Mike Riley walked right up to the scrum of news media covering Oregon State on Tuesday and made it clear he wouldn’t have a quarterback announcement.
”No news today,” Riley said before anyone could even ask the question.
Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz, who both had starts last season, are competing for the starter’s job in fall camp. Coach Riley had said last week he might have a decision by the weekend, but Sunday passed without an announcement.
And neither quarterback was especially impressive on Tuesday, he said.
”I thought it was a mixed bag, frankly,” Riley said.
Mannion started Oregon State’s first four games last season, averaging 339.5 yards passing a game, but injured his left knee and required arthroscopic surgery.
Vaz competently stepped in and won the next two games, giving the Beavers their best start since they also went 6-0 in 1907. Oregon State finished a better-than-expected 9-4 and went to the Alamo Bowl.
Mannion threw for 2,446 yards and 15 touchdowns with eight starts in 10 appearances, while Vaz, hampered late in the season by a left-ankle injury, threw for 1,480 yards and 11 touchdowns in seven games and five starts.
When camp opened, Riley said the coaching staff was confident that both QBs could win, but it was a matter of determining who would be the most consistent at the position.
”We all know what they can do and we all know they can both win games,” he said at the time, adding that he knows he’s in the enviable position of having two QBs who could get the job done.
Vaz, a senior from Lodi, Calif., who has already graduated with a degree in sociology, said he feels like he’s been doing well during camp.
”I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to start,” he said.
The 6-foot-5 Mannion high-fived kids who came to watch practice, at least outwardly showing no sign of pressure.
Riley gave no indication when he might make a decision. The Beavers, ranked No. 25, open the season Aug. 31 at home against Eastern Washington.
But a lot of the talk at camp on Tuesday wasn’t necessarily about the quarterback situation, it was about something Riley posted to Twitter earlier in the day. It asked a simple favor of iPhone users.
”Ask (hashtag)Siri who her favorite college football team is? Just do it. (hashtag)GoBeavs,” Riley tweeted.
When asked, the iPhone personal assistant replies: ”I always like to root for the underdog, I guess that makes me a fan of Oregon State right now.”