<
>

Position of need Oregon State needs to address this offseason

Area of need: Quarterback

Current situation: Third-stringer Marcus McMaryion delivered the biggest win of the season for the Beavers, a 10-point victory over Oregon in the season finale. That came after starter Darell Garretson and Conor Blount, who was pushing Garretson for reps, were both injured.

Sound like a carousel? It kind of was.

The Oregon State quarterback situation was a constant battle, but not in the way coaches want competition between quarterbacks. Rather than having three guys play at high levels and push one another, Gary Andersen had three guys who were never really able to separate themselves from average play. In mid-October, Andersen said: “It’s not a secret. We are horrible at throwing the football.” As a result, the Beavers offense struggled mightily. Oregon State finished last in the Pac-12 in total offense (365.5 yards per game) and 10th in scoring offense (26.2 points per game).

Plan moving forward: Garretson, Blount and McMaryion are all back in 2017. Mason Moran, who redshirted last season, will join the competition, as will junior college signee Jake Luton.

That gives Andersen five quarterbacks, three of whom have Oregon State experience, four of whom have some level of college experience. With that depth on the roster and with all five in Corvallis over the offseason for strength and conditioning training, the Beavers should be able to put a better passing game on the field in 2017. That’ll be one of the biggest keys to any kind of team growth next season.

Without a better passing game, talented running back Ryan Nall will continue to have to fight tooth and nail for every 10th of yard he gets because defenses are going to be able to stack the box against the Beavers. If Andersen can field a more balanced offense, one that can at least compete a bit with the passing game talent in the Pac-12 North (Jake Browning, Luke Falk, Justin Herbert), that should give Oregon State some ground on which to stand.

Because when it comes to the receivers’ side of the passing game, Oregon State is stocking up with talent. In addition to returning Seth Collins and Jordan Villamin, the Beavers have seven wide receivers in their 2017 class, including their only four star commitments -- wide receivers Kolby Taylor and Quantino Allen.