Riley Meets the Media: Sept. 8

Sept. 8, 2009

Oregon State head football coach Mike Riley and several players met with members of the media on Tuesday morning in the Valley Football Center. Coach Riley answered questions from the assembled media contingent for approximately 25 minutes. Media represented Tuesday included: Paul Buker, Ken Goe, Mike Tokito and Molly Blue of The Oregonian, Bob Clark of the Register-Guard, Cliff Kirkpatrick and Kevin Hampton of the Gazette-Times, Ron Callan from KPAM 860, Mike Parker and Jon Warren from 1240 KEJO, Casey Grogan of the Official Sports Report, as well as KMTR, KVAL and KEZI.

Head Coach Mike Riley
On upcoming game at UNLV...

'This is going to be a big game. I think UNLV has been on the rise; they had a very good year last year. They've had some big wins and were a few points from being a bowl-eligible team. I've followed their program closely because a good friend of mine is the coach there, Mike Sanford. I know what kind of program he runs and what kind of work they're doing down there. I think we're going into a very competitive situation and it will be a great challenge for our team. Not only the football team we're going to play but the environment, the weather, the time of day, all those things are at least worth thinking about and things you're going to have to overcome to win.'

On first road game of the season...
'It's part of the life in sports. About 50 percent of the time you're traveling and so a lot of your season's success depends on your ability to negate the problems of travel, playing in someone else's park and the crowd. Your ability to do that will really determine your season's success. You have to win on the road. It's a big step for us to be able to try and do that this week.'

On defensive play and not a lot of pressure on the quarterback...
'We didn't blitz a lot but when you look at that: No. 1 Portland State did a nice job of protecting and No. 2, Drew Hubel did a good job of getting rid of the ball. That's how sacks are prevented. It's the efficiency of getting the ball out of your hands. Sometimes even with a guy free to the quarterback, unblocked, if the quarterback is capable he can get the ball out and save a sack and possibly make a play. I think Portland State did a good job of that. I thought we had good effort. I think our sacks are going to come, I think that's going to be a good group.'

On the Rodgers brothers and the need for a third weapon against UNLV...
'We would like to be balanced and we never really got into much of a rhythm that way in the game. It was funny that way, you get a big play for a touchdown and you can't follow it up with a series right away. And frankly, Portland State's time of possession was greater than our's in the game. We never got to do things with the tight end that hopefully we can do and the slot backs didn't get going like we'd like them to do. In order for us to be our best we'd like to be balanced in our production and then after that we don't care who scores our touchdowns ... as long as we score.'

On the depth in the receiving corps...
'This is an outstanding receiving corps; if they could stay together for a couple of months that (the depth) would be great. There are three people (at split end) who can play when Darrell (Catchings) comes back, and with the play that we're getting from Damola Adeniji and I think Geno Munoz is a good player. The slot back position situation is good with Casey Kjos, Jordan Bishop and Aaron Nichols, who is a good player. Then with James (Rodgers), (Marcus) Wheaton, and Taylor Kavanaugh outside at Z it's a good looking picture. It's just that picture hasn't been complete for a long time. It will come. There will be a time when we have that. Obviously for us to be as good as we can be we need that sooner rather than later. It's really exciting. Besides Damola (Adeniji) and Taylor, everyone will be back.'

Offensive Guard Gregg Peat
On playing UNLV this weekend...

'I watched a little bit of UNLV yesterday, our day off. They're very good defensively. They're a step up from Portland State. They have some big guys up front, good D-line, fast linebackers. It's going to be a challenge.'

On true freshman Michael Philipp starting against Portland State...
'He did really well. He did really well for a freshman. He stepped up. He had to. I'm looking forward to seeing him get better every week just like the rest of us.'

On playing in Las Vegas and the possible distractions that go along with that...
'It's a business trip through and through. Our coaches aren't going to let us out of their sights for a second. So you don't have to worry about anything like that. As far as Vegas in general, the only thing of concern which really isn't a concern because we practiced all summer in the heat, is the heat. It's nothing that we're not used to and we're looking forward to a new environment.'

Flanker James Rodgers
On the first road game at UNLV...

'Probably the biggest adjustment is just playing on the road. That's probably the most difficult thing for teams. It's very different going into in as an away team to play because the atmosphere, the crowd is not with you. I've just kind of learned over the years that every away game we go on I view it as that's our home team. That the crowd is cheering for us even when they're not.'

Tailback Jacquizz Rodgers
On finally breaking a 'long' run...

'Well, that was a semi-long run. It was one of my longest runs since I've been at Oregon State. It just felt pretty good to kind of get the burden off my back a little bit since I've been trying to break one like that for a while now.'

'Sam' Linebacker Keaton Kristick
On opening up the defensive playbook against UNLV...

'It was kind of a vanilla defensive philosophy the first game. We're excited to mix things up a little bit. We won't show too much but the first couple of practices it will just be getting to know who they are on offense and once we know who they are as an offense there may be a lot of attacking but I know they spread the ball out and have a bunch of empty sets and stuff of that nature. It's going to be getting to know our opponent and if we feel comfortable we'll blitz them a little bit.'

Safety Lance Mitchell
On the UNLV win against Arizona State last year...

'They have playmakers. We have to come to play. I feel like our secondary, we are a bunch of playmakers. We just have to come to play and know what to expect. They played a good game against ASU (last year) and I think we just have to come ready.'

On the late night start...
'I like the early games. You can get kind of antsy before the games and when the game come quicker it's easier. Playing in Las Vegas in that heat, we have to be thankful it's a little bit later, give it a chance to cool off a bit. It doesn't matter to me. Game day is game day.'

Quarterback Sean Canfield
On the first play touchdown pass to James Rodgers...

'I knew the play prior (to the game) and thought about it going into the game. We'd run it through our walk through throughout the week and I actually hit the angle to Jordan Bishop or Casey (Kjos) in practice but in the game I did the play action to Quizz (Jacquizz Rodgers), and the safety bit on it. It really wasn't a great play action like we stress in practice but he came down and I just threw it over the top.'

On Damola Adeniji's catches during the game...
'I love throwing to Damola. He's the only 6-foot-4 receiver who I think I've ever had the luxury of throwing to, either in high school or in college. He's a guy with great hands, and like I said is a big target. I think there were two plays that I hit him, I think it was the same drive or back-to-back drives, on third down plays and he made good adjustments on the deep out. It's actually a read out that we read and connected on. Damola has had a great camp and has proven himself.'

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