With Vaz, nothing will change says Riley

OREGON STATE WILL face off against a very stout BYU defense with a very inexperienced quarterback. On paper, some are calling it a mismatch – Las Vegas has taken the game off the board. But Mike Riley isn't so sure…

Mike Riley said on Tuesday that it's business as usual in Corvallis with QB Cody Vaz to take the helm against BYU on Saturday (TV: ABC, 12:30 pm).

"We don't really have to do anything differently (on offense) with Cody," said Riley. "I have a lot of faith in Cody..the only unfortunate part is I haven't played him a lot in games… he's not a different style than Sean, he's just shorter."

Riley went on to say one of the core tenets they stress day-in and day-out within the OSU program -- every guy is expected to step in if and when called upon, that it's part of the Beavs' identity. He also said Vaz has long been a quarterback that his teammates have "complete faith in" to lead the Beaver offense.

STILL, BYU FEATURES a top-notch defense -- they rank No. 5 in the country in total defense, No. 1 against the run plus they're in the top ten nationally in sacks.

"It's a heck of a way to break in," said Riley.

Oregon State could sure use a productive running game to take some of the heat off of Vaz. But Riley is lukewarm on his running attack thus far through four games.

"It's okay. We've gotten better from a year ago. I wouldn't say it's reliable, but it's better… out production is not earth shattering but compared to where we were a year ago, it's better," said Riley.

RILEY SAID HE found out about Sean Mannion's knee injury Tuesday morning.

"It was a total shock. The doctor and trainer came running down the hall," said Riley.

Riley said the injury happened on a nondescript draw play in the second quarter against Washington State. In reviewing tape, Mannion didn't get hit on the play, and it was just a simple twist of the knee. But game tape showed Mannion with a slight limp after that snap.

What's perhaps most remarkable was that Mannion completed the game and took the hits that he did after that. The team doctors on Sunday told Riley they were going to have an MRI on Sunday just to be safe. Good idea, but the results that came in Monday morning still were a major surprise to everyone.

Riley has not detailed what the injury is exactly. The Oregonian reported it was a meniscus tear, citing an unnamed source. Riley did not say when the surgery would be or pose a timetable on Mannion's return. The estimated timetable could be dependent on the extent of the injury found during surgery.

IT GOES WITHOUT saying the Beaver D will also have to step up. There have been a few lapses here and there, sure, but for the most part the Beaver D has greatly exceeded expectations.

Keep in mind they're No. 1 in the nation in third down efficiency on defense and No. 23 in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of just 17 points.

"I think our defense has been relatively consistent this year," said Riley. "We had a rough go at Arizona. But for the most part we're much better in run defense (No. 4 in the nation) and we're much better on third down -- we're outstanding on third down actually."

"We're playing a lot of people in the secondary and defensive line in particular… I like the look of that. If we can just keep growing, it's a good group."

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