A New Attitude

Dec. 28, 2000

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - What's the difference between the 1999 O'ahu Bowl and the 2001 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl for Oregon State?

'The basic difference between here and Hawaii is, we had the sun and the waves there, we have the sun and the cactus here,' OSU linebacker Tevita Moala said.

So there are fewer distractions in Arizona to pull a player's mind from football. But the fifth-ranked Beavers also realize that playing 10th-ranked Notre Dame, plus a New Year's Day game, plus the spotlight of a Bowl Championship Series contest, equals a much more meaningful stage than last season's game at Hawaii.

'It's a bigger game,' Moala said. 'The main thing is the attitude, with the coaches and the players. We're going to get free time, but at the same time the coaches have told us this is the real reason we're here, to get that `W'.'

Putting business before pleasure is a message that has taken hold as OSU prepares for perhaps the school's biggest football game ever. A year ago, the Beavers had already breathed relief at ending their string of 28 straight losing seasons, they arrived in Waikiki ready to partake of their reward for Oregon State's best football season in almost three decades.

'I think we learned a lot of lessons last year,' OSU center Chris Gibson said. 'Going to a bowl game for the first time for everybody on the team, it was a real learning experience. Obviously, there are a lot of things we're going to do the same but we don't want to make some of the same mistakes we made last year. That will be a real positive thing this year.

'This year, it's just another business trip. It's just another game we're going to go down and take care of, then go home. I don't think it's as much of a vacation as it was last year.'

The 'vacation' didn't wrap up with a great memory for linebacker James Allen.

'We went to Hawaii and got embarrassed last year,' Allen said. 'We weren't there mentally and physically for our game. This year, it's more of a business trip. It's still part of our season, last year we thought our season was over, we were ready to have fun.

'We still have things to prove this season, we still have plays to make on the field, we still have a point to prove that we can play on this level, and to show that we have to win this game.'

That doesn't mean the Beavers won't have a good time, it just means they hope it will be a case of delayed gratification.

'Here, the good time is when we win,' OSU tight end Marty Maurer said. 'The good time we have is going to be in January and February when you can sit back and reflect on the season you've had and the bowl game. That's our focus, and I think we've been pretty focused this week.'

NOTES: Oregon State worked out for two hours Thursday at Scottsdale Community College with temperatures in the high 60s. It was scheduled to be the Beavers' final practice in full pads.

'The heat's not real bad,' OSU linebacker James Allen said. 'It's different from Corvallis - it's better than the freezing cold, I can say that. Less injuries will occur in the heat, you're more loose, you can move around better, there's less banging. It's been nice here.'

With game day drawing nearer, the schedule of activities surrounding the Fiesta Bowl is picking up. On Friday, both teams will hold their media days at Sun Devil Stadium, that will be followed by the Kickoff Luncheon. On Satuday, it will be the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Each year, the bowl invites a pair of past Heisman Trophy winners to ride in the parade and this year's honorees will be Oregon State's Terry Baker, the 1962 winner, and Notre Dame's John Lattner, the 1953 winner.

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