CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) With a dual-quarterback system in place, the question for Oregon State is this: Who starts the opener?
True freshman Seth Collins and redshirt freshman Marcus McMaryion will both play Friday night when the Beavers open against Weber State. New Oregon State coach Gary Andersen won’t say what that will actually look like.
”I’m sworn to secrecy,” he said.
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Andersen spent two years at Wisconsin and replaces longtime coach Mike Riley, who went to Nebraska. Known more as a defensive coach, Andersen is leaving details about strategy to his offensive coordinator, longtime coach Dave Baldwin. The Beavers are not only breaking in a quarterback who has never played in a college game, they are also transitioning from Riley’s pro-style offense to a spread option.
Baldwin says using both quarterbacks at the start of the season is part of a plan to get both experience. The idea is that whoever becomes the backup won’t have to come in cold should something unexpected happen. There is no timetable for naming a starter.
Anderson also said the starter Friday night may not be the quarterback that ultimately wins the starting job.
”It’ll be what call we think fits best against what we believe they’re going to do on the first snap of the game, from a defensive standpoint to our offensive standpoint,” he said. ”It won’t be that this guy is taking the first snap because he’s got the upper hand. It will be just whatever play in the opener is set for that young man.”
McMaryion served on the scout team last year and has said he learned a lot from former Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion, who graduated after a record-setting senior season and went to the St. Louis Rams.
Collins arrived at Oregon State early and impressed coaches in the annual spring game, throwing for 175 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 74 yards.
Other things to look for at the game at Reser Stadium:
CONNECTIONS: Andersen and Weber State coach Jay Hill are close friends. Andersen recruited Hill, then a promising JC cornerback, to play for Utah when Andersen was defensive assistant under Ron McBride.
Later, Hill coached cornerbacks at Utah for two years when Andersen was defensive coordinator under Kyle Whittingham. Weber State is Hill’s first job as a head coach.
”In a way he’s like a father figure to me,” Hill said this week. ”He was the one who gave me my first big break as a player, and he was also the one when I wanted to get into coaching, (he) helped me along the way.”
LOOKING BACK: Oregon State went 5-7 – out of the bowl picture – under Riley last season. Weber State, which plays in the Big Sky Conference, went 2-10 last season in Hill’s first year as head coach.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Weber State offense is led by junior quarterback Jadrian Clark, who took over for the Wildcats’ last five games last season and threw for 902 yards and seven touchdowns. His top target this season will be junior Cam Livingston, who caught 57 passes for 856 yards.
ISAAC’S BACK: Beavers center Isaac Seumalo is finally healthy after missing all of 2014 with a foot injury. Seumalo started 27 games in his first two seasons at Oregon State and has made the Outland Trophy preseason watch list.
”Boy is he a special player,” Baldwin said. ”I can see why a lot of people think he’s been an NFL player. He could start at three different positions for us, center guard and tackle, but because we want him to be able to play, we’ve limited him to center – because then you’ve got to take every snap in practices. … The kid’s a player. He makes a difference up front.”
IT’S BLACK AND WHITE: Oregon State will wear a black and white uniform combination for the first time since the team’s re-branding in 2013: Black jerseys, white pants and white helmets. The helmet will feature a red, white and blue Beaver logo in tribute to active military personnel and veterans.