Beavers Conclude Christmas Eve Workout

Dec. 24, 2004

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Oregon State again practiced at Desert Mountain High School on Friday in preparation for the Insight Bowl against Notre Dame on December 28. Before the Beavers returned to their hotel for Christmas Eve dinner, head coach Mike Riley spoke with reporters.

(On the experience of going to a bowl game and the extra practice for Oregon State's younger players) 'It's a great experience. It doesn't get any better than eating well, staying in a nice place, having good weather and playing football.' (Especially for players who might be getting their first experience traveling with the team?) 'It really is - it's their first trip, so they get in touch with how these things go, how they're supposed to behave on trips, how they handle traveling with the team. It's all good.' (And it leaves them a little-less wide-eyed for a similar experience next year?) 'I think it's all a good experience.'

(How has the practice facility - a Class 5A high school that's less than a decade old - worked out for you?) 'The site is great. They've done a lot of work - they put the field in new a month ago. It's a great setting. All we need are some lines and goalposts and we're fine, but it's very, very well done and all the Insight Bowl people have done a great job with the organization.'

(In practice, the Beavers have seemed like a loose group, like they're having a good time. Is the focus where you want it to be a few days before the game. 'Yes. I think we want to be feeling very good about ourselves right now. We've had a lot of practices; we've just got to keep that edge of playing well right up until the game. That's the key, is to keep preparing. This is like a normal Tuesday today, so we've got the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday games ahead of us. We're in our countdown.'

(Is all your work against Notre Dame's strategy now?) 'No, it's not all Notre Dame. We still are competing against the Beavers at least two periods a day, which is 20 minutes. That's the only way you can really nearly duplicate game speed, is to do that.'

(On being the only head coach among the four at the Insight and Fiesta bowls who will be with the same school when the 2005 season starts) 'Wow, that's strange.' (Feel good about having a secure job?) 'I feel good about that, for sure ... and I used to work for Walt (Harris, the departing Pittsburgh head coach) - when I was a graduate assistant at Berkeley, he was the linebacker coach.'

(Do you feel Oregon State has been slighted at all in Phoenix, with Notre Dame getting all the local attention?) 'No, I would say that's pretty usual. We really don't focus on stuff like that.'

(Does this game help you recruit in Arizona at all?) 'I hope it does. We plan on continuing to recruit this area. If we could get a guy a year out of here, it would be a good thing. This can't hurt, for sure.'

(The weather okay? Need to be warmer?) 'No, it's just right. It's very good football weather. It's like Oregon in the springtime. Or it's like Oregon in October, crisp.'

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