BF.C COMMENTARY: Ask the Insiders

SO MUCH OF recruiting and in-season discussion centers around the quarterback in college football. Two of our resident insiders, Chad Luther and Drew Wilson-McGrath, delve into the subject. And they pull no punches…

Luther: OSU has just picked up a commitment from Kyle Kempt, a 6-5 205 pound 3-star prospect who will assuredly redshirt, and the QB picture should look like last year. What did you see from the end of last season between Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz?

Wilson-McGrath: I saw question marks. Mannion had the rug pulled from beneath him courtesy of Mike Riley in the Alamo Bowl and Vaz, despite the bandwagon fervor that proceeded the BYU game, just was not the physical type of quarterback OSU needed against Stanford or Texas. And there should be questions here. Mannion was decent upon his inception in 2011, and the thought was that he would get better with one year plus the spring ball and fall camps under his belt. In reality, Mannion was better - for the initial three games, but then he was a wash, basically from the WSU matchup until seasons end (Cal game may be an exception, but Cal was a sob story of a program in 2012). Vaz had some moxy when he did play and that first start was triumphant, but on the whole he was unremarkable. Hate to lump these boys into a pile of mediocrity, but that is what OSU saw from its QB's last season.

Luther: Who is your pick to earn the starter's mantle at QB in 2013?

Wilson-McGrath: Sweet Beaver Jesus, let it be Mannion. Look, I was on the aforementioned Vaz-Wagon for a spell too – but after the ASU game, I realized that Vaz would offer little in terms of prolonged consistency across the board - and his hands are small. On the flipside, Mannion may not be the most appealing choice (29 TD's to 33 INT's over two seasons), but he is the most logical option for Riley and Co. Vaz is a legitimate guy to have on standby in case all hell breaks loose in 2013 – still, Mannion boasts more arm strength and has shown that he can create havoc when he falls into a groove. If Mannion can increase his accuracy and learn to mentally shake off interceptions, he might be the Golden Boy that Riley was hoping for last season. Mannion's got measurables indicative of NFL talent - Riley just needs to continue to hone those skills and give the kid a chance.

Luther: Brent Vanderveen's athleticism impressed a lot of recruitniks who have been praying for a mobile QB at Oregon State. Is Vanderveen going to press for any time in 2013?

Wilson-McGrath: I doubt it. Vanderveen will be a mover/shaker in a year or two. And don't look past Richie Harrington, who could still stand ahead of Vanderveen in terms of receiving reps in practice during spring ball – we'll have to see. Vanderveen has some talent, and presents himself as a Mannion-esque passer with some DECENT speed for a taller guy – but I see him remaining a pocket passer in Riley's schemes. My hope is that Riley learned his lesson about QB controversies and won't pull a Houdini to the extent of Vanderveen becoming a contender for playing time – he is not ready for Pac-12 play headed into spring ball. Now if he suddenly jumps up and turns that corner, I'll be more than happy to come back and eat my hat after the spring session.

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