Mike Riley and his coaching position with the Oregon State Beavers seems to be on the renewable hot seat this year. With the last two seasons being rather lackluster, that seat may be getting warmer. Took me things a bit tougher for Riley; ‘James Rodgers, your services are no longer required.’ Statistically speaking, gone is the Beaver all-time leader in all-purpose yards, all-time receptions, and single season receptions. It won’t be easy, but things have the potential to be better than last years 3-9 mark. Case in point, last season, Riley had 23 first time starters, including 10 true freshman. Obviously, most of that group returns so the same core is now more experienced.
Offense – The Beavers look to one of those returners, quarterback Sean Mannion, to lead the offense, flanked at the wide receiver spots are the trio of Markus Wheaton, Brandin Cooks, and Jordan Bishop. Any time a team has 3 quality WR’s, it begins to stretch defenses and opens up the offensive playbook. However, the running back position is looking for a solid playmaker. In the top slot currently is Malcolm Agnew, but there are plenty more battles coming before Riley finds the emerging leader of this bunch that can free up Mannion to make plays. In 2011, the Beavers were impotent offensively, ranking near the bottom in most statistical categories.
Riley will have his work cut out for him, but a bowl-eligible season could be the right medicine that keeps him around after 2012.