Note: Special thanks to Noghri_ViR for compiling his thoughts on Saturday's Spring Game. If you haven't seen it yet, check out my Press Box Report from yesterday's game between the Beavers and the Pilots, including quotes from Coach Casey. --jake
After diving into a deep sports depression with the Blazer loss earlier in the week, I went to the spring game looking for a pick-me-up. Driving into Corvallis and seeing the stadium once again was more then enough to put a smile back on my face. Seeing people out in the parking lot, tailgating for this was a fantastic feeling. Honestly, I would have been right out there with them if I even thought of it.
I got into the stadium about a half hour before the game started. The first thing I saw was James and Quizz throwing the ball back and forth. Neither one looked like they had shoulder or arm problems at all.
A few minutes later we got to see Moevao get out there and passed the ball about 10-15 times before calling it a day. From my spot in the stands, he looked like he had a full range of motion and didn't look to be in any pain throwing. Hopefully he'll have a full recovery from his surgery. From what he said during an interview at the game, he can start throwing again June 15th.
By then we started seeing Canfield throwing the ball. I've been reading articles from the Corvallis Gazette-times writer Cliff Kirkpatrick's and The Oregonians Paul Baker saying how Canfield has been having a great spring workout and how he looks like he's going to be able to beat out Moevao for the QB position in the Fall. Sorry guys but after Saturday's game, I'm not drinking the Kool-Aid.
Canfield wasn't as accurate as he should be. He kept throwing long or short of the receiver. In addition, I know this was non contact, but he didn't bother trying to scramble when the pocket collapsed. Yea, he had time to sit back there and wait for a route to open up and pass since he wasn't going to get physically sacked. But if you're not trying to scramble in a practice game, are you going to be doing it once you have to do it for real?
Saturday I figured out why I've never been happy with Canfield's passes. When throws a pass that's longer then 10 yards, his pass is a slow lob, that gets to the target, but it gives way too much time for a defender to figure out where it's going and make a move.
Watching Katz, his long passes were high enough to be out of jumping range of the defender, yet they got right where they needed to go with good speed on them. This kid has a cannon for an arm with great accuracy, and I feel he's going to be a good QB, he's just going to need some experience. After watching him play, I don't feel too worried if both Canfield and Moevao were knocked out for the season.
The running game was complete crap, but we didn't have 3 of the guys who carry the load for us playing. If Quiz and James go down this year we're going to be in big trouble. Stevenson looked decent but he wasn't up to the level we've come to expect from Quizz, Benard, Jackson and Simonton.
In the receiver department, Jordan Bishop looked great. With the way he played in the spring game, I wouldn't be surprised if we hear his name more and more in the fall. I also liked the way Catchings looked, he make a couple of nice moves to break open. He didn't have much in the way of numbers on the day but when he did get the ball he was a threat.
The defense was the bright spot on the day. They looked good all around and it seems that we're going to be able to fill the holes left by the departing starters. You didn't pay too much attention to them when the offense was running the ball since Quizz, James and McCants weren't playing. But from what you saw, they were covering the route. On passing they were getting in there and breaking up the pass and in a few cases getting interceptions (I think it was 5 on the day).
Overall, I feel good about the team next year, but the only part that really worries me is the QB position. I think that our defense will rise up once again, Bishop and Catchings will step up and hopefully our running backs stay healthy.
Also, I just threwall my pictures up on Flickr: