Riley Meets The Press
Aug. 25, 2003
(How do you prepare to play a season-opener against a team that you don't have a lot of information about because of Sacramento State's coaching change?) 'You kind of have to basically be prepared for anything. You guys in the media help us out as much as anything with that, because we don't get to scout in any fashion, we don't have any film on what this team is doing, but usually we can find something somewhere about their running four and five wideouts because we've read something about that. But it's not easy, so that's why the foundation you lay has to be laid for the season, and what you know you're going to see and what you might see. It has to be pretty sound in that regard. As that game gets going, there are going to be adjustments for both teams because they really haven't seen us, either. It'll be a very interesting start with two new staffs and programs, in a way. I think the beginning of the game will be an interesting coaching time.'
(What is this time leading up to the first game like for you?) 'It's a very, very exciting time for everybody in football at this time of year. It's also very unique for me to be back here and getting an opportunity to do this again, and having seen in this last six years the growth of Oregon State football and the University in general. It's very, very exciting and I'm very appreciative of this time and opportunity.'
(Do you feel everything is where you wanted it to be at this point?) 'I think that we're ready to play a ballgame. Mentally, the state of the team, the attitude is that we need to be tackling somebody else in another-colored jersey right now and blocking somebody else. As a coach, you always get to this point and want more time; I think that's just the nature of who we are. But more than anything, I'm anxious to see this team go on the field and play and I think we're ready to do that.'
(You're starting a pair of inexperienced cornerbacks with junior Aric Williams and redshirt freshman Brandon Browner. How have they progressed in camp and are you comfortable with them?) 'They have both made outstanding strides since we started practicing in the spring. I think (assistant coaches) Mark Banker and Nigel Burton have done a very good job with these guys, and I think they're also ready to go on the testing ground. You watch football games - I watched Kansas State and Cal - and there are so many plays in a ballgame like that that you just look at the one-on-one going on on the outside and how big a part they played in that game early on, when the game was in the balance, so it's a tremendously challenging position to play and our guys have to come through and play soundly. You're not going to stop every route a guy runs, but you'd sure like to stop the deep ones.'
(What did you think of the new NCAA rules regarding fall camp?) 'I think the new rules are great. I'm not so sure about the first five acclimatization days - I sort of missed the three-day orientation we had with the freshmen; I thought that was good for them and it was good for us. However, this worked fine. I would probably be in favor of the other, but I loved the alternating days of practice where you go two practices one day and one the next - I thought that's a great idea. It can be a very productive time. It doesn't all have to be football practice. If you can use that one day and get more weightlifting in, which is all the better for their bodies - it's all about preparation for the season. Sure, they need to learn a ton of football but they also need to continue to condition their body to go through this time. The seasons now in college football are longer and longer, so I think that added time to both rest and get a little extra conditioning and weightlifting are good. I think that's the way to go. I'm glad they have the rule; I'd like to have done it anyway.'
(On playing Division I-AA teams) 'I think you need a mixture of opponents. I wasn't involved in this scheduling, and when I took this job I didn't care. I didn't have any feeling about it; we're just going to get ready to play the games we have. (Athletic director) Bob De Carolis and I have talked a number of times about future scheduling and a mixture of things, and looking at some other things around the country which I think we'll do at Oregon State. As for the moment, I think it's fine. You see almost every team have a variety of different types of teams and types of levels playing. At this point, I don't have a strong opinion about that or wish we weren't doing it or anything like that. It's just a great opportunity for us to get started, to see where we are and to try to win the game.'
(Pros and cons of playing the opener at home?) 'I think it's great to be starting at home. It makes for a very easy transition into playing ballgames when you can stay right here. But besides that, for those who are traveling they can look at it just the other way - we've got to travel during the season, so it's a good way to get started and get a routine in that regard. But to play at home in front of our fans, I think for this team right now is a good thing.'
(Who impresses you most from Sacramento State?) 'I think their quarterback (Ryan Leadingham) and their receiver (Fred Amey) are really good players. The one thing anybody has to look at, at any level from high school to junior high to college to professional, is production. That's the best predictor of production, is past production. These guys have been productive; he's one of the leading passers around, he's played and he's experienced. The receiver has made plays for them. Now they're going to be in a very wide-open offense; we're obviously going to be in some one-on-one situations where we have to come through, so I'm going to say that's definitely going to be a factor in this ballgame - how we handle their passing game.'
(Against a Division I-AA team, do you think Oregon State is in a position where it has more to lose if you don't look good?) 'I haven't thought about that. I think it's just very important for us to start solidly. I've said that from the beginning, that we need a solid start. We need to play good, efficient football, take care of the football, not have penalties that we can control, and play solidly. Then after that is improvement - you have to get better during the season. Each week it's important for you to do that. If you want to get where you want to go, those are going to be very important for us - to have a solid start this week and then get better.'