Oregon State Football: Beavers Must Stick with QB Sean Mannion

Ryan DavenportContributor INovember 16, 2012

SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 27:  Quarterback Sean Mannion #4 of the Oregon State Beavers rolls out to pass against the Washington Huskies on October 27, 2012 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

For fans of the Oregon State Beavers, it's been a surprisingly successful 2012 season in a number of ways, despite consistent instability under center.

The Beavers, who enter their final three games of the season ranked No. 16, started the year with Sean Mannion as their starting quarterback, and things looked promising after the team stormed out of the gates to a 6-0 start.

However, during their seventh game of the season against Washington, Mannion struggled. After throwing four picks, coach Mike Riley replaced him with junior quarterback Cody Vaz.

From there, Vaz played reasonably well, and Riley named him the team's No. 1 quarterback, until now.

That's because following the Beavers' disappointing loss to No. 14 Stanford last week, Riley made the decision to flip his quarterbacks again, and named Mannion the starter for OSU's game against California on Saturday, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Sean Mannion will start at quarterback for Oregon State on Saturday against Cal, replacing injured Cody Vaz went down in last Saturday's Pac-12 loss against Stanford with an ankle injury.

Coach Mike Riley said Vaz is expected to be in uniform Saturday but gave no indication whether he would be able to play.

Mannion suffered a knee injury after starting the Beavers' first four games this season. He returned after sitting out two games but threw four interceptions against Washington and was benched in favor of Vaz, who has started four of the past five games.

Regardless of whether Mannion's promotion is due to Vaz being injured, the Beavers need to put an end to the revolving door at quarterback, because the offense won't benefit from constantly having to adjust to a new signal-caller.

Not to mention the impact that continuously being promoted and demoted has had on Vaz and Mannion, because it undoubtedly takes a toll on each quarterback's confidence.

With three games left, including an all-important showdown with No. 2 Oregon, Riley needs Mannion to play his best football of the season, especially if he has any hopes of his team keeping up with the Ducks' high-powered offense a week from now.

Mannion didn't accidentally lead the Beavers to wins over No. 13 Wisconsin or No. 16 UCLA, and he's got the ability to at least help keep OSU close when it faces Oregon.

In order for him to do that though, Riley needs to let him know that he'll be the team's starter for the rest of the season, especially if he wants Mannion, a sophomore, to be his quarterback beyond this year.