Some Football For Christmas

Dec. 25, 2004

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Oregon State spent just under two hours of a sunny, warm Saturday afternoon at Desert Mountain High School practicing for Tuesday's Insight Bowl against Notre Dame. The Beavers then headed back to their hotel for Christmas dinner, and head coach Mike Riley spoke with reporters after OSU's workout.

(Is the team doing anything special for the Christmas holiday?) 'We're going to have a team Christmas dinner tonight, and we're going to mix in a little bit of a team banquet with it - just our own personal stuff, nothing we'll publicize.'

(After today, are you done hitting in practice?) 'Yeah. Sunday will be all Notre Dame stuff. And we'll have a nice hour review before we go to the stadium for the walkthrough on Monday.' (So you're essentially ready?) 'No. We'll use another day and get ready. We have our regular countdown, and this is what we call Day Three, so we did what we normally do on Day Three today, and then Sunday is Day Two, and then Day One, and then Fun Day after that.'

(Are you pleased with the way this team has prepared both in Corvallis and after arriving in the Phoenix area?) 'Absolutely. I thought today was a very good practice. I appreciated the detail and the work and the execution and the focus throughout the practice. That's what you worry about in a deal like this that lasts 15 practices. You've got to have everything leading into the game the way you want it with the momentum and the detail of practice and not lose that edge. You've just got to reach the right edge, so it's trying to find that fine line. But I feel good about it, becaus I really liked today's work.'

(On offensive lineman Roy Schuening missing Saturday's practice) 'He was just ill.'

(Have quarterback Derek Anderson and defensive end Bill Swancutt been the offensive and defensive pillars of this year's team?) 'Football is the ultimate team game so it takes everybody, but those guys have certainly played their parts very well.'

(Cornerback Brandon Browner hasn't had the numbers this year that he had in 2003, but he feels he's improved as a player. Would you agree that he's made strides this year?) 'Yes. And I think with corners, its funny - sometimes the more recognition you get, the less chances you get the next year and there's a reason for that. I think actually that he's learning all the time and still has a great opportunity to grow.'

(Jonathan Pollard was the next guy in line in Oregon State's 'Linebacker U.' reputation, but he's been hurt and some things haven't worked out that way. He looks at this as a huge game for him and a chance to shine - what kind of player is he and what kind of year has it been for him?) 'I think it's been an up-and-down year for him because of his injuries, there's no doubt about that. But he's played a major role through his years at Oregon State, and he's got a chance to top it off with a big bowl game.'

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