Riley Meets The Press
Oct. 12, 2004
(On Oregon State in general after the bye week) 'The bye week came at a good time for us, probably more mentally than physically. At the same time, we've got a couple of guys who might have a chance to play who wouldn't have last week. (Tight end) Joe Newton is one of those, I know you'll ask about him. And (linebacker) Chaz Scott had a sprained ankle and I think that week will have been very good for him. Besides that, it started off pretty somber last week and ended up with a good practice on Thursday and a lot of enthusiasm and hopefully a renewed fresh start into the second half of the season.'
(Is it hard to tell where Oregon State is emotionally right now? Does this seem like a new start to the season?) 'I don't know that for sure; that's probably wishful thinking that that's the way it would be. But I would think, knowing this team, that we'll fight back from our start.'
(The next three games all appear winnable - if you can do that, can you sell it to your team that there's still time to salvage the season?) 'Absolutely. Every game is its own little universe, and everybody feels better after a win, so if we can build on that ... but it takes the first win to do that, and this will be awfully tough because the Huskies are like us in a lot of ways. They've played a lot of good football and had some very close games against some good teams, and they will be very, very hungry like we are for a conference win. It's all going to be proven on the field. I think this game is its own little deal, and then we'll worry about the rest as they come.'
(Washington has struggled, but what have you seen about the Huskies that concerns you?) 'They've given up big plays defensively, but they have good people on defense. I think that's been like we have; we've played a lot of good defense but we've given up a lot of big plays, so there are a lot of similarities. They have capabilities for sure on offense and in the kicking game, so I think it will be an overall football game that we'll have to play. They provide some versatility offensively that we'll have to adjust to. It's just going to be a matter of how each team plays; that's going to be it.'
(Given the atmosphere at Reser Stadium near the end of the loss to California, is it maybe not a bad thing to be on the road this week?) 'I don't know; that's probably a very good point. I don't think about that kind of stuff very much, so I would say this is just a good game in an environment and a place where the Beavers haven't won much in the past. It provides a lot of big opportunities and a tremendous challenge for us to go win this game for a variety of reasons, and one of those is just for the good of this football team and to play good football. And the other one is the fact that we've got to break into Husky Stadium and start winning.'
(Is it harder to prepare for a team that's been using a variety of quarterbacks?) 'I think it is. As you go into the season, you get a pretty good identity for what teams do and what people do, and you almost have two different styles of game with a team like this. It takes a little more concerted effort in the preparation. As far as the breakdown for the coaches, that's one thing; then the actual preparation by the players because you've got the gamut from the dropback pass to the option that you've got to be ready for.'
(Did you see anything in the tape of Washington defense in its loss to UCLA that you can exploit?) 'That's the thing I'm talking about - the big plays in the game. Throughout, you've seen some of that, and UCLA was very, very good that day. It was a pretty exciting running game for them and it was a good football game. It's kind of interesting, because we obviously need to run the ball a lot better than we have been, but we have to be able to do it. I don't know what stock that all plays in preparation for this game, but it's an important factor for us regardless of the opponent.'
(Washington has named Cory Paus as its starter at quarterback with Isaiah Stanback as the backup, but do you get ready for both of them this week?) 'Absolutely. We have to be ready; we can't get caught without preparation for either guy.'
(Quarterback Derek Anderson seemed to take the loss to California harder than just about anyone. How's he doing and how have you handled him?) 'We've handled him pretty much like we always have. He is - like all our guys are pretty darn close to the coaching staff. Basically, our job is to help them grow and help them on the football field, so this is all part of that - for him, as it is for every other guy on our football team. We don't have an atmosphere of being mad at guys or eliminating guys. We're trying to build them up and coach them and form a disciplined, consistent program. How we treated Derek was never going to be a factor regardless of the outcome of the game, except that the point is, it was hard for everybody but being the quarterback of this team, you're going to take a little more. I think he's headed into this week like everybody - with higher expectations and hopefully a little bit of a fresh start.'
(How can Oregon State's receivers help Derek Anderson in the passing game?) 'It's just a matter of work. Besides Mike (Hass), we don't have anybody who has played a lot of football for us. There are always a number of factors when games aren't going well - the quarterback can have a bad game, the receivers don't get open or get off the line of scrimmage, or somebody doesn't block somebody. Those were probably all factors in some of the stuff that went on in the last game; none of it was very good. What we try to do is improve in all those things. I think we took a step back in some of that in the last game and we were disappointed in that, so we worked on it.'
(What have the factors been in Oregon State's defense not putting up numbers similar to the last few years?) 'The biggest thing is that we seem to have given up more big plays than in the past. Those big plays mount up fast. Why have we done that? We've been fooled a couple of times. We've been out of position a couple of times. There were a couple of plays in the Cal game that were bang-bang plays that were good offensive plays or defensive plays. I think there was a post pattern, a long one down here where (cornerback) Brandon Browner was in good shape, we've seen him recover on the post route so many times and make that same play but he just missed - that was pretty good football by all concerned; Cal made the play on that and we didn't. I think it's a combination of things, but I would suspect that overall that's been the biggest factor in the defensive numbers not being the same, is that there have been more big plays.'
(Any thoughts of changing Oregon State's defensive scheme to get more pressure on opposing quarterbacks?) 'There's a lot of thought on the best way to pressure the quarterback, and I think our coaches do a very good job with our pressure game. And you have to look a little bit at what we're dealing with protection-wise; both Cal and Arizona State did a pretty good job of keeping people in and finding the one-on-one and making that pay. Arizona State wasn't prolific throwing the ball, but made some plays in the red zone that were good, and we already went through what happened with the Cal game. We continue to examine the best ways to get heat, and we also have to play our game. We have to be able to mix our base and be able to play base defense and then add pressure to it, and I'm confident we'll be able to find that.'
(The last few years, Oregon State has had some players talk big before the Washington game. Have you told players to tone it down this week?) 'We've talk continually about that. Sometimes we don't do as good a job as I would like, but overall I don't think we'll have any problem with that. As we've found out, talk is cheap.'
(On playing at Husky Stadium this year when Washington is struggling) 'They obviously have a great tradition and have had a lot of good football teams up there. That's one of the main factors in Oregon State's record in the past. Now we've got two teams that are proud teams of where the programs have been and where they need to be, so I think it makes for a very interesting matchup.'
(On defensive end Bill Swancutt) 'Bill has still had his share of the pressures (on quarterbacks). And you have to know that with the attention he gets, whether it's an extra man in the form of a back or an extra man in the form of a lineman, that join in the protection - he sees a lot of that. As our other guys develop and get to be better players along the front and make more plays, then Bill will enter more one-on-ones with more opportunities to make big plays. I think Sir Henry Anderson and Ben Siegert and Alvin Smith have all played some very good football, but without Dwan Edwards - who you could not single block in there - that's a factor.'