Up for grabs
CORVALLIS — Marcus McMaryion is much more at ease when it comes to the quarterback competition at Oregon State, even if it feels as uncertain as it was last season.
The sophomore has a year of experience when it comes to vying for the starting job and he knows the kind of twists the depth chart can take from week to week.
"I'm definitely more comfortable out there," McMaryion said. "I already know the offense and where we're going and I think that's going to help me this season. Anything can happen, and you have to be ready. "
There was even a twist earlier this week, when the school announced that Seth Collins, who started for the Beavers at quarterback in seven games last season before announcing that he was going to transfer, was returning to the team. However, Collins will move to receiver.
Whereas last season McMaryion vied for playing time with Collins and Nick Mitchell, this spring the competition has included transfer Darell Garretson and freshman Mason Moran.
The three were all on display at the team's public scrimmage in Hillsboro last weekend, and they'll likely be a focus of the annual spring game today back home at Reser Stadium.
McMaryion appeared in seven games last season and got his first college start in the Civil War against the rival Oregon Ducks. He finished the season with 403 yards passing and a touchdown, along with a rushing TD.
Garretson is a transfer from Utah State who sat out last season because of NCAA rules. For the Aggies in 2014, he threw for 1,140 yards and eight touchdowns in five games when starter Chuckie Keeton was injured. Garretson himself missed seven games that season with a wrist injury.
Moran is an early enrollee out of Arizona's Chandler High School, recruited as a defensive player by other schools. He got the longest look at the scrimmage in Hillsboro, finishing with 101 passing yards and a touchdown.
McMaryion threw for 48 yards and a score in the event, while Garretson was 7-for-15 for 66 yards with an interception.
"I'm pretty comfortable with everything going on right now," Garretson said. "Mainly just getting back into the rhythm of things, and more or less the speed of what it is. So overall I feel pretty comfortable right now."
Mitchell and Collins have both moved on: Mitchell to another program and Collins to a new position.
Collins threw for 936 yards and six touchdowns last season, while also running for 580 yards and eight more scores. He missed four games because of a knee injury late in the season, but returned for the Civil War, seeing time at QB, running back and receiver.
He requested a transfer following the season and appeared poised to play for Northern Illinois. Although he remained enrolled at Oregon State, it was a surprise when coach Gary Andersen announced he was returning to the team.
Mitchell started five games for the Beavers last season, throwing for 571 yards and three TDs with four interceptions. He's expected to play at Cerritos College in the fall.
Collins, Mitchell and McMaryion had not played in a college game before last season, and they were among a group of seven inexperienced quarterbacks trying to win a role heading into fall camp.
"It's narrowed down from last year. It was kind of a circus last year with so many guys trying to get into the rotation," McMaryion said. "But me, Darell and Mason ... definitely moving in the right direction in the quarterback spot. I think you guys have a lot to be excited about."
Andersen said he needs to see improvement in the Beavers' receiving corps to get a better grasp on the quarterback situation.
"It's going to be hard to really make a decision at quarterback until we have an offense that can help the quarterback, regardless of who it is," Andersen said. "So, as much as you'd like to say we have a timeline on it, right now we're a little bit held back by the receivers, that's the long and the short of it."
Andersen praised freshman receiver Trevon Bradford, a local player from Oregon City, along with veteran Victor Bolden. Now the Beavers will have Collins, too.
Both positions will continue to play out in fall camp.
"I feel like we're definitely starting to click," McMaryion said, "but there's a lot more work to be done."