Competitive Day for the Quarterbacks
Looking towards the third year under head coach Gary Andersen, Oregon State football is again faced with a quarterback competition.
Darell Garretson, who started at the top of the depth chart last season, and Marcus McMaryion, the winner of the first Civil War for the Beavers since 2007, are now joined by Jake Luton a junior college transfer whose big arm accounted for a lot of yards in the air last season. Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Kevin McGiven said that he thought of the competition as a “clean slate” in these spring practices.
During Friday's practice McMaryion took two reps in leading the offense as opposed to the other competitor’s one, and today was Luton’s turn to take an extra drive at the helm.
In Luton’s first drive he started with a quick pass to Trevon Bradford that was broken up, but turned around quickly and hit Ryan Nall for a screen-play that turned into a 15 yard gain. When forced out of the pocket Luton was able to make up yards on his own, a skill he wasn’t championed for coming into the spring practices. During his second drive he showed off his big arm throwing 50+ yards downfield to Hunter Jarmon on a ball that was on target but dropped.
“I think he is everything from a potential standpoint that we thought he was,” said McGiven when asked about how he thinks Luton has been playing in practice.
Garretson took the next set of reps and largely relied on his feet. Multiple quarterback draws that set up a designed quarterback fake and pitch to Nall highlighted the drive. In the air Garretson threw an interception that was caught by Charles Okonkwo and then hit Xavier Hawkins down the sideline for a solid chunk of yards.
McMaryion’s drive started with him overthrowing Noah Togiai downfield, but he then went on to complete 3 straight passes, one of which was an impressive pass on the run, to march the offense down the field.
“We’ve been looking good on offense as a team generally speaking,” said McMaryion. “There’s a lot different vibe this year, we know what we are capable of.”
In evaluating the quarterbacks McGiven said that the coaching staff was looking to fill out the depth chart sooner rather than later.
“It’s tough to say,” McGiven said when who was looking like their number one quarterback. “But we would definitely like to get settled in and focus reps on just a couple of guys.”
The Receiving Core and Running Backs
After losing Victor Bolden to graduation and not having Seth Collins available for spring practice, the receiving core looked depleted on paper. But experienced players like Hunter Jarmon and Noah Togiai along with talented freshman Isaiah Hodgins look like they will be perfect fits to fill missing roles.
Ryan Nall's 2016 season showed the Beavers and the rest of the conference what the big back was capable of. He broke out for multiple 10+ yard carries and catches throughout practice off of well executed fakes and counters. The big play potential is there.
“We’ve got crazy talented receivers,” said Luton. “And I mean, Ryan Nall is Ryan Nall.”
“We aren’t missing a beat so that’s definitely good,” said McMaryion. “When the new guys jump in coach doesn't have to come in and fix them, so I think they’re fitting in well.”
High Energy Defense
Freshman Xavier Crawford looks like he has only built on his success from last season. Reading a pass from Conor Blount he jumped the lane and got a pick six that fired up everyone on defensive sideline at Truax. Other big plays from Brandon Arnold and the rest of the defense showed that this Beaver team is already in the right mindset for the season, even seven months out from their first game.