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Making the Grade: Quarterbacks

With the 2016 season in the books, we’re taking a look back at each position group — as well as handing out final grades. First up are the quarterbacks.

Wins

After becoming the starter, Marcus McMaryion led the Beavers to half of their four wins, one of which was their first Civil War victory since 2007. During his six starts, he displayed the ability to spread the ball around, throw downfield, and run the ball well. He finished season completing 59 percent of his passes for 1,286 yards, 9 touchdowns, and 5 interceptions. Ultimately, he proved to be the Beavers’ most solid passer by a large margin, and even tossed a school record 5 touchdowns against Arizona. And in the Civil War, he showed he could move, running for 80+ yards. 

Speaking of running the ball, before he got hurt, Darell Garretson’s ability to tuck the ball and go was impressive, and no more so than against California when he ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns, the latter of which came in overtime and gave the Beavers their first Pac-12 win in two years. Conor Blount also showed decent scrambling skills. Watching the quarterbacks extend plays with their feet or be able to take over was a welcome departure from recent seasons.

Opportunities

While the Beavers won more games and got steady play from the quarterback position later on in the season, statistically, they were one of the worst passing teams in the country. If the Beavers hope to be competitive in the Pac-12 North, the passing game must improve. However, there are questions that remain going into Spring Ball.

First off, will McMaryion get a shot at being No. 1? It’s clear from his performance, maybe he should’ve gotten a harder look going into this past season, or at the very least be the No. 2 QB. Maybe the Boise State and Utah games end differently… That said, it will probably be a wide-open race, even if McMaryion is the de facto starter. Furthermore, how will JUCO transfer Jake Luton fit in? Does his arrival signal a change in passing game philosophy? Also, is Mason Moran ready to step up?

Amid what promises to be heck of a QB battle, the harsh reality remains, the Beavers have a ways to go toward developing a passing attack that will complement its running game. So, many times this season, one throw on third down or late in the game, could’ve made a huge difference. One thing that would go a long ways, though, is continuity. If someone can emerge as the clear-cut guy, it would be a huge boost. The problem is who knows who will step up? At this point, maybe Aidan Willard emerges. So, the Beavers will have options for sure. 

Season grade: C-

McMaryion’s solid play helped put out a dumpster fire that could’ve spiraled out of control and sent OSU’s season up in flames. Because of that, this position gets a C- grade instead of an “F.” In the win against Arizona, he showed his ability to go over the top and stretch the field; against Oregon, his legs were on display as he was the Beavers’ second-leading rusher. So, kudos to that.

How would you grade the Beavers’ QBs this season?


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