Garretson ready to take over for Beavers
CORVALLIS — After last season's quarterback carousel at Oregon State, Darell Garretson heads into this season as the established starter.
Garretson sat out last season under NCAA rules after transferring from Utah State. 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.
Garretson emerged in the Beavers' spring game and coach Gary Andersen didn't waste time, naming him as starter shortly thereafter.
"On the field, I think he handled spring well. He's progressed. How good a Pac-12 quarterback is he going to be? We'll see. We're not real interested in talking about a lot of things, we're interested in getting out and executing and moving forward," Andersen said.
Garretson said he felt the year off learning the system was beneficial.
Seth Collins, Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion all saw time at starter for the Beavers, who went 2-10 last season in Andersen's first with the team.
Mitchell has since transferred. Collins announced that he was leaving, too, but then returned to Oregon State. McMaryion remains, and looks to be Garretson's backup heading into the season.
COLLINS' RETURN: Collins started at quarterback in seven games last season as a freshman but was hampered by injury. In the season-ending Civil War, he lined up at quarterback, receiver and running back.
Collins announced after the season that he intended to transfer but he remained enrolled at Oregon State. This spring, Andersen said Collins was taking steps to rejoin the team. He's listed at receiver for the Beavers, although Andersen said he could fill a variety of roles.
"He's done a great job. When he came back, it was — he was very excited to get back into the mix. He went through the procedures that we laid out for him as a team to get him back into the mainstream. He accomplished those goals very quickly, in a timely manner," Andersen said.
SPEAKING OF CHUCKIE KEATON: Andersen has named Keaton to his coaching staff, along with former Aggies offensive lineman Funaki Asisi. But they're not the only newcomers. Oregon State's new defensive coordinator is Kevin Clune, while the new co-offensive coordinators are Kevin McGiven and T.J. Woods.
RECEIVERS: Face it, much of Garretson's success is going to depend on his receivers.
Jordan Villamin led the Beavers last season with 660 yards receiving and five touchdowns. Victor Bolden, now a senior, caught 46 passes for 461 yards and three touchdowns while also spending time on special teams, where he was Oregon State's go-to on kick returns with 580 yards and a score.
Bolden will fill a similar role this season.
"I believe he will be a difference-maker in this league. He holds himself at a high regard of being a tremendous player within our league, and hopefully elite within the country, and that's his expectations if we can get him the ball the right way, he should do some fantastic things," Andersen said.
BIG REMODEL: This season will debut a $42 million remodel of the Valley Football Center and the north end of Reser Stadium. The "Victory Through Valley" campaign expanded the locker rooms and other player and coach facilities, and created a new fan area called the Terrace which will highlight local food and drink.
BEND VISIT: Because of the construction project, Oregon State moved the start of fall practice off campus for the first time ever to the central Oregon city of Bend, about 125 miles southeast of Corvallis. The Beavers had to get permission from the NCAA to hold the first six days of fall practice at Summit High School before returning to campus on Aug. 11.
SEASON OPENER: The Beavers open at Minnesota on Sept. 1.
PREDICTION: The Beavers were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North in the conference's preseason poll.