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  • COLLEGE FOOTBALL

    Longhorns settle on starting QB; OSU remains uncertain

  • One of the biggest questions surrounding the Alamo Bowl has been who will start at quarterback for Oregon State and Texas.
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  • One of the biggest questions surrounding the Alamo Bowl has been who will start at quarterback for Oregon State and Texas.
    One of those teams found an answer on Monday.
    Texas coach Mack Brown announced that David Ash will start the Dec. 29 game against the Beavers.
    OSU coach Mike Riley countered with no decision.
    "We are closer," Riley said after Monday's practice. "We haven't said anything to the players and we don't know for sure."
    Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz have spilt time with the first and second strings for the first seven bowl practices, but Mannion has rotated in first.
    Riley said he has no timetable for naming a starter and maintains he has confidence in both since they have won games and played well at times.
    "With these guys, we are confident who we pick to start will do a good job," Riley said. "For their sake you just want to take your time with a choice like this."
    Riley must choose between Vaz, who has a 150.5 passer rating, and Mannion (138.8 rating). The big difference is Mannion's 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions compared to Vaz's 11 TDs and one interception.
    Mannion, who was the starter most of last season, holds the edge in experience.
    No matter who starts, the game plan won't change much. Riley is not being secretive about who will play as a way to play gamesmanship with the Longhorns.
    When the time comes, he will pick a starter to prepare for the game and expect the backup to be ready, too.
    "They'll be fine mentally," Riley said. "We are getting plenty of practice now. They both get good work. We won't have to worry about the number (of reps)."
    Both players continue to take the competition in stride. They've gone back and forth as the starter this season and supported each other.
    Mannion started the last three games, wins over California and Nicholls State, and the loss to Oregon, while Vaz recovered from the high-ankle sprain he suffered on Nov. 10 at Stanford.
    Before that, Vaz played for Mannion when he had a knee injury.
    "When Cody and I started, the other focused just as much," Mannion said. "That being said, there's some disappointment if you don't get to start. I'm not going to lie about that. We both want to. I want to start against Texas in a big bowl game. That's the way it is every game. I haven't started in a bowl game. That would mean a lot to me. But all I can do for now is focus on being a better player."
    Texas has been in a similar situation. Ash began the season as the starter with Case McCoy getting significant playing time.
    Ash injured his wrist early in the season and his ribs on Nov. 22 against TCU, which caused him to miss the regular-season finale. Brown deemed him healthy and gave him the starting role.
    "Passing-wise they are similar," OSU cornerback Rashaad Reynolds said. "The dynamic Ash has over (McCoy) is running. He runs a little more. There might be some option in there but we'll prepare for them the same."
    McCoy has a slightly better passer rating at 169.0-154.9. Ash has thrown for 17 TDs and seven picks. McCoy has six TDs and three interceptions.
    "I don't know if that does or not (matter)," Riley said of Texas announcing its starting QB. "You have to be ready for both since they both play."
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