2015 Position Review: Quarterbacks

Over the next few weeks, I am going to share my thoughts on each position’s performance last season, as well  take a look at what next year could look like. With a season like 2015, there will be a lot of changes beyond the usual attrition and reloading.

Heading into the the 2015 season, no position was under more scrutiny than the quarterback position.  With big name coaches like Dave Baldwin and Kevin McGiven (2014 Quarterbacks coach of the year) joining the staff, there was hope this position would grow, and grow quickly.  Through spring ball, the three-headed monster of Seth Collins, Marcus McMaryion, and Nick Mitchell were all ready to take the field and see what they could do in fall camp.

Quickly, the coaches deemed it a two-horse race with McMaryion and Collins taking the majority of the snaps with the first team. In the end, the coaches chose to go with the true freshman Seth Collins and his electric running ability. What started out promising, unfortunately saw a lot of freshmen mistakes and some injuries that forced the Beavers to use all three of their available quarterbacks.


Seth Collins 83 160 935 51.9 5.84 6 4 108.3
Nick Mitchell 51 113 571 45.1 5.05 3 4 89.3
Marcus McMaryion 27 67 403 40.3 6.02 1 3 86.8

At first glance, it appears OSU had a clear passing leader, and OSU’s only wins, one of which was against FCS opponent Weber State, were with Seth Collins getting most of the snaps. If you take those two games out, there is a lot more balance against the higher-level competition.  Each QB had good games in conference play, with Collins having a breakout game against Stanford, Mitchell playing amazingly well against Utah, and McMaryion giving himself a shot at starting next year with his play against the ducks in the Civil War. In some cases, like McMariyon’s Civil War performance, it really was good enough to win, if the defense could have stopped the high-powered duck offense.

While none of our QB’s were going to be on any all-conference teams, all three showed some good, but it was the bumps we talk about them taking on their way to being a better conference quarterback more. Unfortunately, there were too many bumps in a lot of cases and it became obvious that while our quarterbacks were warriors, they were asked to do more than they could on many occasions. Players such as Nick Mitchell that gave everything they had to be the starter, yet at the end of the year, are now moving on to play somewhere else (Dixie State University). Or Seth Collins who was electric on the field, but will be taking his talents to a different position where he can find more success, potentially beyond his time at Oregon State.

While Beaver Nation has been used to having great quarterback play the last two decades with names like Smith, Andersen, Moore, Canfield, Moevao and Mannion, this year was a struggle with a position group that just couldn’t quite get over the hump. For me personally, what I will remember is a group of guys asked to take on a lot of responsibility when a lot of change was happening, when their world was rocked just a few months prior to the start of the season, who never quit. They never backed down from any opponents and tried their best. For that, I will always be thankful.

Just like the efforts of Ian Shields when he was asked to be the QB for the Beavers in Jerry Pettibone’s first year (who also had a remarkable Civil War experience), this was a team of pro-style QB’s picked by Mike Riley for his system who were being asked to switch gears and go to something else. So for them, i am grateful. Grateful for their efforts and for never giving up.  That will most likely do them more good in life than one or two more wins this year would.

Next Year:
With Collins moving to wide Receiver, and transfer QB Darrell Garrettson being eligible to play after sitting out the mandated transfer year, OSU has only one familiar face returning behind center.

Darell Garrettson, RS Jr.
Marcus McMariyon, RS Soph.
Mason Moran, Fr.

McMariyon is the only QB with Pac-12 experience, but Garrettson played previously at Utah State. He played as a true freshman and was one of four starters during his sophomore season due to injury. Garrettson has a quick release and can really sling the ball around the field. He appears to have the edge going into the season, especially with McGiven moving to co-coordinator.

91 135 67.4 1140 8.4 8 81 3 153.4
126 209 60.3 1446 6.9 10 48 7 127.5

The other new arrival is Mason Moran. Another Chandler High School graduate, Mason is an amazing prospect, and not someone to sleep on.  The 5.7, 3 Star (according to Rivals) QB was on one of the best teams in the nation and was a force with his arm and his feet. His senior highlight film is filled with plays that should make Beaver Nation excited for the future.

With any coaching change, especially one so stark and complete, there will be shuffling and fluctuation of personnel both at coach and on the roster.  The loss of great teammates like Nick Mitchell is never awesome, but the future at OSU will be bright if they can continue to recruit nationally relevant players like Moran. While we will be in our second straight QB competition going into spring, this one may be more hopeful as it is filled with players that better fit the vision of coaches because the majority of them were picked for this system,

Go Beavs (PRO)

(stats provided by ESPN.com)

2 thoughts on “2015 Position Review: Quarterbacks

  1. Building the Dam (@BuildingTheDam)

    “this was a team of pro-style QB’s picked by Mike Riley for his system who were being asked to switch gears and go to something else”

    Except that Seth Collins was selected by this coaching staff, and specifically, this head coach, for this system, but despite the best QB rating and accuracy of the 3, was discounted as a QB option before the season was even over.

    I fully agree with the point that Mitchell and McMaryion were handicapped by the change of system as much as the change of coaches, but Collins was not.

    And while I like what I see of Mason Moran, he looks for all the world like Seth Collins, take 2.

    It appears Garretson is the direction the coaching staff is going, but in the event of injury, the backup plan, and the future, doesn’t resemble him. It seems that the recruited backup should look like Garretson if you are going to change course again, and if you don’t/can’t/didn’t recruit to that vision, why change course again, and then have to change course yet again?

    1. Peter Riley Osborne Post author

      I agree with this except for a few points:

      Seth was selected by this staff at the zero hour and we were his only Power 5 scholarship offer. Nothing against one of our players, but he was definitely a project coming in and would have probably red-shirted at SJSU had he gone there instead. I think there are other issues with Seth that are more about the nuance of being a QB than his abilities. Moran is a high 3 star prospect with many Power 5 offers on a very high profile school that plays nationally ranked teams. While I agree Garrettson is a different beast than Moran, I also think that the offense is diverse enough to handle the changes. There is a huge difference between Mariotta and Masoli and Thomas at UO, but that doesn’t mean that all of those guys didn’t have success.

      I think that Andersen is enamored with athletic QB’s because of the defensive nightmare they can provide and because you can still run an offense with a less than stellar passer.

      My guess is that Garrettson is simply our best shot next year, and that our QB recruiting next year will look a lot more like Moran than Darell. This is a multi-year process, but there was enough evidence that Seth was going to help the team more at receiver than at quarterback to make the move. We will see how it works out.


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