OSU football: Quarterback questions surface again

2012-12-29T23:15:00Z 2012-12-30T13:13:47Z OSU football: Quarterback questions surface againBy CLIFF KIRKPATRICK, Corvallis Gazette-Times Corvallis Gazette Times

SAN ANTONIO — Quarterback decisions have been second-guessed since midseason.

That’s not going to change after the Alamo Bowl.

The Oregon State football team’s loss to Texas, 31-27, on Saturday in the Alamodome can be attributed to many things.

How Cody Vaz played under center sticks out most.

Vaz threw two interceptions and fumbled once. Two of his turnovers came early. The first one was on a screen play that went straight into a defender’s hands.

Texas was able to stay in the game when the Beavers could have put the game out of reach with scores or at least rattled the Longhorns with long drives.

Vaz was blunt after the game when he assessed his play when he said it was, “not very good. ... I don’t feel good about how I played tonight.”

He was mad about plays he didn’t make, bad reads, holding on to the ball too long and more.

Coach Mike Riley felt Vaz was too hard on himself since there was such a heavy pass rush on him with 10 sacks and plenty of hurries.

The thing was, Vaz shouldn’t have been left out there that long. Riley has been saying he has two starters who can win games, but he didn’t use both of them to the fullest.

Sean Mannion went into the game in the second quarter when Vaz aggravated his left ankle that was first hurt Nov. 10 at Stanford and cost him two games.

Mannion just handed the ball off five times and the Beavers scored on a 47-yard drive when Terron Ward reached the end zone on a 9-yard draw.

Vaz came back in the game on the next possession after a quick tape job and was not the same. He said the injury wasn’t an excuse, but it was a cause of some of his issues.

Riley should have went with Mannion after the injury, or at least in the second half. Mannion is still the most experienced quarterback on the roster having started nearly all of last season and eight games this year.

Mannion has a knack of feeling the pass rush and avoiding it, he’s taller to see over the offensive line and bigger to take a hit.

Vaz was too slow in the pocket — because of the sore ankle — and not getting the job done. If a running back fumbled three times he would be replaced.

Mannion was relieved against Washington after four picks and Vaz sparked the offense for a near-comeback.

Riley felt a change was needed then and should have gone to Vaz sooner. This was the same situation.

“Sometimes when there’s a feeding frenzy it’s not a great deal for anybody quarterbacking at that time,” Riley said. “When we had to drop back and throw, it was pretty hard tonight.”

Riley doesn’t like to throw a backup quarterback into the fray during the heat of the second half when the game is on the line.

Mannion, however, is not any ordinary backup because of his experience. And he already entered the game.

Riley said he’ll regret many of the plays he called in the game. This decision will be one of them.

As we go into the offseason the question lingers on, who is OSU’s starting quarterback?

Mannion was voted a captain as a sophomore due to his work ethic and leadership. Can he come back and regain his position?

Vaz gained favor with the coaches and teammates for his persistence and ability when Mannion was hurt.

With both of them healthy, Riley needs to give one or the other the job.

Vaz feels he thrives in the competition between himself and Mannion. Mannion, however, has been at his best when the unquestioned starter.

Offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said this game is an audition for Vaz in the future. After what transpired in the game, OSU goes into spring practice with uncertainty at a crucial position.

And that’s never a good thing.

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers the Oregon State football team for the Corvallis Gazette-Times. He can be reached at mvsports@lee.net

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers Oregon State sports for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at cliff.kirkpatrick@lee.net.

Copyright 2015 Corvallis Gazette Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(8) Comments

  1. Luie
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    Luie - January 01, 2013 9:03 pm
    What the heck Riley? You had another quarterback. Vaz sucked. again I say you need to do more than explaining but you let Mannion just stand there ready and ignored he also is a QB. I am really dissapointed and after seeing this thought maybe you better move to Texas and stay there and maybe look for another job.

    Get your guys in shape so they can play 4 quarters. Good grief. I have never seen such out of shape players as your kids. When a guy can't do the job you get another player. where was your head?
  2. Luie
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    Luie - January 01, 2013 8:56 pm
    The coach could of really ended the season shining but his mistakes costs the game. He missed calling time out near ending of second half. Thus missing the chance for a field goal. Big mistake. 2nd 10 sacks and he just stood there and watched the game go away. R U freaking kidding me. Vaz should of been removed after the 2nd sack. Just saying you had a bad night and being stupid cost the game. This is where coaches have the opportunity to look ahead and do something before it is too late. 10 sacks and you do not change the quarterback. good grief the beavs looked like they gave up. What is wrong with these kids being tired at 4th quarter. Get in shape you are freakin foot ball team and you need to shine. I like you Mike Riley but you really should of changed quarterbacks after the 2nd sack. To have that many sacks in a season is bad but 1 game and you just stood there watching. It was embarrassing but hopefully you will look at changing your coaching style and get your guys in better shape. G, they are young and to be so tired at 4th quarter was a disgrace. Mike be tougher. You are really the reason the Beavs lost. You got to adjust and make changes when things go wrong or a guy has a bad night. No Excuses. You and Vas screwed up.
  3. Andy
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    Andy - January 01, 2013 10:49 am
    Having watched pregame, I suspect Coach Riley's decision to not switch to Sean Mannion might have been because he saw the same thing I did, that Sean was floating passes again. Those not in San Antonio wouldn't have seen that, and apparently the rest of the Oregon St. centric media was busy absorbing the atmosphere, so few saw there was a reason for hesitation.

    Riley mostly evaded direct questions about why he didn't switch quarterbacks, and that also tells me he didn't want to say anything negative about Sean, but I think he was concerned that instead of discussing how Cody Vaz had the worst day of his career, the conversation would be about interceptions Sean threw. I know I had that concern.

    The fact that Riley didn't call even 1 pass play when Sean was in further supports the idea that he didn't trust Sean's throwing on Saturday.

    This isn't meant to bash either qb, and both have proven they can win against quality opponents, but it wasn't either one's best day Saturday. Neither will blame the dings they suffered this season, but its apparent they are at least subconsciously still affected.

    Back to work for both of them for the next 8 months to improve strength and consistency.

    I was disappointed in the quarterbacking, but I can understand why it happened, and excuse it going forward. I'm afraid I can't find an explanation for poor play calling and clock management down the stretch in both halves, though, especially given that the game plan and play calling was good in the early portions of both halves, good enough that the Beavers were in command most of the time, even given some execution failures that resulted in plays not working that should have.
  4. beav4ever
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    beav4ever - December 30, 2012 6:18 pm
    The kids deserved better. I wont bash Vaz because he did the best he could but he is not a D1 qb. Riley is to blame for this loss!
  5. Momsters
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    Momsters - December 30, 2012 2:17 pm
    Keeping Cody Vaz in when he was having such a poor game was humiliating for the kid and the rest of the offense, especially when Sean Mannion was strapped up and ready to go the entire game. Can someone explain to Coach Riley that last night was neither the time nor the place for his misplaced loyalty to a QB having a terrible night. Why is it never surprising when OSU chokes on the big stage? Stop being grateful for just being there; play like you belong there.
  6. Momsters
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    Momsters - December 30, 2012 2:13 pm
    Coach Riley's refusal to take Cody Vaz out was humiliating for the QB and the entire team. It's not giving the guy "the early hook" when he's just not playing his game. It was unfair to the rest of the offense to keep this kid in when Sean Mannion was strapped up and ready to go the entire game. There's a time and place for player loyalty;last night was neither. Does anyone else remember when OSU played in the Toilet Bowl? It felt like a rerun from the '70's.
  7. Stroker Joe
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    Stroker Joe - December 30, 2012 12:22 pm
    Pretty harsh assessment but right on.
  8. MandoMadMan
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    MandoMadMan - December 30, 2012 8:46 am
    It was Coach Riley's bad quarterback decision, bad play calling and inability to make adjustments that lost this game for OSU. There is no other way to sugar coat it.

    He did himself and the program no favors by this embarrassing display of ineptitude on national television. If I'm a potential recruit watching this game I'm going to think long and hard if I want to play for this coach after watching that debacle.

    It didn't look like he knew what he was doing.
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