Beavers Arrive In Phoenix For Insight Bowl

Dec. 22, 2004

PHOENIX, Ariz. - Oregon State arrived in Phoenix on Wednesday to continue preparations for the Insight Bowl against Notre Dame on Dec. 28. After the Beavers were greeted by a long line of Fiesta/Insight Bowl staff and volunteers, OSU head coach Mike Riley talked with reporters.

(On the reception OSU received at the airport - it looked like people were happy to see the Beavers again) 'The Beavers are happy to be here, for sure. It's really great for our program to play in a bowl game. There are many reasons, but this is obviously a great site for us. It's an area we're somewhat familiar with because we're down in our conference territory. This is a great venue to play a game in this time of year, and I really appreciate the reception we got and the hospitality we've received.'

(On OSU being in a bowl game in the Phoenix/Tempe area for the third time in five seasons) 'Our fans travel very well, and I think they're excited about being with our team. As the end of our year unfolded, it was exciting. We could all feel the wave of enthusiasm from our people. I think we're not spoiled by too many past years of bowl games yet, so I think they'll be very excited to be down here.'

(The last time OSU played Notre Dame here in the 2001 Fiesta Bowl, the Beavers had great success. How do you deflect the pressure to duplicate what happened the last time?) 'Obviously, there are a lot of new faces. It does give something a little extra to the ballgame, for sure. I think it's all pretty neat. It's a rematch of sorts; it was a big, big game and it's a great part of the recent memory of Oregon State football. This gives us a chance to have that rematch and to play again, and I think it adds to the overall game, which is already a good one. I think it's a great matchup; I'm excited to play this team.'

(You have quite a few players from Arizona on your roster. Does it help to play here and let local players see your program?) 'Any time you get to play in a situation like this, wherever you go, people take a look at you. A big part of that, for us, is we have something of a recruiting base here, so this is a chance to bring our stuff here to Arizona so people can take a closer look at it.'

(Your counterpart spoke of how it was nice for Notre Dame to get out of the 'fishbowl' of South Bend - what's the mindset of your team coming into this game? Ready to go? Want to enjoy the experience or play right away?) 'Bowl games have a process to them. Obviously, the date is important as to how that process is completed. If it's really soon after the end of your regular season, like we had a year ago, that's a different process. This, we had a little more time. I think our kids were very glad to get on that plane today, to have a change of venue, because we have been there for a while practicing, school has been out, so now they get to change the climate and change where they're staying. I think they're very excited about this travel day and arriving here. I think the reception is fun - to go through the gauntlet of people out there, we really appreciate that. This is the next step in this process of the bowl game, so now we're heading into our five-day countdown to the game and we'll look forward to all of that process.'

(Can you compare Oregon State's past month to what Notre Dame has been dealing with for the past month?) 'I think our situation has been a little more stable. People ask me how does that affect us - it doesn't at all. They're the ones who have to deal with their situation. They have had some major wins. When you look at their game film, as we have, and watch them beat Michigan and Michigan State and Tennessee, you can't help but notice this is a good football team and we expect them to bring their best stuff, so we have to bring ours. In that manner, it should be a great matchup.'

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