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Beaver backup waits patiently

Sidelines are a place to learn for understudy quarterback Sean Canfield
by: COURTESY OF OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY, Redshirt freshman Sean Canfield has spent most of the season watching the role of quarterback be filled by Matt Moore.

The season hasn't gone exactly as Sean Canfield had hoped.

Oregon State's redshirt freshman envisioned himself wresting the starting quarterback job away from Matt Moore, or at least earning himself some regular playing time.

That hasn't happened. Moore struggled early in the season, and Canfield got some opportunities. But after Moore regained his balance and Canfield struggled in a brief appearance Oct. 14 at Washington, throwing a careless interception, Canfield has been relegated to mop-up duty the rest of the way.

To coach Mike Riley's delight, there has been no pouting from Moore's understudy. In a word, Riley says Canfield's attitude has been 'awesome.'

'Sean works hard,' Riley says. 'He's in our office every day studying (video). This season has been very good for him. He got some game experience, he continues to get quite a few reps in practice, and he's growing as a quarterback.'

Moore has been impressed with Canfield's attitude, too.

'Sean understands what's going on and his role on this team,' the senior QB says. 'Next year it will be different. That'll be his time, and he knows that. Sean has been great to me. He has been supportive, and though it's obviously tough being No. 2, it's not affected our relationship at all.'

Canfield will be on the sidelines for Saturday's game at Hawaii, rooting on his teammate, readying himself for duty, if needed. He has no complaints about the situation he is in.

'It's understandable,' says the 6-4, 225-pound left-hander from Carlsbad, Calif., who has completed 28 of 45 passes for 335 yards and two TDs with two interceptions this season. 'Why put me in there when Matt's doing fine and we're winning games? I'm not mad.

'(San Diego Chargers QB) Philip Rivers talked about sitting behind Drew Brees and learning from the sidelines. That's what I've been doing, and it's helped me understand things a lot better. I've learned a lot. Matt's settled into the offense and done the job, and just watching him, I'm more ready now than I've ever been. We're good friends. Nothing has changed that.'

During the season, Moore gets the majority of snaps at practice sessions - on the average, five to Canfield's two. That will change during the 3 1/2 weeks of workouts leading up to the Dec. 29 Sun Bowl.

'It's going to be like an extra spring practice for Sean,' Moore says. 'He'll get a ton of reps. It'll be great for his development as a Pac-10 quarterback. He's come a long way, and he'll only get better.'

Riley says Canfield will go into drills next spring as the Beavers' No. 1 quarterback, but will face competition from Lyle Moevao, a 6-0, 220-pound transfer from El Camino College in Torrance, Calif., who redshirted this fall.

'Lyle will be a top-flight competitor for the position,' Riley says.

And that's fine with Canfield.

'I love competition,' he says. 'That's what it's all about. Lyle is a good quarterback. I'm not expecting the job to be given to me. I have to earn it. Nobody understands that better than me.'

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