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September 13, 2011

Riley goes with youth over experience

In a move that can't be called a surprise given the on-field events of the past two weeks, Coach Riley announced Tuesday that redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Mannion will be the starting quarterback when the Beavers take the field for their next game against UCLA on September 24th.

After a wrist injury sidelined incumbent starter Ryan Katz during Spring Camp, Mannion and sophomore Cody Vaz shared time with the first team. However, Katz returned from his injury was the team's leader during the summer conditioning program and was the starter throughout Fall Camp and into the first game.

Heading into the first game, the depth chart was slated as Katz, Vaz and then Mannion. BeaverBlitz reported that week that Mannion had in fact jumped Vaz on the depth chart. However, Riley maintained in his press conference leading up to the game that there had been no change to the quarterback depth chart.

After an unproductive first half against Sacramento State, Katz was benched for the entire second half in favor of Mannion.

Fast forward to the second game, in which an all out quarterback controversy was brewing. Riley continued to say publicly that Katz would be the starter in Wisconsin, but practice observers noted that it was Mannion who was receiving the lion's share of the first team reps.

In Wisconsin, Katz did in fact start the game. He directed three plays, got the first down, and then was benched in favor of Mannion. The coaches continued a strange substitution pattern throughout the game, with Katz coming in for a couple more plays at various times, but Mannion getting the vast majority of game snaps.

After the game Riley, said that he would revisit the issue this week, but that he liked things about both quarterbacks. On Tuesday, Riley made the call.

"It isn't Ryan getting worse," Riley said, "It's all relative. Sean just really came on and has earned the right to play."



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