Oregon State's Sean Mannion threw for 4,662 yards and 37 TDs in 2013 -- figures that ranked second and tied for third, respectively, in the nation -- and new coordinator John Garrett will be tasked with getting even better play from Mannion as a senior in 2014.
"His broad knowledge of the game will add to what we are doing at Oregon State," Beavers coach Mike Riley said in a statement. "We have a senior quarterback; we aren't changing everything out under Sean, but my goal is for our offense to continue to grow and evolve, and John will certainly provide that opportunity to do so."
Mannion, who already has graduated, flirted with the idea of turning pro but decided to stay in school; he reportedly was given a third-round grade by the NFL Draft Advisory Board. He should enter the 2014 season as one of the top six or seven quarterbacks nationally but a distinct third in the Pac-12, behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and UCLA's Brett Hundley. Mannion has prototypical size for a dropback passer (6-foot-5, 220 pounds), but he has issues with his decision-making, especially when he is under pressure.
He threw 29 TD passes and three interceptions in the first seven games in 2013, but the competition level increased down the stretch and Mannion struggled mightily, throwing seven TD passes and 11 picks in the final five regular-season games -- all losses to teams ranked at kickoff.
When he has time, Mannion -- while lacking a truly big arm -- is accurate and has good touch. But interceptions have been an issue throughout Mannion's career: He has thrown 46 of them through three seasons, the most of any quarterback returning next season.
Garrett played wide receiver for Riley in 1991 with the San Antonio Riders of the World League, catching 23 passes. He also was on the practice squad and active roster for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1989 and on the practice squad for the Buffalo Bills in 1991. Garrett also went to training camp with the Cowboys in 1988 and with the Bengals in 1990.
This will be his first college job since he worked as Virginia's wide receiver coach from 2004-07.
Oregon State begins spring practice March 31. While Mannion and a solid stable of tailbacks return, Oregon State needs to find a new go-to receiver with the departure of Brandin Cooks and must replace three starting offensive linemen. Only one returning wide receiver caught more than seven passes in 2013, but the Beavers do return their top three tight ends, who combined to catch 84 passes for 11 TDs.