RILEY: As goes the QB, so go the 2010 Beavs

THE POSITION THAT garners the most attention in the press and from fans on the football gridiron is always found at quarterback. And with a new starter at the helm this year for Oregon State, it's also the position in Mike Riley's eyes that holds the big answers headed into the summer workouts and fall camp. Beyond that, Riley is looking for two receivers in particular to take that next step.

A changing of the guard at quarterback, says Mike Riley, is always a big deal. And how new starter Ryan Katz fares will go a long ways towards determining if Oregon State is in hunt for the roses again this year.

"The development of the quarterback position is going to be a key component to the success of this team. I'm not overstating that nor understating that," said Riley.

Katz gave plenty of evidence this spring he's up to the task. But that also doesn't mean Katz needs to put the team on his back and carry them. If Oregon State gets simply good production in the passing game, that sets up Jacquizz Rodgers and the ground attack.

"We're going to run the ball well. And in order to run it better, we have to throw well. And that will come down to how the quarterback plays and how we protect him so he can play," said Riley.

AT RECEIVER, James Rodgers figures to get a ton of attention coming his way from opponents following his '09 campaign.

His first year at OSU, Rodgers was a fly-sweep phenomenon. Year 2 was about showing he was a complete receiver. Last season saw him set the all time record (91) for receptions in a season -- while turning into an all-purpose yardage machine (2,328, most ever in a season at OSU).

But if Rodgers is to become the all-time receptions leader at OSU this season -- he has 161 career grabs, 60 shy of passing 2005 Biletnikoff Award recipient Mike Hass at 220 -- the other receivers will need to step up and contribute.

And it's there, along with QB, that Riley mentioned when asked where the biggest positional question marks reside headed into the summer and fall camp.

"I think guys like Markus Wheaton and Jordan Bishop have a ton of ability. And they have to get where they realize that ability in the games...We've got as much talent at receiver as we've ever had overall. But that talent has to be realized in the games," said Riley.

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • With head coaches not allowed to go on the road recruiting during the May Evaluation period, Riley said the Beavs' camps have become more important than ever for him in evaluation and extending scholarship offers. "I don't think it's a bad rule because when head coaches go into schools, those inevitable bumps and stuff are more prominent, people try to introduce guys to you and it becomes a problem (but) there are parts of it in the recruiting process that I really miss personally."

  • One of those includes quarterback recruiting. Riley and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf used to split up the quarterbacks they wanted to see and compare notes but since the rule was enacted a couple years ago, Langsdorf has more miles to fly in May. This year, however, Riley said the Beavs might not take a quarterback given the youth in the cupboard -- unless they really, really like a guy out there.

  • Oregon State has two 1/2 day camps coming up this month -- on June 11 and June 19. Their full-fledged youth summer camp runs June 22-25.


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