Riley Meets the Press: Sept. 15

Sept. 15, 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 30 minutes. Media represented Tuesday included: Paul Buker, 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, Brian Brooks and Casey Grogan of the Official Sports Report, as well as KATU, KMTR, KVAL and KEZI.

Head Coach Mike Riley
On the game Saturday against Cincinnati...
'It is a big test. This is a very good football team; it's been a very good program. They've had a super-impressive start. I think they're averaging close to 600 yards a game. They have an outstanding system offensively and they have good people running it. The quarterback is a tremendous operator, (Tony) Pike, and (Mardy) Gilyard is a great talent but they have a lot of guys to go with him too so they are very impressive. It will be a big challenge for us defensively. Then in special teams, kick coverage will be a big factor during the game because their returner, Gilyard, is a really good player. Offensively, we're going to face a very active, confident defense that has done very well early in the year.'

On Sean Canfield's high pass completion percentage...
'There are a couple good things, I hate to talk about it, but we haven't turned the ball over and we're throwing for a high percentage. We, however, in my mind, have sputtered offensively. We haven't been as effective as we can be. That certainly has nothing to do with Sean (Canfield). Sean has made a lot of plays and taken a lot of hits in the last game and still took care of the football and threw for a high percentage. I think he's making good decisions. A lot of the percentage is coming from what great quarterbacks do, people like Tom Brady, and they check the ball down if it's not there. Quizz (Jacquizz Rodgers) catches his share of screens but also is catching a lot of check downs. Those are usually higher percentage plays when you're throwing the ball 10 yards instead of 30 yards so all those things fit. Now if we can just balance things out and do a better job at sustaining and obviously get a better start offensively. We kind of sputtered around for a long time last week before we got it going and that prevented us from having a better lead and doing better in the ballgame and having to come back to win it. There's a lot of things like that that are factors but overall there's some good signs there, the percentage and the ability to check the ball down when it doesn't all look good so that's a positive.'

On the Cincinnati defense...
'What makes their defense difficult is that they are athletic and they play fast. That comes with the confidence of knowing what they're doing. They have been very sound defensively and they have been in situations where they've held teams early, gotten big leads, and then played well consistently throughout. They continue to play through the game. That's a pretty good sign for them. It will be a big challenge for us. They have, I think his name is Curtis Young is a really good pass rusher. They have structurally changed since the last time we played them to more of a 3-4 defense. That fits with the talent that they have and they're doing a nice job with it. Fortunately, we played against it in the first game of the year but it always causes you protection issues, matching up sometimes a back, which you don't necessarily like, or a tight end against a rusher like Curtis Young.'

On fans and the noise at Reser Stadium...
'The crowd noise has increased in Reser and one of the reasons is that we get more people in here. The sight lines of the stadium have always helped the fact that we are pretty much on top of the stadium with our crowd because it is pretty steep on both sides but particularly on the new side, which is a factor. The noise has always been good here and yes the noise can play a factor.'

On the potential of the team...
'I can see a lot of growth potential in our secondary and our defensive front. This defensive front, with the more confidence they get playing, playing faster and using their abilities they'll grow as the season goes. They're a good hard working group that will get better and better. I hope that the secondary is the same way. The safeties and corners who are novices in starting get a test this week. They have a chance to grow. I look at the left side of our line and I love those two guys. The athleticism that Grant Johnson and Michael Philipp have is outstanding. They are prototype-looking guys. Every game is a learning experience for these guys. We traded from Andy Levitre and Adam Speer, two of the most solid players that we've ever had. We have two novices in there but they will grow. Their athleticism will help them one day be really good players. Those are some places where I think our team can really change.'

On the number of touches by Jacquizz Rodgers...
'I love him catching the ball and I live him running for 6.4 average. That's pretty good stuff. We can and will work into more of a rotation and keep him fresher and keep someone else more active than that. I loved that Jovan (Stevenson) went in there and hit a draw for 23 yards that was beautiful. That will probably be good for Quizz and good for our team. Blending those spots is something that we'll have to work on.'

Safety Lance Mitchell
On the challenge of the secondary against Cincinnati...
'It's that same run and shoot offense. Those offenses, they're known to put up a lot of points so I think it's just another one of those games where you have to be familiar with what they're doing and be ready for that pass.'

On the two takeaways at UNLV...
'I'm just out there trying to make plays. They ran an under dig and I'm over top and kind of jumped on the dig as I saw the quarterbacks eyes and was able to step in front of it. I wish I could have stayed on my feet and maybe put some points on the board but I'm happy. That was my first takeaway, so I was excited. The play where I caused the fumble, the dude tried to jump. He tried to jump over (James) Dockery and I didn't know what he was doing and was lucky enough to catch him in midair and dislodge the ball. It was a good takeaway.'

Defensive Tackle Stephen Paea
On the high scoring offense of Cincinnati...
'It's just another football game. The game starts 0-0 and we just have to defend our field. We are going to have our fans here supporting us and we just have to shut up and play hard.'

On not putting up the big numbers yet...
'I just have to play my defense. We have to show up and play hard every down and the stats will take care of themselves later.'

Cornerback Tim Clark
On the challenges for the secondary...
'The level of anticipation is high. You're going against a high-powered offense that has shown on a national stage that they can put up points better than anybody. The level of anticipation is high and we're going to raise our level of play. We're going to elevate and try to rise to the occasion. The stage is set for us to show the nation what the 2009 Beaver defense is about and we plan on doing that.'

Linebacker Keaton Kristick
On facing a spread offense three straight weeks...
'It's nice to be familiar with a certain type of offense, I don't think it's particularly nice to play against spread offenses but I think we're comfortable and we've learned a lot over the past few weeks.'

On the fast break offense of Cincinnati...
'We really didn't expect UNLV to come out the way that they did early. We can really learn from it. We're going to practice going against a two-minute offense this week and that's all you can really do.'

Quarterback Sean Canfield
On the Cincinnati defense...
'They're definitely the best defense that we would have faced. They're a quick defense. The competition is going to step up from last week so we're going to have to be firing from all cylinders.'

On the final drive at UNLV...
'It really started when they had the ball. I told the guys on the sidelines that it was going to be up to us. We had more than enough time on the clock. I just said, `let's assume they score and we'll be down by one and all we need is three points.' Then once we got on the field a few ugly plays, I took a sack which wasn't good, but then we bounced back. It's something that we seem to always be able to do.'

On Jordan Bishop and his catches late in the game...
'He's probably the best athlete on the team. You saw the play he made over the middle when he got flipped, that was the craziest catch I've ever seen. It's huge for our offense to see a guy like that who's young.'

Slotback Jordan Bishop
On progress in the fall...
'I think I'm a lot further in, especially knowing the offense. I have good mentors like Shane Morales and Casey Kjos has been helping me out a lot.'

On the final drive urgency...
'It was huge. Someone had to step up and make some plays. Sean trusted me over the middle with a pass and we knew we had to get into field goal range, if not score, and Justin (Kahut) did a great job stepping up making that game winner.'

Tailback Jacquizz Rodgers
On the number of touches he's getting...
'After the game you feel a little sore but you prepare yourself during the offseason for this type of thing during the season so I'm good. We have a day off every Monday so I'm good. When you start getting over the 20th carry you get kind of sluggish but you have to fight. '

On controlling time of possession...
'We're going to try and kick the defense off the field and try and score points. It's that simple.'

Flanker James Rodgers
On someone not named Rodgers getting a touchdown...
'In the game against UNLV we had a lot of guys step up. Jordan Bishop and Damola Adeniji, those guys stepped up and made big plays in a long stretch.'

On encouraging each other during the game...
'We just stay encouraging to each other on the sideline. If he (Jacquizz Rodgers) makes a good play or a nice run, I tell him good job and to keep it up. That goes for our other teammates as well. If they make a great catch I tell them `great catch' just like I told Jordan Bishop. It's not just us, we encourage each other as a team.'

On the 2007 game in Cincinnati...
'It's a new year; that was two years ago. It's still with me. I want to go out there and do well. As far as the other teammates, they do too. I know it's going to be a really good focus week for the Beavs.'

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