IN FOCUS: Quarterback

THE QB POSITION heading into the summer offseason at Oregon State has a bit of mystery surrounding it. That's what happens when your starter doesn't take any snaps in the spring scrimmages.

But while Ryan Katz didn't do much other than wait for his injured wrist to fully heal, didn't take any snaps under center and only threw a few passes here and there this spring, there is no quarterback controversy at OSU. He's the clear No. 1.

And Katz was recently cleared to throw 100 percent, Mike Riley told BF.C earlier this month.

What the spring did reveal at the QB spot, however, is that the Beavs have depth. Cody Vaz started slowly and then came on strong, making strides in all areas. He was good throwing short, he was good throwing long.

Vaz showed a good head for the game and he didn't get rattled – which is a key point.

Coaches, Riley included, ultimately don't like to take chances on guys at the high profile positions that are big risk, big reward types. Coaches talks a lot about "trust", they want to trust their running back not to fumble, their quarterback not to force a pick. Coaches like poise. And that was in hard evidence this spring where Vaz was concerned.

Vaz probably isn't going to make plays with his feet or excel the few times OSU might run a zone read option play. Katz is a far more intriguing protagonist when it comes to that. But for what OSU asks their QB to do, Vaz accomplished that fairly well this spring with Katz out.

If you're an optimist, you like that the Beavs might well have two capable quarterbacks this season, with Sean Mannion also waiting in the wings.

Mannion, by the way, looked more comfortable and was more consistent as the spring went along. Jack Lomax, meanwhile, spent most of his time with the 3's and while he had a few moments here and there this spring, others shined brighter.

If you're the pessimistic type, you might worry about what happens if Katz tweaks his wrist in fall camp, or if he simply falters a bit once the pads come on or shows some rust. When a team is losing, the most popular player among fans becomes the backup quarterback. Could a QB controversy then ensue?

Maybe, but those are just a lot of what-ifs for now. It's just as likely, one could argue, a now-healthy Katz will go tear it up in fall camp from the start.

One thing can be said -- All eyes will be on the quarterback position when the Beavs open camp in early August, now just a little over two months away.

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