Riley To Call The Plays For Oregon St. This Season

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His headphone won't be just for listening in this season.

Since he did so in the spring scrimmage, and most of the time in pre-season practices, its not a surprise that as Oregon St. transitions from season preparation to game preparation mode for the season opener against Nicholls St., Beavers' coach Mike Riley has made it official that he will resume the play calling duties this season.

Riley called the shots for the offense during the run from 2003 thru 2008, when Oregon St. went to and won 5 bowl games in 6 years, but more recently turned play calling over to quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf. Langsdorf had the advantage of a higher and broader field of view, not to mention replay monitors, in the press box, but never seemed to get a feel for mixing up plays. Predictability led to long down and distance situations, and the situation was exacerbated by third down calls that couldn't succeed even if executed correctly.

It's always a controversial point, whether the head coach has, or should have, enough else on his plate that he is too busy to take on the sizable task of play calling. At the same time, whomever on the team is best at it needs to be calling the plays to give the team the best chance for success. It can work either way, and both of the Beavers' I-5 neighbors are having success with the head coach calling the plays from the sideline.

Oregon has had unprecedented success with Chip Kelly calling his own plays, but their latest rise actually began with Kelly calling the plays as the offensive coordinator. And Washington coach Steve Sarkisian has overseen the resurrection of the Huskies by transforming their offense into one of the more formidable ones in the Pac-12. However, he's also taken some criticism for their defensive struggles under the theory that he was too busy to be involved enough with the defense.

We may not see a major difference against the Colonels, whom the Beavers should be able to beat on relative talent and depth without relying heavily on scheme. And Riley will likely want to hold some plays in reserve for the more challenging opponents to come in the opening month, rather than putting them on the scouting video right away if he doesn't need to.

We also won't know how the season will turn out for Oregon St., who most think will be fortunate to escape the cellar of the Pac-12 North this season. But at least we know that Riley will be an active participant in how the Beavers get to wherever they arrive at this season.

Andy_Wooldridge@yahoo.com

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