05.Jul.2015 Oregon State Pre-Season Position Breakdown: QBs
Nick Mitchell: Mitchell reminds me of a more fleet-footed Chad Pennington. He even has a bit of the jump step while throwing, and similar mediocre arm strength. You can win at any level with an average arm, as long as it’s accurate, so I don’t knock him there. In Andersen’s offense, arm strength is a bonus not a necessity. What I dislike most about Mitchell is during interviews he doesn’t show confidence or leadership. There is a process for most athletes that goes something like this: “I can’t believe I made it this far”, “Do I belong?”, “I belong, but will I stick?”, and finally “I am good/great.” Mitchell is so far from that 4th stage. Based on his interviews, he almost seems stuck between 1 and 2. He lacks confidence, seems to be happy just to be in the mix, etc. We need a leader. My knock on Mitchell would be mediocre arm, which takes weapons like Villiman out of the offense, and he’s not a natural leader.
Seth Collins: Unlike Mitchell, Collins believes he belongs, and maybe even believes he is great, despite the fact that he’s a poor passer at this stage. Now, in the spring game, his passing did look improved. Was that the poor defense, McGiven’s coaching, a fluke? We’ll see. If he’s truly improved that much as a passer, than he probably has to start. I’m not convinced he has yet. But back to the mental game. Andersen said specifically he wants a QB who can win with his mind. While Collins has confidence and believes he belongs, he also is extremely immature by most accounts and annoying/cocky by others. Now let’s factor in his poor offer sheet. Did everyone miss on this guy? His HS film showed this: fast runner, can’t throw a lick, so so decision making. His time at OSU thus far showed slightly improved passing, average decisoin making, and immaturity. Is this a Pac-12 starter’s skill set? It might have to be. The Beavs are not in a good position. Andersen likely wants his guy to start, so I think Collins has the edge over Mitchell.
Marcus McMaryion: I was told he graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA, so he should be able to make good decisions on the field. His HS film shows a guy who can make pro passes (specifically he throws a beautiful fade, but also has plus arm strength and can get the ball 25 yards downfield with ease). I think this is the only QB of the bunch who can easily get the ball downfield and keep Jordan Villamin in the mix (Villamin isn’t really a bubble screen guy). His running is fluid and above average, but not as electric as Collins. So why isn’t he in the mix? Despite what most believe, I think he is..as a dark horse. Jack Del Rio was hanging around Spring camp lobbying for Luke, and that took reps from McMaryion, who also had to learn a new offense (Collins already ran this type of offense, and Mitchell ran it for the scout team). All of this set him back, but by the end of camp Andersen seemed impressed with MM. Again, though, I think the one area this player lacks is confidence. I am not sure he believes he belongs, and being knocked out of the QB competition (“losing” to Del Rio no less…in quotes because that was nepotism) couldn’t have helped with that. His laid back attitude isn’t a mesh with Andersen. He’s at worst, a very good third stringer, but I think he can push for at least the backup job, if not more.
Push comes to shove, I think Gary Andersen starts Seth Collins. The reason being his confidence, electric play at times, and familiarity with this offense. I’m not sure how I feel about Collins at this point. At some point in every Pac-12 game you need to make legitimate passes. You need a mentally mature QB who is a leader, not a clown. I’m not sure Collins is there yet. If I were coach, I’d mix QBs. I know that’s not a popular strategy, but in this unique situation I think it’s best. They all overlap enough that it’s not a dead giveaway that it’s a run or pass play. I’d put Collins in for the bulk of read options, yet have him through enough to keep the D off balance. I’d start McMaryion so I could throw the ball a bit. I’d make Mitchell the backup. If Collins starts, I think we fans will be pulling our hair out watching his passing game and iffy decisions. That’s my hunch.
Unfortunately, Utah State transfer Darell Garretson is probably the best QB they have signed, but he has to site out the year. It will be interesting to see what happens next year with Garretson in the mix. Say one of these freshman steps up and has a decent year, do you put Garretson in there anyway? That will be interesting.