For a moment, imagine you’re a teenage boy. Sweaty, full of hormones, insecurity raging between penis and skull like a tea party crowd on adderall after Ted Nugent says something combining racism and the Second Amendment.
And let’s say that on the first day of school, a really hot girl flirts with you every time she sees you—and for once, everything goes right. You get her number. You go on dates. And after a couple of weeks, she’s hints that she’s inevitably going to sleep with you. Awesome right?
But there’s a catch. She’s also dating someone else, and she’s told that dude the same thing… only, he’s a senior with lusciously long locks and a Zen, I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude.
Worse, the competition has gone public. The whole school spends half of all their time speculating which one of you is going to win out, and everyone, you included, can only guess that it’s going to come down to your performance: in bed.
Win, and you’ll go on to bigger and better things, gaining the confidence to be with other beautiful women, living a successful life filled with prosperity. Lose, you’ll end up wearing the same leather jacket every day, chasing free pool nights at dive bars in south-east, and dabbling in relationships with 38-year-old white strippers named LaDestiny.
Think you’d be a little nervous? You bet, and while Sean Mannion may not be a teenager anymore, Oregon State Coach Mike Riley is putting him in the exact same position by not announcing a starting quarterback before the season opener on August 31st. And he should know better.
For one, this isn’t the first time Riley has done this. Beaver fans have watched him waffle over quarterbacks for the past five years. Lyle Moevao. Sean Canfield. Ryan Katz. Sean Mannion. Cody Vaz. Brent VanderVeen?
Sure, we get it—it’s an important decision—and I’ll be one of the first guys bitching if Riley gets it wrong. But the fact is that Riley is the head coach: it’s his job to decide who starts and who doesn’t, and he’s getting paid handsomely to do it.
Even if Mannion—or Vaz for that matter—can bounce back from the mind fuck Riley has been putting them through since Nicholls State last year, there’s a greater risk to the program… Riley. We have a hard enough time getting good recruits to Corvallis in the first place, but when you have a coach whose quarterback loyalties shift—literally—like the romantic palpitations of a teenage girl, it throws a huge clusterfuck into your pitch to future, would-be beavers. And not just for quarterbacks.
Because, to bring it back to the team, it all starts with the quarterback. He’s the leader, the de facto coach, the guy freshmen look up to; indeed, he’s the heart and soul of your football team. And to not know who that guy is thrusts instability into every position. For example, if I’m a receiver, which quarterback do I go to for nuances on running routes? Mannion may prefer to zip it to my back shoulder while Vaz wants me to come back to the ball, and that’s one more thing with all the nerves and pressure of playing D1 college football for me to worry about. Not only that, but the press is going to ask every player, every day, all kinds of questions about the quarterback controversy until there’s an announcement.
In other words, Riley, this decision doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s spilling over to the rest of the team, and it has the potential to spill over and ruin what might otherwise be a pretty good season.
Pick a quarterback. End the drama. Do it. NOW!