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MailTribune.com
  • Mannion, Vaz locked in battle for starting QB spot

  • CORVALLIS — Oregon State quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz have spent the first two days of bowl practice sharing the workload as the Beavers stage a three-week competition for starting honors in the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl against Texas.
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  • CORVALLIS — Oregon State quarterbacks Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz have spent the first two days of bowl practice sharing the workload as the Beavers stage a three-week competition for starting honors in the Dec. 29 Alamo Bowl against Texas.
    Although Vaz has looked the sharper of the two, it's way too early to name a favorite, and offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf said it's a battle that could go on well after they leave San Antonio.
    "It's going to be like this with these two,'' said Langsdorf, who sounded like he's warming up to the two-quarterback idea. "They're both playing good football. They're both deserving of playing. We're going to let them take even reps.''
    Mannion and Vaz split time in the season finale against Nicholls State, but the Colonels were no match for either arm, as Mannion and Vaz combined to go 34 of 40 for 421 yards and five touchdowns.
    "It's good competition for them,'' Langsdorf said. "We're going to let it play out a little bit, give them a lot of work and come up with a plan here after a few days of practice.''
    The Beavers might choose to let the starting quarterback remain a mystery until they depart for San Antonio on Dec. 22, but Langsdorf said the staff could make a choice before then.
    "Possibly,'' Langsdorf said. "But I think we're going to play it by ear and see how we progress.''
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    A DAY AFTER defensive players Rudolf Fifita, Mana Rosa and Dyllon Mafi were arraigned on misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct charges, OSU coach Mike Riley said he is still gathering information.
    "They're not here, they're not part of our bowl preparation at this time,'' said coach Mike Riley, who did talk with the players Tuesday morning. "Our guys were in a place they shouldn't have been in. They were wrong. I don't know that they were the only ones that were wrong in that deal.''
    Defensive coordinator Mark Banker said losing three players, including a pretty key cog in defensive end Fifita, is not a small thing.
    "You don't want to lose anybody on the defensive line — especially in this game,'' Banker said, "where you're facing a good ground team, a good play-action pass team.''
    Rosa was one of the defensive linemen in Joe Seumalo's rotation whose growth helped return the unit to run-stopper status, having grown in size to be able to play inside after starting his OSU career as a defensive end.
    Mafi, a junior college transfer, played sparingly (against Cal and Nicholls State) but has the tools to help. Banker cited one play against Nicholls State where Mafi took on a chop block, got back on his feet and made a tackle.
    By the way, Banker's name was floated recently as a possible hire by USC, but Banker said there is nothing brewing there.
    "I haven't talked to Lane Kiffin at all'' said Banker, who heard the rumor when he was in Los Angeles recruiting last week.
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    LUKE DEL RIO, the No. 29-rated pro-style quarterback in the 2013 class, decommitted from Oklahoma State on Tuesday and is considering the OSU in Corvallis.
    The Beavers, as well as Colorado State, have offered Del Rio, according to Rivals. The son of former NFL star and current Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, he is a 6-foot-2, three-star recruit from Denver.
    "Officially decommitted from Oklahoma State, opening recruiting back up,'' Del Rio tweeted. "(Oklahoma State) is still one of the options. ... "I'm feeling the love from (Oklahoma State) and Oregon State fans.''
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    IT TOOK A while, but running back Storm Woods said his feet are back on the ground after the announcement that Oregon State would play Texas in the Alamo Bowl.
    "Now it's just time to calm down and play football,'' said Woods, from nearby Pflugerville, Texas. "I don't want to get all caught up in emotion. I want to go out there, be calm, make my reads, run the ball well and help us win.''
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