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No snap decision on starting center for Beavers

CORVALLIS — Yanni Demogerontas is at center for the first time in years.

Trent Moore was moved to the position less than two weeks ago.

They've both jumped right into the mix for the starting spot.

It's a wide-open competition right now with just a few weeks before the Oregon State football team opens the season at Minnesota.

Demogerontas, a sophomore, topped the depth chart entering fall camp, with senior right guard Gavin Andrews and then Moore, a sophomore, right behind.

"There's great competition at that position right now," OSU co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach T.J. Woods said. "It's nobody's job. It's everybody's job to win."

Josh Mitchell left some big shoes to fill and none of the front-runners have much experience.

Least of all Moore, who was at right tackle at the beginning of camp and still works at both sides along with center.

"I'm about a week and a half in right now at center, so I've still got to learn a whole bunch of stuff and I've got to get the snaps down, shotgun, and obviously with different quarterbacks there's different feels for under center," Moore said. "So that's the sort of stuff I need to work on, but I'm totally confident in Yanni and Gavin and what they're doing, too, so I'm trying to learn from them, too."

Moore and Demogerontas had a little bit of a head's up during the summer when they were told to work on their snapping skills.

They went out together in the afternoons nearly every day to snap to each other.

"So that's when I really started learning the stuff and getting the snaps down," Moore said.

Woods called snapping the football the first priority for the centers.

"In this offense we've got to be accurate snapping the football every time," he said. "For us to do what we're asking the quarterbacks to do, it has to be accurate. And so it's something we're still working through and all those guys are doing a good job."

Snapping was still a little difficult at first for Demogerontas.

"Starting off camp I was shaky on snapping, but over time I practiced a little bit every day after practice and as the practices went on I've gotten more and more comfortable and the snaps are pretty much on target every time," Demogerontas said.

There's plenty to be done before and after the snap.

The center has to make the line calls and direct his teammates before a play.

"You've got to make sure you ID correctly and get everyone on the same page so everyone's one unit," Demogerontas said. "You play like that and that's when you play fast and play physical and do your best, when everyone's on the same page. That's the center's job and I think I've taken on that role pretty well."

After getting the ball to the quarterback, the center has some different angles on blocks than the other line positions.

"You're the center, so the line of scrimmage, you're the closest to the line," Demogerontas said. "So you have to make sure you're one step a little quicker on the run, on the pass, you've got to step back real quick. So that's a minor adjustment but it wasn't too difficult to fix."

With the top three at the position along with a few other candidates, there should be strong competition for the starting job in the upcoming weeks.

That should help all the players improve and stay sharp.

"Competition's great and everyone's playing hard out here, everyone's doing a great job," Demogerontas said. "So we'll see how things shake out as camp goes on."