Some thoughts after watching OSU

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Neither of Oregon State's top two quarterbacks, Sean Canfield nor Lyle Moevao, threw during Tuesday's practice.

Moevao is still working his way back from a shoulder injury and Canfield rested his arm.

The interesting thing is how good the passing game looked without the two senior quarterbacks running the show.

It was one day. We know. And the Beavers secondary is banged up.

But redshirt freshman Ryan Katz and Virginia transfer Peter Lalich, a junior, looked comfortable while making a number of downfield connections. Both showed good arm strength and accuracy.

"I'm really pleased with both Ryan and Peter Lalich," Riley said.

This might or might not be meaningful this year. But the Beavers have a lot of guys coming back in 2010. Just not at quarterback.

Riley didn't seem too worried about that.

  • It's interesting how much teaching goes on at Oregon State practices. And not just by coaches. After listening to Riley encourage injured receiver Darrell Catchings to work with the Beavers young receivers, I noticed a number of instances when veterans pulled aside less experienced players to instruct them. Defensive end Kevin Frahm worked with Matt LaGrone and Henry Taylor on pass-rushing techniques. Center Alex Linnenkohl repeatedly praised and pushed a couple of the offensive linemen. Linebacker Keaton Kristick and cornerback Patrick Henderson held an informal sideline meeting over some pass defense issues. Sure that happens elsewhere. I just haven't witnessed so much of it during one practice.

  • Riley said he expects to figure out the starting offensive line by the end of the week. He said that touted true freshman Michael Philipp is the leader at left tackle, and left guard remains fluid between Colin Kelly and Grant Johnson, though Johnson appears to lead.

  • After watching Washington and Oregon State, I had a thought about how "returning starters" can be a misleading way to judge a unit. The Huskies secondary welcomes back all four starters. The Beavers none. And the Beavers were missing a number of guys due to injury. But the Beavers looked far more athletic in the back half than the Huskies. On paper, the Huskies might seem better off but my impression is the Beavers should be more confident. That shouldn't be too surprising. One team won nine games last year. The other, zero.

  • Moevao isn't easily rattled. Cornerback Tim Clark stood behind a TV reporter interviewing Moevao after practice and made a variety of faces that would have distracted an average guy. Moevao didn't even flinch during the interview. When the camera clicked off, he turned to Clark, "It doesn't work on me. I've been doing this too long."