suit up against Stanford, Riley said the backup will be freshman walk-on Justin Engstrom, who comes from the same school (Scappoose High) as former Beaver and current Cleveland Browns QB Derek Anderson. Prized freshman Ryan Katz, who has displayed an impressive arm in camp, will be redshirting.

The Oregon State QB job comes with an intriguing set of offensive weapons, including senior wide receiver Sammie Stroughter, a third team All-American in 2006 who missed most of last season to injuries and personal issues.

Returning with Stroughter at wideout are sophomores Darrell Catchings and James Rodgers, the latter a speedster who turned the fly sweep into a deadly weapon last season.

Rodgers' younger brother, Jacquizz, a 5-foot-6 true freshman tailback who was highly recruited out of Lamar Consolidated High in Richmond, Texas, has wowed teammates with his Barry Sanders-like elusiveness. He will share time in the backfield with 6-foot-1, 240-pound bruiser Ryan McCants.

For his part, Moevao feels ready to go.

"It's definitely exciting being out here and running with the (starters)," he said.

"Knowing that you are the starter for a team in the Pac-10 &

one of the best conferences in the nation &

is definitely exciting for myself. I'm just taking it all in."

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