Spring Game highlights improvements

Junior quarterback Darell Garretson shines in high-scoring affair

The Oregon State football Spring Game had plenty to watch on Saturday: a fire alarm that temporarily forced fans to evacuate Reser Stadium before the game, some long touchdown passes once the game began and a game-winning touchdown.

Not to mention cornerback Dwayne Williams’ interception in the first half, which he returned 56 yards for the score and stumbled into the fence in front of the construction area in the north end zone.

“If that was me, I’d probably be in the hospital for a couple months,” said head coach Gary Andersen. “But he’s youthful — slips up, bounces right back up and he’s ready to go.”

The Spring Game failed to include one significant thing, though: the naming of an official starting quarterback, but redshirt junior Darell Garretson’s 263 yards and three touchdowns set him atop the stat sheet. Sophomore Marcus McMaryion was 5-for-11 for 31 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, while true freshman Mason Moran ended 5-for-11 with 26 yards and one pick.

Garretson got the most playing time of the quarterbacks, completing 21-of-32 passes with no interceptions.

“Darell played very, very good today,” Andersen said. “The other two young men had their opportunities and had some good things as they went through the day, but obviously today was Darell’s day. No one can watch that and say Darell didn’t play very, very well.”

Andersen added the coaching staff might name a starting quarterback “potentially next week and just get it over with.”

Junior wide receiver Jordan Villamin (four catches, 108 yards and two touchdowns) and sophomore tight end Noah Togiai (seven catches, 107 yards) were the main targets in the passing game.

Junior running back Kyle White led the rushing attack with 53 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while sophomore Paul Lucas added 30 rushing yards and 40 receiving yards. Sophomore Ryan Nall, junior Damien Haskins and senior Tim Cook were held out due to injury, but Andersen stated that Nall is atop the depth chart now and “there’s no disputing that.” Nall will be limited all the way through fall camp, Andersen noted.

Garretson benefitted from the playmakers around him, especially utilizing Villamin’s 6-foot-5 frame on long passes; their two touchdown connections spanned 43 and 24 yards, respectively.

Garretson spent last year at OSU sitting out due to NCAA transfer rules after coming from Utah State, but will be eligible for the upcoming season.

“I love Darell as a quarterback,” White said. “He scans the defense before the play starts. He knows what’s coming, what’s not coming. He knows where to look, where his first reads are, when to scramble and when not to. He’s a great quarterback overall.”

“Darell really impressed me,” added freshman safety Omar Hicks-Onu. “I knew he was a great player, seeing his highlights at Utah State. Seeing him live and playing against him, I know he’s a great player.”

The game ended with Garretson’s nine-yard touchdown pass to true freshman wide receiver Trevon Bradford, which gave the offense the victory. The game pitted OSU’s offense and defense against each other the entire game, awarding points to the defense for plays like sacks, takeaways or touchdowns and the offense for touchdowns, field goals and long drives.

Bradford’s stats didn’t pop out — three catches for 17 yards, two rushing yards and the touchdown — but his athleticism drew praise from his teammates nonetheless.

“He’s the new eye-opener on the team,” Hicks-Onu said.

The Beavers have three more spring practices left on the schedule before the wait until fall camp begins and then the season opener on Sept. 1.

“It will be not a focus on ‘let’s just stay healthy for the last three practices,’” Andersen said. “We are not in a position to do that. We have to wake up and grind again tomorrow.”

On Twitter @BrightTies

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