Coach Mike Riley admitted the dual quarterback situation doesn’t work after one failed attempt.
He plans to decide on a starter during the bye week and move forward with the rest of the season.
Whoever — Sean Mannion or Ryan Katz — doesn’t get the nod will still play at times when the opportunity arises, but not with a set plan.
“We’ll have discussions during the week about it,” Riley said. “I liked the idea (of a dual quarterback), but I didn’t like how it went.”
The plan was to use them more evenly during Saturday’s shutout loss at Wisconsin, but because the Beavers were down so far so quickly much of the scenarios to use Katz were thrown out.
OSU’s running game was non-existent so plays couldn’t build off each other. The plan turned into Mannion throwing 38 times in an attempt to catch up.
“We didn’t do a lot of things to win the game, and we had no rhythm to do what we wanted,” Riley said. “I didn’t feel great how that went for either guy. We’ve never done it before. Because we weren’t running the ball that thing never took form for us or for Ryan.”
Chances are Mannion will be the starter come Sept. 24 when the Beavers open the Pacific-12 Conference season against UCLA in Reser Stadium.
Katz played only seven downs against Wisconsin; four were rushing plays by him.
And even if Katz is the starter, if he continues to run the read-option the chances of him being injured increases dramatically.
“It doesn’t mean we won’t have a package for them,” Riley said of whoever isn’t the starter next week. “There are things they do (better than the other). We have to be ready to use them.”
Translation: Katz runs the ball better.
When Riley was asked to confirm that he considered Mannion the better passer and in turn be the primary quarterback, he wouldn’t say specifically.
Riley was asked if Katz is the same passer as he was before fracturing his wrist in last year’s Civil War.
He didn’t think that was an issue.
“It’s not better or worse than he once was,” Riley said. “It’s about how Sean came on, and he has since maintaining that playing time.”
Besides the quarterback issue, the Beavers plan to coach the numerous younger players hard during the bye.
They’ve been successful at the high school level, but dealing with competition at the college level can be difficult. It’s a mental battle.
“They have to grow up fast,” Riley said. “I told the leaders they have to be the stability here. The young guys have to keep leaning.”
Riley, who prides himself on his offense, is frustrated with how that part of the game has gone.
While there has been a quarterback controversy, the other areas haven’t helped the situation.
The defense showed growth against Wisconsin so he’s less concerned there, particularly up front. Injuries hit the secondary hard so that group is in development.
“Our defense was giving it their all,” Mannion said. “We have to help them by giving them longer drives.”
All that must be addressed in the three practices — today through Thursday — this week. The Beavers are 0-2 for the first times since 2008 with a young, injury-depleted roster. The last 0-3 start was in 1996.
A key stretch of the schedule is coming up with UCLA, a trip to Arizona State and Arizona at home.
Those are games the Beavers are expected to be competitive in and need to win for any hope of a bowl game this season.
“It truly is another (slow start) we have to overcome,” Riley said. “From a coach’s viewpoint you have to energize them. You have to look at it. You have to find ways to help them. That’s the key ingredient for the staff.”
But does Riley have the energy left to motivate the team in his 11th season with the Beavers?
Critics say no. Riley, of course, disagrees
“No doubt about that,” Riley said of having the energy to win. “This whole thing is energizing, and I have good people here.”