Brian Lindgren admits it’s not an ideal situation.
For the second straight week, Oregon State’s offensive coordinator entered the week of practice without having a starting quarterback named.
He also has to work in a new rotation at running back with starter Artavis Pierce out for about four weeks with an elbow injury.
“You like to have your guys set in stone,” Lindgren said Tuesday afternoon as the Beavers prepared to hit the road to take on Nevada at 4 p.m. Saturday.
“I think the positive thing with the QBs is we have found two guys that we all feel pretty comfortable with that can go in and operate what we want to do.”
Last week, Jake Luton was in the concussion protocol, so his practice time was limited.
Conor Blount, who performed well — 12 of 19 for 169 yards and two touchdowns — in the opener at Ohio State after replacing Luton for the first half, backed up that solid showing by leading the Beavers to 41 first-half points in a win over Southern Utah.
Blount as 15 of 22 for 226 yards and one score against the Thunderbirds. Luton was 4 of 9 for 63 in the second half.
On Monday, coach Jonathan Smith said he would wait to name a starter until the end of the week, choosing to give both players the week of practice to earn the spot.
Lindgren said Blount has done a good job leading the offense.
“I think he’s got a really good composure in the way he just goes out and handles himself,” Lindgren said. “Shoot, I think we scored on seven of eight drives. I really like the way he’s been operating the offense and his decision making.”
Still, Lindgren said there is plenty of room for Blount to grow and the offense overall.
“Wasn’t as sharp in the pass game as I would have liked to have been,” Lindgren said. “I didn’t think we hit as many things on time as we needed to. The second half was a little disappointing. I thought we kind of took a step back a little bit and was just disappointed from our production.”
Luton said it was good to be back on the field after recovering from last season’s injury and playing just one series in the opener before suffering the concussion.
While the situation is not idea for either player, both are making the best of it.
“I’m just doing what I can,” Luton said. “I come out every day and treat every day like game day. I’m coming out here and working hard. I’m not too worried about what’s ahead and what (Smith) decides. I’m just coming out and doing what I can control and working my hardest.”
Added Blount: “It is what it is. You come out there and you compete every day anyways whether it’s with yourself or other players. … I just try to take every week the same. Whether you’re competing for a starting spot, you should always be competing with yourself and that’s kind of what I take is that my expectations are higher than anybody else’s. Just compete with myself and try to get the best out of myself every day.”
While the battle continues at quarterback, the Beavers will also be working in some different running backs into the rotation with Pierce on the shelf.
True freshman Jermar Jefferson filled in quite nicely on Saturday, rushing for 238 yards and four touchdowns. It was the third-most yards in a single game in Oregon State history.
“It was fun to see, but more than anything I think if you were to ask him when we went in that room on Sunday it wasn’t so much about the game he had because it was the other 10 guys that did their job that allowed him to do his,” running backs coach Michael Pitre said. “It was, OK, what can we do better so we can perform better.”
Jefferson is listed as the starter this week but B.J. Baylor, Kase Rogers and Christian Wallace all could see time. Baylor had four carries for 11 yards and Wallace one for three yards.
“Jermar’s going to get some carries for sure but at the same time I’m just not into just having one featured back, especially this early in the season,” Smith said. “I think those guys can get worn out. Too many carries early in the year can cost you later in the year so we’re going to need another guy to step up or two for that matter.”
Pitre said he is excited to see how his group responds to the challenge at hand.
“I think those guys are excited they may have an opportunity to help this team win another game,” he said. “It’s just … having a healthy competition and those guys working to get better is going to be exciting this week.”