LOS ANGELES — Oregon State didn’t bring a quarterback to Pac-12 Media Day. Maybe that means nothing. Or maybe it means something that Chance Nolan, after leading the Beavers to a 7-6 record last season and a bowl game for the first time since 2013, wasn’t there as a player rep.

Take coach Jonathan Smith at face value and you could be led to believe Nolan doesn’t have his spot totally locked up yet. The Beaver head coach said Friday they’re “counting” on Nolan to win the starting job, but Smith thinks they have some players who can push him.

“What I love about Chance is how competitive he is,” Smith said. “I think he displays that in his style of play. Being competitive in the pocket but also extending the play, getting some extra yards, gaining first downs. He did have a lot of good games for us. I thought he improved from his first year to this last year. Now he’s headed into Year 3. We’re counting on him taking the next step into being a three-year starting quarterback. He has a skill set of throwing the ball, athletic, competitive.

“I do feel like we’ve got a couple guys in the quarterback room that are going to push him to make him even better. Competitively, anytime someone is pushing you, I think that helps.”

Nolan threw for 2,677 yards and 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions while completing 64% of his throws last season. He was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention after closing the year with a 70.9 QBR (third in the Pac-12) and an 84.7 overall offensive grade from Pro Football Focus (second in the Pac-12).

He opened the season, though, as the No. 2 behind Sam Noyer. The former Colorado transfer drew the start against Purdue but was replaced by Nolan at the half and Oregon State never looked back. With Tristan Gebbia healthy, though, Smith has two guys who have started and played well for him.

“Tristan Gebbia is a guy that he was playing his best football before he took a serious injury the previous year,” Smith said. Gebbia took over late in 2020, starting four games and looking promising in the process. But a serious hamstring injury sidelined him for an extended period of time. He wasn’t ready to roll in fall camp last season. He is now.

“Chance ran with things this last year,” Smith said. “Tristan is back and healthy now. Anxious to see those two go after it.”