Sean Mannion will start at quarterback when Oregon State takes on California on Saturday night, coach Mike Riley said after Wednesday’s practice.

Mannion gets the nod over Cody Vaz, who injured his left ankle last Saturday at Stanford and has not been able to practice this week.

“I hope he can still play (as the backup), but starting is in question,” Riley said. “Right now there’s no decision. Sean is playing and starting. That’s probably where we are going to go.”

It will be Mannion’s first start since Oct. 27 at Washington. He lost the starting job after throwing four interceptions.

Starting right guard Grant Enger hasn’t practiced this week with an ankle injury suffered at Stanford and is doubtful for Saturday. Walk-on sophomore Derek Nielsen will take his place.

“Grant is making progress but I don’t know if there’s been enough for him to play,” Riley said.

Nielson has been the backup for each line position. With Nielson starting, the backups are now Roman Sapolu at center and guard, Josh Mitchell at guard and Gavin Andrews at both tackle spots.

Outside linebacker D.J. Alexander was limited in practice again, but is doing more as his injured ribs heal. He’s expected to play, Riley said.

Cliff Kirkpatrick covers Oregon State sports for the Gazette-Times. He can be reached at

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