OSU Approaches Bowl With A New Attitude

Dec. 28, 2000

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

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

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

'It's a bigger game,' Moala said. 'The main thing is the attitude, with thecoaches and the players. We're going to get free time, but at the same time thecoaches 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 OSUprepares for perhaps the school's biggest football game ever. A year ago, theBeavers had already breathed relief at ending their string of 28 straight losingseasons, they arrived in Waikiki ready to partake of their reward for OregonState's best football season in almost three decades.

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

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

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

'We went to Hawaii and got embarrassed last year,' Allen said. 'We weren't therementally 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 wereready to have fun.

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

That doesn't mean the Beavers won't have a good time, it just means theyhope it will be a case of delayed gratification.'Here, the good time is when we win,' OSU tight end Marty Maurer said. 'The goodtime we have is going to be in January and February when you can sit back andreflect on the season you've had and the bowl game. That's our focus, and Ithink we've been pretty focused this week.'

NOTES: Oregon State worked out for two hours Thursday at Scottsdale CommunityCollege 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'sdifferent 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 aroundbetter, there's less banging. It's been nice here.'

With game day drawing nearer, the schedule of activities surrounding theFiesta Bowl is picking up. On Friday, both teams will hold their media days atSun Devil Stadium, that will be followed by the Kickoff Luncheon. On Satuday, itwill be the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Each year, the bowl invites a pair of pastHeisman Trophy winners to ride in the parade and this year's honorees will beOregon State's Terry Baker, the 1962 winner, and Notre Dame's John Lattner, the1953 winner.

By Kip Carlson
Oregon State sports information

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