CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Among the difficult things about remaking Oregon State’s pro-style offense has been the huddle. Or, more specifically, the lack of one.
New offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin has been charged with taking Oregon State’s offense out of Mike Riley’s era and remaking it for new head coach Gary Andersen. That means taking the Beavers from a pro-style to a speedy spread.
And that’s where the no-huddle comes in.
“They used to get in the huddle and they were able to terminologize, ‘This is the play and go,’ where as now we send in the personnel and we’re lining up at the line of scrimmage,” Baldwin said. “It took them a long time get used to saying, ‘OK, we’ve got to get in there in a hurry, we’ve got to go,’ without the quarterback saying ‘power-strong-right’ or whatever it may be.”
Baldwin comes to the Beavers from Colorado State, where he was the offensive coordinator for three years. Corvallis is the latest stop for the experienced coach, who worked under Andersen at Utah State from 2009-11.
He was among the new staff hires for Andersen, who took over at Oregon State in December after Riley surprisingly stepped down to take the top job at Nebraska. Andersen had spent the past two seasons at Wisconsin.
One of Baldwin’s biggest challenges in his first season at Oregon State will be at quarterback. Sean Mannion, last year’s record-setting passer for the Beavers, has graduated and moved on to the St. Louis Rams.
None of the players vying to replace Mannion has any experience in a live college game. Fall camp started as a three-way battle between true freshman Seth Collins and redshirt freshmen Nick Mitchell and Marcus McMaryion.
Last week, Andersen announced that for the time being, the Beavers would play both Collins and McMaryion. The Beavers open the season next Friday at home against Weber State before heading to Michigan for a game at the Big House in Week 2.
Baldwin sees the two getting used situationally instead of intermittently per quarter or half. He also said there’s a reason behind the decision of going with a dual-quarterback system: You want to make sure that once a starter is decided on, the other one has some experience if circumstances - like injury - merit a change.
“We’re so young there, you could say green behind the ears. No one’s ever, ever played in a crowd,” Baldwin said. “In our second game we’re going to go in front of 110-114,000 people. That’s great experience for these two young men. As we grow as an offense and both have played, I’ll feel confident that the second guy can come in and he won’t be rattled at all.”
Collins, who enrolled at Oregon State early, in considered a dual-threat QB. He passed for 1,013 yards and 12 touchdowns while running for 988 yards and 17 scores as a high school senior in San Diego.
McMaryion, who was on the scout team last year, has impressed coaches with his work ethic. He’s also got a strong arm, and threw for more than 500 yards in a single game during high school.
“It’s our responsibility as coaches not to make it too complex on a young quarterback, where he has so many things to process that he can’t show his athletic ability,” Baldwin said. “We put in a package and now as we game-plan we’ll try to limit it to what the quarterback does well and understands, and gives us a chance to win the game.”
Baldwin has the full support of Andersen.
“What Dave has done with quarterbacks throughout his career, I think, gives our quarterbacks a good opportunity to be successful and they’re really good at what they do,” Andersen said.
Oregon State went 5-7 last season under Riley and didn’t make the postseason. When Andersen took over, he had only 11 returning seniors.
The makeover at Oregon State isn’t solely Baldwin’s responsibility, either. The Beavers are also switching up their defense under new defensive coordinator, Kelani Sitake, who held that same job at Utah for the past three seasons.
Baldwin is excited for the next chapter to start. The Beavers open the season on Sept. 4 at home against Weber State.
“I’m excited. I think our kids - every day there’s something new they catch on to,” Baldwin said. “Still, It’s a process. But I’m excited. We’ll be ready.”
Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC.