Column: OSU football could be great in 2013, with only one QB
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 01:01
Oregon State football surprised just about everyone this year.
The six-win turnaround from 2011 was the largest in program history. The Beavers were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North and bowl eligibility would be considered a bonus.
They exceeded all expectations. Those expectations were unfairly raised to high levels, and the end result of the season felt like a disappointment as Texas fans raised the roof in the Alamodome.
But if you had asked any OSU fan before the season if they would take a 9-4 record and an Alamo Bowl appearance, 99 percent would take the offer and run, and the people who wouldn’t are delusional.
The success achieved this season was clearly unforeseen.
The biggest takeaway from the 2012 Beavers? These guys are going to be around.
Aside from the departure of the two seniors, First Team All-American cornerback Jordan Poyer and First Team All-Pac-12 wide receiver Markus Wheaton, most of the key components of this team will be back for two or three more years.
Just look down the list of this year’s freshmen and sophomore starters: Brandin Cooks, Storm Woods, Isaac Seumalo, Scott Crichton, Dylan Wynn, D.J. Alexander, Ryan Murphy and Tyrequek Zimmerman.
These are guys who are contributing in big ways already, and they have many more games to improve their already impressive skill sets.
This group has the potential to be contenders in the Pac-12 for at least the next two or three years. Even with Chip Kelly at it again for another year of puppet-mastery down in Eugene, this group in Corvallis can compete with them.
There’s a flaw in this prognostication, though — a big one.
The Beavers do not have a quarterback.
From the moment there were two healthy quarterbacks who had proven their worth, Oregon State was a 3-4 team.
If this young group really is as capable as I think they can be, there has to be one guy and only one guy.
As junior quarterback Cody Vaz fell to the ground for the ninth and tenth sack in the Beavers’ final possession, it was obvious to many that sophomore Sean Mannion should have been under center.
Hold your horses.
The same people who were saying that were also clamoring for Vaz’ insertion after Mannion’s fourth interception against Oregon.
Those same people were also calling for Mannion in the Stanford loss, as well as wanting to see Vaz attempt a comeback at Washington.
Whether it’s Vaz or Mannion, it has never been more apparent the future of this team, which conceivably could be the best group ever to come through Corvallis, depends on this quarterback decision.
It’s been the story of this season, and by far the most talked about subject — from us at the Barometer especially. But there have been countless examples of quarterback controversies not ending well for the team.
It’s inevitable for this Vaz vs. Mannion debate to go on into the spring, summer and even as far as fall camp.
But know this: If both quarterbacks split time in 2013 without an injury coming into play, it’s not going to work.
And with the amount of young talent at coach Riley’s disposal, picking one and not looking back has to be the move.
As for who should be the starter, well we can wait a while on that topic.
Warner Strausbaugh, sports editor