A closer look at QB, RB youth for 2013

MIKE RILEY ENJOYS quarterback controversies about as much as he longs for a double root canal. But he sure has one on his hands given how the second half of the 2012 season unfolded and the way the bowl game went. But what about the guys beyond Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz?

Brent Vanderveen (FR, 6-4, 226) He has got the build for a Mike Riley type QB. But as far as strength at the position goes, that is a different story. Vanderveen still needs work on his accuracy, as well as pass control. He is dead-on one play, and miles south, east, north and west the next. He's not all that mobile, but I attribute that to a lack of confidence common with a fresh introduction to the position at the collegiate level. Is he still in the picture? Yes - but he is not my first pick for when the going gets tough, unless he shows some major improvements in the spring.

Richie Harrington (RS FR – 6-1, 228) Harrington was slow to get on a roll when I saw him in the fall. For a while there, I thought he needed to work on everything. Now, while he is certainly far from perfect, he had progressed nicely towards the end of the bowl practices. Assuming Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion both stay healthy, Harrington will likely not see much time in 2013. But I see hard work paying off for Harrington in the way it did for Vaz – Harrington places a nice zip on the ball and shows some finesse on the deeper tosses. He is also capable of making plays happen with his feet, although I would still classify him as a pocket QB.

Running Back - Chris Brown (FR – 5-10, 208) is a member of the scout team this past season but he shouldn't be as out of sight this coming offseason. He was a recruiting high five for Oregon State last year and while he hasn't seen playing time for the Beavs, the coaching staff is certainly eager to see what he can do. Brown looked good in the fall – but the Alamo Bowl practices saw a slightly different tune. One thing I noticed was Brown's lack of ball control – he fumbled the ball quite frequently, and that is generally uncharacteristic of an OSU tailback. Rookie mistakes? A foreshadowing of spring ball? Something that will need watching.

Fullback - Michael Balfour (FR – 5-8, 234) Certainly worth mentioning, seeing as how Clayton York is graduating and that pretty much leaves Tyler Anderson and Balfour at the fullback position. Balfour plays the position well from what I've seen of his limited reps, and might have a bit of nasty - a trait never frowned upon when considering the fullback role. Strong, physical and quick off the snap. I haven't really seen much of his blocking, so for now his impact is to be determined.


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