Riley Meets The Press
Dec. 5, 2004
'We are very excited to be playing Notre Dame in the Insight Bowl. This is a great opportunity for our team to get to play in the postseason, to get to play Notre Dame, and to represent the conference in Phoenix. There's going to be a lot said about how this all transpired; I really have no opinion on it whatsover. I said right after the Oregon game that I'm very excited to be going to a bowl game, they'll tell us where to go and we'll be very pleased with it. It's exciting for our team. I think it's great for the Beavers to play five of the last six years in bowl games. It's a great opportunity to practice our young players and get to prepare another game to play with our seniors for their final game. It's just a very, very positive event for us to be involved in.'
(On Notre Dame's place in college football) 'For those of us who have been around a while and have followed football for a while, Notre Dame has a special place in college football. For us to get to play them in this bowl game can be a rather unique opportunity, for sure, because they haven't been on our schedule recently and this is our chance to get to play them.'
(How much did the publicity from beating Notre Dame in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl have to do with a lot of the current Beavers coming to OSU?) 'That's a great point. That was a crossroads game, a monumental game in the recent history of Oregon State football - part of that rejuvenation, for sure, of Oregon State football. That did have an impact on the perception of Oregon State football and where it was headed, I suppose. And all of that affects recruiting.'
(On the mood of the Beavers upon finding they would be in the Insight Bowl rather than the Sun Bowl) 'There was no perceptible change in how I thought they would perceive Sun Bowl or ... I think our guys truly are excited about playing in a bowl game. I think the Sun Bowl was attractive; I think Notre Dame and the Insight Bowl are attractive to our team. Just like all of us coaches, I think the players were excited just to learn where and who they wanted us to play.'
(Is there any doubt in your mind that California is the fourth-best team in the country?) 'That's all so hard to tell. I was a voter in that thing, and I think it's all hard. I don't really have an opinion about that.'
(Do you feel bad for Cal?) 'I'd rather not say. I don't want to comment on it. I have a strong feeling about our conference this year and our place in this deal. I really don't know what it all means. I think it's unfortunate, but ... that's all.'
(A lot of members of Notre Dame's coaching staff were at Stanford with former head coach Tyrone Willingham. How much can you gain from what OSU has done against Stanford the past several years?) 'I think there's going to be some of that, for sure. Bill Diedrick was the (offensive) coordinator at Stanford, he's the coordinator at Notre Dame; Kent Baer was a Pac-10 guy forever, their defensive coordinator, and I think he's the interim head coach right now. I did get to see them play Stanford because we watched that game film in preparing for our Stanford game, and I did see some of their game against Tennessee which was a big win for them, it was on TV. But I didn't really pay a lot of attention to the schemes and what they were doing, but there probably is something there that we can draw from and previous experiences with that staff. It'll be fun. And the big thing about bowl preparation is, it's an extensive period of time - there's not three big days right in front of you that everything has to go in, so you get some time to go through some stuff and prepare for the ballgame. I really like that. Our goal is to play our best game of the year, and we have an opportunity to do that.'
(On OSU's schedule) 'We have mapped that all out, and we had three different possibilities mapped out (depending on which bowl OSU went to). I think this one, we're going to leave on December 21. Christmas in Phoenix.'
(On Notre Dame not having a head coach at the moment - is that an advantage for OSU, or could it work to Notre Dame's favor as an 'us against the world' attitude?) 'There are going to be some psychological, emotional things that we don't know what that means for them. For us, it's just a great opportunity to play a national limelight football game. It's just great to be involved in it, from our vantage point. From theirs, I don't know what it means. Tyrone won't be the head coach of their team, but their systems are all full-speed-ahead. They should not go backwards in regard to that; it shouldn't be a tremendous advantage either way.'
(Would going out on national TV, playing Notre Dame again and only having 30 or 40 yards in penalties do a lot to erase the image the nation got of OSU in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl?) 'I think it's great to go play, and we will continue to work on the identity we're building here. That's what I'll say on that.'