Riley on QB, offense, and watch for Jenkins

CORVALLIS -- The Sean Canfield/Lyle Moevao era is over. Oregon State returns nine starters offensively, but that one glaring hole – an experienced quarterback -- remains the question heading into spring football. It was little surprise then that the first big question today for Mike Riley centered around the quarterback position. And oh by the way, keep an eye out for running back Jordan Jenkins.

Mike Riley broke out a few clichés along the way, saying the quarterback position at OSU this year was a "changing of the guard." But as far as the starter headed into the 15-practice spring session, the Beavs' head man was firm in saying there were "no preconceived notions for the position."

Maybe not. And competition for starting jobs is healthy. But it's hard not to think Ryan Katz is the clear No. 1, and Peter Lalich is the clear No. 2 headed into spring ball.

Still, there will be 1,500 plays between now and TCU and while "Katz will take the first snap… In all fairness they need to let it play out," said Riley.

What will the starter's job come down to? Production, said Riley.

THERE IS NO question, however, at the running back position – Jacquizz Rodgers is the man, simply put. But Riley is still looking for that type of "every down guy" to back up Quizz.

There will be opportunity this spring for what Riley termed "role players" to step up in those situations -- as a third down and long yardage option, for example. As such, Junior Ryan McCants and sophomore Jovan Stevenson will be battling this spring for "Best Supporting Beaver" in Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood.

Add the"Offensive Scout Team Player of the Year" to the equation in Jordan Jenkins, and you've got a running back battle.

How high is Riley on Jenkins' potential? He mentioned Jenkins as being "this year's (Damola) Adeniji" as the surprise contributor to this upcoming season's campaign.

All this doesn't mean , however, that Quizz will be cracking a lot of pads. Riley said his star running back would be "handled more than he did last year, but will probably not scrimmage."

UP FRONT, four of the five OL starting spots are set, said Riley – tackles Mike Remmers and Michael Philipp, center Alex Linnenkohl and guard Grant Johnson look pretty well entrenched.

Johnson, however, will not practice this spring due to shoulder surgery earlier this year. The junior nevertheless remains atop the two-deeps at the left guard position, and Riley has high hopes that he will hold strong that position once he returns in the fall.

"(Johnson will) be even better when he comes back," said Riley.

Right guard is the solo spot on the offensive line receiving applications, with the departure of co-team captain Gregg Peat to graduation. Right guard Burke Ellis is at the top spot in the preliminary two-deeps, but Riley said to look for sophomore Colin Kelly to make a big push for the position.

What of senior guard Ryan Pohl? Will he realize his potential and make a push for the starting position?

"Ryan has not only got to do what (Grant) Johnson did, but better. As coaches we have to leave that door open," said Riley.

Others expected to battle at the guard spots include Burke Ellis and Michael Lamb. Ellis, a walk-on, starts the spring atop the depth chart at right guard.

While Phillip and Remmers have a hold on the left and right tackle spots, respectively, Riley made mention of senior Timi Oshinowo as one to keep an eye on. Wilder McAndrews, however, is battling injuries.

"Wilder is still a little bit of a mystery as to his health for spring…. We always had great hopes for him, but we'll see if he can get in with spring ball and make headway," said Riley.

Other offensive line notes:
  • Walk on Nathan Hannah has been moved from offensive guard to defensive tackle

  • Redshirt freshman John Braun has been moved from offensive tackle to defensive end

  • Walk on Aaron Magnunson has moved from offensive guard to center

AFTER RECEIVING A medical hardship for 2009, junior ‘X' receiver Darrell Catchings regains the top spot at the split end position for now, but will battle fleet sophomore Markus Wheaton. Riley mentioned there will be "a 1 and 1A" for the position," and that whoever doesn't win that spot will "backup James (Rodgers) at flanker."

Jordan Bishop will share time this spring with senior walk-on Aaron Nichols at the slotback position, said Riley. With the loss of Casey Kjos to retirement the spot has opened up, but Riley made clear today that this spring, "Jordan Bishop will take the first turns, but Aaron will be right there." Nichols, who has excellent hands, has been closing in on earning a scholarship.

At tight end, Brady Camp will return for his senior year as a starter, and will have a capable backup in sophomore Colby Prince. Prince, a local product, had an impressive fall camp last year but once the season began, played behind others and failed to make an impact during the season.

"He is a good young prospect that will step up and have a good spring," Riley said of Prince.

Joe Halahuni and John Reese "give us I think two really good athletes at that H-back spot. We will add a little depth come fall camp."

Look for the depth chart, plus a defensive rundown, a little later on BF.C

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