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November 20, 2008To get a better understanding of Arizona's next opponent in Oregon State, GOAZCATS.com got in touch with Angie Machado of BeaverBlitz.com, and asked her a couple questions about this week's matchup.
1. What are the Beavers' strengths?
Offensively, the Beavers' strength lies with their many weapons. Obviously freshman running back Jacquizz Rodgers is a special talent, but the Beavers also have Quizz's older brother James Rodgers at wide receiver, joined by Sammie Stroughter and Shane Morales. The offensive line has also done an outstanding job this season in protecting the quarterback and opening holes for Quizz. On defense, the front seven, which started the year as a big question mark, has developed into the strength of the defense. As a unit they have jelled and have developed a ferocious pass rush while the linebackers are able to stop the run.
The Beavers' secondary has shown some weakness in giving up the big play from time to time and while cornerbacks Brandon Hughes and Keenan Lewis are seasoned veterans they occasionally get tagged with a pass interference call or two because of the way they play the receiver.
Oregon State's kicking game has also been suspect throughout the season as sophomore place kicker Justin Kahut is just 12 of 18 on the year and only 2 of 7 on kicks between 40 yards and longer.
3. Who is the best player on OSU that we have never heard of?
Well, I would have said Stephen Paea, starting defensive tackle for the Beavers, but then he goes and wins Pac-10 Player of the Week honors after his performance against Cal. At any rate, Paea is an athletic and quick tackle who Arizona fans should enjoy watching.
Keaton Kristick is another player to watch at linebacker. Kristick, originally from Arizona, has become one of the Beavers' biggest playmakers and he is currently second on the team in tackles and tackles for loss. The junior is quietly making a name for himself on the Beavers defense.
4. What does OSU have to do this week to beat Arizona?
There are a lot of familiar faces that the Beavers have seen in the past when they line up against the Wildcats in Tucson on Saturday. This game is going to be a battle, one that I've actually been eyeing as a tough game since the start of the season.
The Beavers are going to need to contain Nicolas Grigsby and Keola Antolin right off the bat to have a shot at this game. They then will need to pressure Willie Tuitama and not give up big plays, especially to Mike Thomas and Rob Gronkowski.
Arizona has shown it can be a quick strike team and Tuitama has a great arm which could exploit OSU's secondary. Controlling turnovers will also be key for the Beavers.
And while the talk is on Arizona's offense, Mike Stoops has shown that his teams play tough defense. This one could be a big defensive dual similar to the USC vs. Arizona game from earlier in the season.
5. What should Arizona fans expect to see out of quarterback Lyle Moevao?
Lyle Moevao is an extremely efficient passer who makes very quick reads and decisions. On the year, he is 166-268 for 1967 yards with nine interceptions and 14 touchdowns. He is very accurate on short and mid-range throws, but rarely throws the deep ball.
He suffered a shoulder injury early against Arizona State and missed the rest of the game as well as the UCLA game. He returned this past weekend against California and had a so-so performance going 14-28-145, with one interception and no touchdowns.
6. Who is the leader of the Beaver's defense?
While there are a few leaders on the defense who may lead quietly, senior defensive ends Victor Butler and Slade Norris have become the spokesmen for the entire defense.
Last season, Butler and Norris were third down specialists, but became every down players this season and have excelled. The two of them have combined for 16.5 tackles for loss and 13 sacks so far this season.