As spring practice rolls around in Corvallis, many are left wondering if Mike Riley and the Oregon State Beavers coaching staff have a quarterback competition on their hands which will need to be sorted through this spring and in the early-going of fall practices.
Neither rising junior Sean Mannion nor rising senior Cody Vaz were particularly impressive during the 2012 campaign — unable to turn temporary moments of brilliance into consistent play which would have prevented them basically being interchangeable.
Mannion threw for 2,446 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2012 — and nominally should be the “starter” going into spring practice, but Cody Vaz will be hot on his heels. In seven games played in 2012, Vaz threw for 1,480 yards and 11 touchdowns and did a substantially better job controlling the ball — throwing only three interceptions to Mannion’s 13.
We all know the old saying that no quarterbacks are better than two quarterbacks, so given that neither guy truly separated themselves from the other in 2012 — and sure, part of itcould have had to do with Mannion’s injury issues, but when isn’t that at least a minor issue — the door is open for those signal callers lower on the depth chart to make some noise and make things interesting.
Rising redshirt sophomore Richie Harrington is one guy that could make some noise. In spite of appearing in only three games in 2012, all it would take for Harrington to be in the thick of the race would be more lack of ball control from Mannion, and Vaz’s inability to take the reigns when the opportunity presents itself.
I’m not going to say that Harrington will immediately leap over both guys on the depth chart, but he will be looming in the background to make a competition a competition, and in the process, should add just that extra intensity to the proceedings where the leader will rise to the top.
At least, Mike Riley would have to hope this is the case, otherwise, quarterback could be too much of an issue for a team looking to build on some serious momentum and fan goodwill built by their massive turnaround in 2012.