Villamin sees Oregon State's receivers on the right track
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) Oregon State receiver Jordan Villamin started developing his rapport with quarterback Darell Garretson last season, when Garretson had to sit out a year as a transfer from Utah State.
''We've been working out since he got here last year, so we've had that connection, we just couldn't capitalize on it because he couldn't play,'' Villamin said about the junior newcomer. ''This (spring) is the first time he's really taken control of the offense and played, and you can see what he can do out there. It's really nice.''
The Beavers finished last season ranked last in the Pac-12 in passing yards per game at just more 159, while the team tried to break in three inexperienced quarterbacks. Oregon State rotated through true freshman Seth Collins along with Marcus McMaryion and Nick Mitchell, none of whom had ever seen a snap in college.
Collins had seven starts while Mitchell started five, necessitated in part by Collins' late-season knee injury. McMaryion took over in the finale. The Beavers finished 2-10 for Gary Andersen's first year as head coach, Oregon State's first in a new system after the pro-style offense favored by previous coach Mike Riley.
''It was just a tough season, nobody was really on point with everything,'' Villamin said. ''Obviously it helps to have someone who knows what they're doing out there, like have a seasoned vet. But we can't go out there and think `Just because he's young, he can't do anything.'''
McMaryion has been in the mix with Garretson this spring, but Garretson was impressive in the annual spring game on Saturday. McMaryion and freshman early enrollee Mason Moran also saw snaps.
Garretson completed 21 of 32 attempts for 263 yards and three touchdowns. He hit freshman Trevon Bradford with a 9-yard pass to cap the scrimmage at Reser Stadium, handing the victory - based on a points system for certain accomplishments, like sacks - to the offense.
Andersen said there may be a decision made about the quarterback situation later this week, when the Beavers wrap up their spring camp.
''I think by the end of spring we'll be able to make an announcement, at some point, potentially next week, and we'll just get it over with and move forward,'' Andersen said.
Villamin led the Beavers last season with 44 catches for 660 yards and five touchdowns. Victor Bolden, now a senior, caught for 461 yards and three touchdowns while also spending time on special teams, where he was Oregon State's go-to on kick returns with 580 yards and a score.
For Saturday's spring game Bolden watched from the sidelines in shorts after taking on a big role in last week's scrimmage on the road in Hillsboro, Oregon, just west of Portland.
Villamin caught four passes for 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns during the game. Sophomore tight end Noah Togiai caught seven passes for 107 yards.
''We're going to use all of the weapons we have, because Darell can throw the rock any time,'' Villamin said. ''He likes to throw the ball.''
The group got a surprising addition last week when Andersen announced that Collins would be re-joining the Beavers - as a receiver.
Collins had requested a transfer and signed a non-binding financial aid agreement with Northern Illinois, but he remained enrolled at Oregon State. He was not allowed to join spring football, but he'll work his way back to the program.
Collins, known for his speed and athleticism, saw time at receiver last season during the Civil War.
Andersen said he saw improvement from receivers in the spring game, a good step moving forward.
''It's amazing when you think you can get the ball when it's coming your way, you gain some confidence as an offense. It makes the offensive line better, it makes the quarterback better, the receivers better,'' Andersen said.