Sean Canfield's approach to life, football and everything in-between is to remain calm in all situations.

He enjoys life, and studies it. Canfield believes everything is a learning experience.

That's fitting from a philosophy major.

During his time with the Oregon State football team, Canfield has been the favorite son as the backup to Matt Moore and Public Enemy No. 1 as the young struggling starting quarterback.

There was a year he was forgotten - damaged goods - from a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. There were times he doubted he'd return, but he kept going because of an internal drive and a strong support system from his family.

None of the setbacks matter to him now. He's savoring all his success during his senior season.

"I don't regret anything," Canfield said. "You go through everything for a reason. I really believe that. I learned a lot of good lessons in the last year."

He's starting to show the promise he had coming out of high school in Carlsbad, Calif. His strong arm and even-tempered personality to handle pressure are attributes of a good quarterback.

Actually reaching that level wasn't easy for him.

"I really wanted this," Canfield said. "This is something I've been working for my whole life. I pinch myself every day. I'm living the dream I've always envisioned."

His focus on football was so strong that he graduated high school a semester early to begin at OSU in the spring of 2004.

Canfield's arm amazed everyone watching those early practices. He was anointed the future of the program by public opinion, but had to wait two years behind transfer Moore.

"He's a beautiful thrower," quarterback coach Danny Langsdorf said. "That's what he's always been great at. He's now grown and learned the offense."

Canfield had to fight off Lyle Moevao in a protracted position battle, which lasted into their sophomore seasons. Canfield eventually took over and was playing well, highlighted by leading OSU to a victory over No. 2 California on the road.

Then a bad slide and late hit against Southern California changed his life. He tore the cartilage in his shoulder, and needed offseason surgery.

A long rehab followed. He tried to come back his junior year but his muscles weren't ready at the beginning of the season.

"He has a great attitude about everything," Langsdorf said. "Through his injury he stayed engaged in everything we were doing. He was helpful to the young guys and Lyle. It paid off greatly for him. He's now able to understand everything we are doing. We've thrown a lot at him and he can handle it."

While Canfield waited to heal, he watched Moevao take control of the team. Moevao did well as the Beavers made a run for the Pacific-10 Conference title.

Chances of getting an opportunity to win back the position were slim.

"I didn't want to be a person who quit or gave in when he got hurt," Canfield said. "I just stayed the course and kept a positive attitude. I just worried about what I could control, and that was rehabbing, taking it slow and being patient. When the opportunity came, I played."

Moevao hurt his throwing shoulder midseason so Canfield stepped in to win crucial games at UCLA and Arizona. At the time, they kept OSU's Rose Bowl hopes alive.

Moevao came back and Canfield watched from the sidelines again, but this time he was healthy enough to play.

He planned to beat out Moevao in the spring of 2009 but now it was Moevao's turn for offseason surgery.

Canfield took over the team by default since Moevao was still recovering. He feels bad for his teammate since the roles have been reversed from a year ago.

Both plan to be friends for life because of the competition and support they have given each other. They've created a rare situation where the team follows both quarterbacks, and voted them co-captains.

"It's obvious (Canfield) has perseverance and he's a good person," coach Mike Riley said "He always put the team first and worked hard in what he wanted to do."

Canfield's growth has been evident this season. He started out forcing passes and threw 15 interceptions in 11 games as a sophomore.

Now his passing efficiency ranks fourth in the Pac-10. He's third in passing yards and the Beavers are second in the conference in passing.

Canfield still holds the ball too long at times, and has been sacked 17 times this season with young offensive linemen protecting him.

But he's never gotten on their case. No one wants to get hit, especially someone who had extensive surgery from a big hit.

"One of the great things about Sean is he doesn't get mad at us when he gets sacked, or get frustrated with us," center Alex Linnenkohl said. "He kept his confidence in us. He'll forgive you real quick. That helps us to get to the next play so we can get better."

Canfield lost 20 pounds in the offseason, so he's shown a little more mobility.

What fires him up the most now is running the ball for first downs. He lacked that ability and emotion earlier in his career.

While his cool head kept him moving forward, Moevao excelled as a leader because of his big heart and the ability to rally his teammates around him.

"I'd like to think I still have that (cool head), especially under pressure," Canfield said. "But when something good happens, you have to have fun with it and get emotional. That's something I've learned."

Between his mental makeup, strong arm and newfound leadership traits, he's become the right person for OSU's offense.

Canfield is another example of the Beavers developing athletes, and turning them into players.

"If anything now I'm more vocal in the locker room and on the field," he said. "I took up the role on the team to talk and get guys going."

And he's not done learning here or wherever football, or life, may take him.

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