Spring Preview: Offensive Backfield

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The offensive backfield (running backs and quarterbacks) receive a great deal of attention for any team. After last season however, more eyes than ever will be squarely focused on the quarterback play of junior Sean Mannion and senior Cody Vaz.
After a solid freshman year, Mannion was poised for big things in 2012. He did lead the team to some big wins early, but a knee injury sidelined him. Cody Vaz rose to the occassion and had some big games as well, leaving Oregon State coaches in limbo. At the end of the season, both gun slingers had some stellar moments behind center and some they'd rather forget.
Both enter spring camp on equal footing and Coach Riley said that a decision most likely won't be made until the fall.
"You can't read anything into Mannion/Vaz (on depth chart), they will split time evenly," Riley told the media. "You don't need to ask them daily what is going on because I won't make a decision until the end of fall camp unless someone grabs the bull by the horns."
Quarterback returns everyone, but running back saw some key losses.
Junior Malcolm Agnew has left the program and will join his brother at Southern Illinois. Agnew was the starter as a freshman, but was passed by Storm Woods and Terron Ward last season. He was a major contributor however on special teams. Also lost to graduation are Jordan Jenkins and Clayton York who saw situational action.
Aside from the battle that looms between Mannion and Vaz for the starting quarterback role, the back-up contest will still be important. Behind the two starters the Beavers are scary thin. Walk-on Richie Harrington saw a few snaps in 2012 and redshirt freshman Brent VanderVeen will be working hard this spring to earn the third string spot.
At running back many will be watching Chris Brown to see how he has progressed and to see if the talented redshirt freshman can move up the depth chart. Storm Woods and Terron Ward will also be working hard to secure their spot on the depth chart.
BeaverBlitz analysts will be watching the action closely and will have daily updates.
Mannion and Vaz have to feel the pressure. It can't be easy to be in their position, but both have been ultimate team players. Both have spent the off-season working out with the receivers and have stayed engaged.
Neither can let the pressure get to them though. They need to each be confident as each has a tremendout skill set. Confidence and good solid decision making will be imperative for whomever wins the battle, and as we've seen time and time again, the #2 quaterback better be ready.
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