Cody Vaz

Mannion gets the nod over Vaz as Beavers’ QB

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The parade of quarterback announcements continues Monday, with Oregon State the latest to officially hitch their cart to a player at that position.

Following a lengthy competition with few hints, head coach Mike Riley announced Monday that Sean Mannion will be the starter against Eastern Washington in the opener.  Mannion won the job over Cody Vaz, the former’s competition since the spring of last year.

According to the Corvallis Gazette-Times, there’s no specific plan in place to play both quarterbacks in the opener, but that Vaz “will be ready to go as always.”  Riley then added that “[i]t’s great to have both of these guys.”

And both those guys it was in 2012.

Mannion, who ended up starting most of 2011 over Ryan Katz, started the first four games last season before sustaining a knee injury. Vaz then filled in, and won, the next two games for the Beavers before Mannion made his return in a loss to Washington. That prompted Vaz to return to the top of the depth chart against Arizona State, but an ankle injury the following game against Stanford put Mannion back in charge of the offense. Vaz then was given the nod in Oregon State’s appearance in the Alamo Bowl against Texas.

So, yes, this has been a quarterback seesaw that’s gone on for the better part of a year.

Ultimately, Mannion passed for 2,446 yards with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 10 games (eight starts) last year; Vaz had 1,480 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and three picks in seven appearances (five starts).

CFT Predicts: the Pac-12

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As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the Pac-12.  

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SEC, Big Ten

Pac-12 North

1. Stanford (Last year: 12-2; beat Wisconsin in Rose Bowl)
What happened last season?
Though Stanford lost arguably the best quarterback to ever pass through the program in Andrew Luck, the Cardinal did something it couldn’t when Luck and Jim Harbaugh were on The Farm: win the Pac-12. David Shaw is quickly ascending the list of best college coaches in the country. I mean, the guy did a Ted Talk. Clearly Stanford is big-time now.

So why are they ranked here?
The Cardinal are experienced and there really aren’t many glaring weaknesses on either side of the ball. Quarterback Kevin Hogan is undefeated as a starter and has a solid offensive line and running game that brings back Tyler Gaffney. The defensive front seven returns plenty of starters too, including linebacker Shayne Skov. This is a solid team all around.

Anything else?
Things get a little more interesting schedule-wise in the second half of the season. The Cardinal play UCLA, Oregon State and Oregon in consecutive weeks before ending the year against Cal and Notre Dame. Weather that schedule and Stanford will absolutely be in the national title discussion. And I’d like their chances of winning it all (meaning, by rule of the jinx, they’ll go 8-5 and OMG I’m so sorry, you guys [sad face]).

2. Oregon (Last year: 12-1; beat Kansas State in Fiesta Bowl)
What happened last season?
Another BCS win for the Ducks would end up being the final game for coach Chip Kelly, who left for the NFL shortly thereafter. But the important story line here is that the one-point safety happened and we are all now better off as humans for seeing it.

So why are they ranked here?
The Pac-12 North looks like it could play out in a similar fashion to the SEC East, where Georgia and South Carolina could be slotted in either order as 1A or 1B. Oregon is actually the preseason favorite to win the North (and the league’s championship game) — albeit by the slimmest of margins — but if it comes down to it, I’m going to go with Shaw over first-year coach Mark Helfrich.

Anything else?
There’s a lot of national focus on Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel as far as as quarterbacks go, but keep an eye on Marcus Mariota. This redshirt sophomore was efficient in his first year as a starter, throwing for 32 touchdowns to just six interceptions while completing nearly 70 percent of his passes. He has great size (6-foot-4 and 211 pounds) and athleticism.

(more…)

Reserve QB transferring from Beavers

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With little hope of moving any further up the depth chart, an Oregon State quarterback has decided to ply his football wares at a lower level.

In a tweet posted to his Twitter account, Richie Harrington announced that he is leaving the Beavers football program.  Harrington will be transferring to Southern Utah, an FCS-level program.

As he’s transferring down a level, Harrington will be eligible to play in 2013 and will have three years of eligibility remaining.

Ready for a new chapter,” the player wrote in the tweet.

Coming out of Oaks Christian (Calif.), the 6-1, 224-pound Harrington walked on to the Beavers in 2011 and appeared in three games in 2012.  He completed six-of-nine passes for 66 yards last season.

Following practice this spring, Harrington remained behind the well-seasoned Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz at the quarterback position.

Mannion, Vaz will keep battling for QB job at Oregon State

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Oregon State finished 2012 with a solid 9-4 record with Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz (pictured) splitting time at quarterback. Though both proved capable of winning games last season, Mike Riley has said he plans to go with one as soon as one separates himself from the other.

Riley will have to wait a little longer. Mannion and Vaz each played one series in the Beavers’ spring game on Friday, and it appears the competition will continue into fall camp. Officially  Mannion went 8-of-11 for 67 yards and a pick, while Vaz went 4-of-6 for 59 yards on a drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown run.

I thought it was good,” Riley said of the spring game. “We got out of it what we wanted to. But we’ve still got to get better.”

Mannion, who ended up starting most of 2011 over Ryan Katz, started the first four games last season before sustaining a knee injury. Vaz then filled in, and won, the next two games for the Beavers before Mannion made his return in a loss to Washington. That prompted Vaz to return to the top of the depth chart against Arizona State, but an ankle injury the following game against Stanford put Mannion back in charge of the offense. Vaz then was given the nod in Oregon State’s appearance in the Alamo Bowl against Texas.

Ultimately, Mannion passed for 2,446 yards with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 10 games last year; Vaz had 1,480 yards passing, 11 touchdowns and three picks in seven appearances.

Texas ends up-and-down season with Alamo Bowl win

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Texas entered the 2012 season as a dark horse of sorts to bring home a Big 12 championship. Suffice to say that didn’t exactly pan out. It’s been three years since a Texas team won the Big 12 and played in a BCS bowl, and with the Longhorns sitting at 8-4 heading into tonight’s Alamo Bowl against Oregon State, there was a question of when — if? —  Mack Brown was going to get his team back on top of the Big 12.

It could very well happen in 2013.

The Longhorns needed a fourth quarter rally, but were able to top No. 15 Oregon State 31-27. Quarterback David Ash went from fumbling a pump fake in the first half (hilarious GIF here, y’all) to tossing two touchdown scores in the fourth quarter. It was quite the turnaround. Then again, Ash’s story this year has been that he’s a Jekyll and Hyde. When Ash is good, he’s damn good. When he’s bad, well, he fumbles a pump fake. The growth for Ash going forward is finding more consistency to go along with the promise he continues to display in spurts.

But it was Texas’ defense that made the game-changing plays when it mattered most. The Longhorns’ D under Manny Diaz has been a punchline for missed tackles and points allowed, but they had an Alamo Bowl record 10 sacks against the Beavers. Alex Okafor had nine tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble by himself. The irony is that Texas’ defense played the single best half of football it had all season while officially becoming the worst defense statistically in the history of the program.

While Texas’ defensive line deserves credit, Oregon State also all but completely abandoned the run game in the fourth quarter despite the fact that running back Storm Woods had 120 yards on the ground. Taking away the 10 sacks (for -81 yards) on a visibly injured Cody Vaz, the Beavers had 184 yards rushing. It made little sense.

Still, what a good year for Mike Riley‘s team after back-to-back disappointing seasons. There will be questions in the offseason, namely the quarterback competition between Vaz and Sean Mannion. Both saw playing time this year.

As for Texas, the win makes the offseason more manageable. But 2013 is going to be an important year from Brown and Texas no matter how you dissect it.