Mike Riley Needs to Pick a Quarterback to Lead Oregon State Beavers

By Tyler Brett
mike riley
Joe Nicholson – USA TODAY Sports

The Oregon State Beavers are one of several teams across the country that has yet to select a starting quarterback for the 2013 season. Head coach Mike Riley continues to waffle between Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, both of whom started games for the Beavers in 2012, and doesn’t appear ready to make a decision one way or the other. As the Beavers prepare to open the season against the Eastern Washington Eagles, Riley says he’ll throw both quarterbacks in with the starting offense. Could his indecision stretch into the bulk of OSU’s schedule?

Mannion started 2012 as the starting quarterback and looked like he was on his way to a breakout sophomore season. A knee injury against the Washington State Cougars, however, sidelined the big-armed signal caller for a few weeks, which gave Vaz the nod under center. He played very well as the starter, keeping the Oregon State momentum going, and may have pushed Mannion to come back a little sooner than he should have. Riley seemed perplexed about which quarterback to use as the season winded down and OSU stumbled a big down the stretch because of it.

Going back and forth between Mannion and Vaz does no favors for either quarterback and is a general disservice to the team at large. Riley doesn’t see any negatives to continuing to switch them out, since they’ve been doing it for the last two years at practice, but jerking them in and out of the lineup from week to week or even drive to drive will only erode their confidence and undermine their ability to lead the offense and create some positive rhythm as a unit.

Without a leader at quarterback, the offense will struggle to really find its rhythm. The rest of the team needs to know who will be running the offensive huddle so they can rally around them. If their vote of Mannion as a team captain is any indication, they’ve already picked their side. Isn’t it about time Riley picks his?

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