Top job is o-line, says Riley

THE NO. 1 JOB this upcoming season for the Oregon State program -- and in order to get back to bowl games and competing for the Pac-12 crown, Mike Riley said this week, is the offensive line.

Riley in a Tuesday Pac-12 conference call said there are seven new o-linemen who will arrive for fall camp. Offensive linemen are generally top redshirt candidates but Oregon State is thin up front and it showed this spring. And so whether they're true freshmen or junior college transfers, they're all going to be given every opportunity to see the field now, said Riley.

"The door is open," Riley said.

Riley said two starters who missed the spring, OT Colin Kelly (ankle surgery) and OG Grant Enger (shoulder surgery) should be "100 percent" by fall camp.

"We've got to see who surfaces as the top 5 in fall camp. We've got a ton of work to do, that will be a key, key element in how we do this fall," said Riley.

ASKED ABOUT Roman Sapolu at center, Riley said his improvement was dramatic but also that Jake Welch is in the mix, along with Mike Beaton, plus some big bodies not yet on campus.

"Roman Sapolu had a nice spring there and he'll be in the mix fighting for a spot," said Riley. "But it's like almost every spot there, they're all up for grabs. Roman did a nice job, he definitely did a lot of work in the offseason to get to spring ball and improve dramatically…We're going to look at it hard during our summertime here and then place them in positions for the fall camp.

"It may be a new player coming in that competes in there for center, or it may be Roman, or it may be Jake or Michael Beaton. "

RILEY WAS ALSO asked about Terron Ward and the competition at running back, which includes Malcolm Agnew, Jordan Jenkins, Jovan Stevenson and Storm Woods.

"We've got about four guys competing there and (Ward) is right in the mix," said Riley. "I've tried not to say much publicly about separating these guys because it is truly good competition.

"Terron is a terrific inside runner, great toughness, cutting ability, good vision and he's a pretty good receiver."

AT QUARTERBACK, RILEY said decision making will be the main emphasis in going forward with Sean Mannion.

"I think that Sean, I think he had a very valuable freshman year…what we're looking for is continued growth….I thought he had an excellent spring in (decision-making, getting the ball out of his hand, throwing to the right receiver). Cody Vaz also had an excellent spring, in the same manner as Sean did. So we feel really good about that position."

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