After practice today in Bend, Oregon State coach Gary Andersen made what was apparent last late winter official, naming Jake Luton as the Beavers starting quarterback.
After churning through a half dozen quarterbacks in his first 2 seasons in Corvallis, none of which were able to establish anything consistently resembling Pac-12 quarterbacking, the 6’7″, and back up to 235 lbs., Luton was brought in from Idaho by way of Ventura Community College. Luton then struggled through a digestive illness during winter practice, losing 30 lbs, but still established himself as the Beavers’ best option, showing strongly in the
spring winter game.
After getting healthy over the spring and early summer, Luton needed less than a week since Oregon State started summer camp to seize the starting job, after both of last year’s part time starters, Marcus McMaryion and Darell Battetson and Luton all got some reps with the 1s & 2s.
The decision will allow Oregon State to focus on developing offensive consistency that has been absent in the Andersen era, in part due to the uncertainty that a revolving door at quarterback was bound to cause.
With a solid backfield comprised of a 1-2 punch of Ryan Nall and Thomas Tyner, Luton’s distinct (from the rest of the Oregon State quarterbacks since Sean Mannion graduated) ability to stretch the field with accuracy and see where his strong arm is sending the ball to (at 6’7″, Luton in Oregon State’s tallest starting quarterback ever).
The impetus on offense will now shift to a retooled offensive line that graduated 3 starters off last year’s unit that will have to get the blocking job done, but with the knowledge that they have a strong armed passer who won’t flush from the pocket at the first sign of pressure, and a backfield stable that provides a game-long rushing threat, at least they should know where they need to be at all times, which is no small detail for an o-line.
If / when the line can get their timing together, it should in turn allow what has been an underachieving receiver group the last 2 years to blossom as well. That, and routinely working with the same touch and timing of incoming passes.
We should learn more at Friday night’s scrimmage at Summit High School in Bend (which will be at 7:30 PM, not 4:30 as originally scheduled, due to impending hot weather), which will conclude the Beaver’s week long camp stay in central Oregon.