Marcus McMaryion says he is ready to dive into Fresno State’s offense – and there is a lot to digest before he can compete to be the Bulldogs’ starting quarterback.
There are groupings and formations, motions and shifts, run- and pass-game concepts, and how they are packaged and communicated. The verbiage. The signaling. The checks.
That is where it will start for McMaryion, the former Dinuba High star who is in the process of transferring back home after spending the past three seasons in the Pac-12 at Oregon State.
I’m just excited to play for the Valley and do well.
Quarterback Marcus McMaryion, who is transferring to Fresno State from Oregon State
“Obviously, the position is not going to be handed to me,” he said. “I’m going to have to go out there and prove myself, but I’m excited to just get out there and start playing.”
It could be another day, and maybe two, before he is in the meeting room or on the practice field with offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer and with Chason Virgil, Jorge Reyna and the other quarterbacks.
McMaryion, who turned in his final coursework Sunday to graduate from Oregon State, has been waiting for his grades to be posted so he can get his transcripts and other information to Fresno State’s admissions department.
With NCAA rules and the recruiting calendar in a dead period, there is no avenue to a head start, no sneak peek at a playbook.
Coach Jeff Tedford and the Bulldogs aren’t even allowed to discuss McMaryion, his prospects, how they plan to divide reps, or any of the challenges for a new but talented quarterback joining the group less than a month before they open the season Sept. 2 against Incarnate Word.
“It’s kind of a headache now, but it will be worth it in a couple of days,” McMaryion said.
How, as well as when, that competition will be joined remains a question.
Virgil, who emerged from spring practices as the No. 1 quarterback, has maintained that edge through the first part of fall camp and was solid in the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage. Working primarily with the No. 1 offense, he led six touchdown drives. Reyna, a junior college transfer, has gained ground since the spring, but his reps could be reduced as McMaryion gets up to speed and gains a familiarity with the receivers, running backs and tight ends.
That chemistry has been developing with Virgil and Reyna since spring and over the summer through player-run practices and in strength and conditioning sessions.
I’m going to have to be patient with myself and not just jump ahead without completely understanding everything.
“I have faith in my athletic ability and skill set to go out there and perform,” said McMaryion, who started six games at Oregon State last season, including victories over Arizona and over rival Oregon in the Civil War.
“But I’m going to have to be patient with myself and not just jump ahead without completely understanding everything. I’m going to grow and progress at my own speed, so it’s really up to me how much time I want to put in off the field and how quickly I really want to get involved in this competition.”
Very quickly would be a safe assumption. “I’m not trying to waste any time,” McMaryion joked.
The quarterback, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, said he is happy to be back home and joining a number of Power 5 conference-level players returning to the Valley. Tedford already has added graduate transfer cornerback Johnny Johnson (Central High and UCLA), wideout Michiah Quick (Central and Oklahoma) and running back Romello Harris (Tulare and Washington State).
At Oregon State, McMaryion gained something none of the quarterbacks in the Bulldogs’ program has – a victory as a starter over a Football Bowl Subdivision team. But he was in and out of the lineup in his two seasons, playing in seven games with one start as a redshirt freshman in 2015 and eight games with six starts as a sophomore last year. He was beaten out for the 2017 starting job in fall camp by junior college transfer Jake Luton.
In his career, McMaryion has completed 54 percent of his passes (128 of 237) for 1,689 yards with 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions. His passing efficiency rating is 122.44.
“It’s great just being around my family, and the fact that they can drive to the games,” he said. “I have so many family members that weren’t fortunate enough to make it up to Oregon to watch me play so it’s just really convenient for them, all my family and friends.
“I’m just excited to play for the Valley and do well.”
Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Saturday, Aug. 19: Scrimmage/Fan Appreciation Day (only practice open to public)
Saturday, Sept. 2: Opener vs. Incarnate Word, 7 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium
Check out our daily fall camp highlights, including video, at www.fresnobee.com/
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The Bee’s first Fresno State football preview magazine, included in the Aug. 31 edition of The Bee