Quarterback questions headline spring football practice

Keenan Puncocher, Multimedia Contributor

The Beavers football team held their fifth day of practice with the focus centered on offense, specifically on who will emerge for the starting quarterback position. The coaching staff now face the challenge of choosing one of three capable candidates to start as quarterback.

Senior Darell Garretson, who was named last year’s starter during spring practice, continues to rehabilitate his leg injury, suffered against Utah on Oct. 15. Garretson has been limited in practice due to his injury and was largely withheld from any major contact.

“We want to make sure we take it easy on Darell (Garretson) with him coming off his leg injury,” co-offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven said. “Sometimes you can overstress those things and so we’ve got to make sure we’re protecting them and don’t cause any problems.”

Redshirt junior Marcus McMaryion, last year’s starter in the Civil War, has been taking reps primarily with the second unit. McMaryion was able to complete a few, short yardage passes but failed to connect on the medium and deep throws ran in practice.

Added to the mix during the offseason is rising talent and junior college transfer Jake Luton. Standing 6-foot-7, Luton brings height to a no-huddle, quick tempo offense.

In Thursday’s practice, Luton took first team reps with an emphasis placed on deep ball connections. On multiple snaps Luton rolled outside of the pocket, scrambling with his legs to keep the play alive, showcasing a bit of the wing-T formation he ran when he was in high school.

“I like to do anything that is asked of me,” Luton said. “In high school I ran a wing-T offense and ran the ball, and in Idaho I ran the ball as well. I am a pocket passer guy, but I like to be able to do a bit of everything.”

Quarterback coach Kevin McGiven was impressed with Luton’s performance on Thursday and identifies his high football IQ.  

“Jake is coming out here and you can tell that his mind is thinking and he is doing some really good things,” McGiven said. “I think he has a good understanding of pass game concepts and has been picking up well on the reads.”

The offensive line, who is charged with protecting the future starting quarterback, has also undergone some drastic changes since last season.

The Beavers are looking to replace three offensive line positions who were held by seniors Gavin Andrews, Dustin Stanton and Sean Harlow.

Sophomore Blake Brandel is one emerging piece of the new look offensive line for the Beavers so far this spring.

“There are a lot of position battles on the offensive line right now and we’re all competing, which is good because it brings the best out of us,” Brandel said. “Spring football is a grind but we’re getting a lot better and things are shaking out with a lot of position battles which is exciting.”

Although the question as to who will be Oregon State’s starting quarterback still remains, Coach McGiven is content with letting competitive spirits run high among the candidates.

“Naming a starting quarterback isn’t necessarily going to be around the guys making plays around him,” McGiven said. “It’s going to be tough to make a decision or pecking order when we’ve barely just gone through the instal and so were going to continue to let them do battle.”