Riley Meets the Press: Oct 6

Oct. 6, 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, 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 KMTR, KVAL and KEZI.

Head Coach Mike Riley

On Stanford...
'It looks like another tough game. I think all the conference games are going to be like this. We're looking at a well-balanced offense obviously geared toward the running game but very effective passing the ball. I think they're the top passing efficiency team in the league and they're leading the league in rushing. (Toby) Gerhart's leading the league individually in rushing. Defensively they're playing very aggressive. They have good people up front, they get a lot of mileage out of the four-man rush and you see a lot of zone blitzes after that so you get a mixed bag there that you have to be able to handle. Then you add the return game to all of this and you have a full game of stuff to get ready for. It's a good-looking football team.'

On the importance of both teams trying to establish the run...
'I think it's big time. We're not to their level at this time running the football but we could be mirror images in that regard of what we'd like to be able to do. Their efficiency in the passing game comes from the fact that their quarterback (Andrew Luck) is a good one. He's young, so we'll see him for a long time, but they also force teams in the box to try to stop (the run) so you get a lot of one-on-one passing and he's hitting them. He's got a favorite receiver, (Ryan) Whalen, who's a nifty, smarty, cagey, kind of guy who gets open and makes plays. They've got some really good weapons and they use them very well.'

On QB Andrew Luck...
I think that he is a really talented young quarterback that we're going to see for a few years. He appears to be poised, with a good arm and quick release. He's very efficient. We've got our hands full because of the running game and his efficiency.'

On Stanford Challenges...
'Stanford is truly a power running team and we've seen everything but that so far. We've seen a lot of spread and shotgun so we're going to have to play very physically and fast. They're going to be big. We're going to have to use our quickness, our rotation of people, and really stay after it; really run to the football, and be very gap-oriented responsibility-wise. We gave up some big plays to them last year just being out of position, so the positioning in the running game and the tenacity of the defense and the combination of the two is going to be a major factor. We have to get people to the ball because this guy is hard to take down one-on-one. So the more people we get to the party the better we'll be.'

On Sean Canfield's Play...
'I think Sean (Canfield), last week, really played physically. He threw some balls and took some hits and I think he made decisive throws. I think we did a better job of getting a hat on a hat and giving him a little more time to make throws but I think his decisiveness was the biggest difference last week.'

On James Rodgers' growth as a receiver...
'James Rodgers is the most conscientious guy. Since he started playing receiver when he came here, he has just tried to learn and work very hard at it. He's become a terrific comeback runner and obviously with his speed he's a good fade runner. He ran a little stutter for a big play in the game last week and got separation from the defender. He's great with bubbles and screens and all that. He's become very much just an all-around player, and we're not even talking about his return game, kick return, punt return. He got us going. We finally got a couple good returnable punts last week and he took advantage of that. They were good balls to return and I think he averaged 25 yards per return last week. He is a good story, he has tremendous ability, but is a good story about learning your craft and learning how to play.'

Defensive End Matt LaGrone
On the increased pressure last week against ASU...

'In comes down to being able to play fast and knowing our responsibilities. A lot of the guys on the defensive line didn't play last year, including myself, so we're just getting into the flow of things.'

On Taylor Henry getting the team's only sack despite the increased pressure...
'I actually did give him a hard time because I told him I wouldn't let him come in anymore if I got out of the game and he came in and got a sack on my guy in the first play he got in. We joke about it, but I'm proud of him and I'm glad for him.'

On whether he was used differently at ASU...
'It's all in the game plan that our great coaches draw up week-in and week-out. Sometimes they do things differently but it's all in the same defense and the same scheme. It's just whatever Coach Banker decides to do on that specific day.'

On how being a D-1 basketball player has influenced his ability to play football...
'Basketball is the same as football to me in a lot of ways: footwork, technique, speed and being able to change directions. A lot of the stuff that I learned in basketball helped me a lot when I transferred over to football.'

Linebacker Keaton Kristick
On whether the stinger he suffered at ASU will hold him out this week...

'Hopefully not, but at the same time we have to take every precaution. I don't think I'm going to practice too much this week, try to avoid hitting and what not. I'm going to do what I have to do in the training room and make sure it's not a problem in the future.'

On the defense against Arizona State...
'I think we did pretty well. We started out pretty decent. We got into some tough areas where they were getting penalties and were forced to pass and the running game wasn't really helping too much; we were disrupting it and as the game went on we were controlling the third downs and that really helped us. That didn't really help us out too much at the beginning of the year but as the season goes on I think that should be our strength, the third down, our out down, and we're going to get off the field and give our offense another chance to score.'

On why the defense tends to show vast improvement at this time of year...
'We've been practicing this for a while, whether it was spring or fall camp, we know the defense. What it really comes down to is chemistry; who do you play with, when do we develop that swagger of a defense, that confidence. Whether we play off of each other, that's really what it comes down to, when you have a defense that does that it's really exciting and is fun to play in those games. It was really fun to play in that game against Arizona State and I think we had the confidence that they weren't going to do too much and at the end of the game it helped us out a lot.'

Quarterback Sean Canfield
On the mindset going into the Stanford game...
'It's the same as last week, we want to get a win. It's a big game for us, like every game. I know the team feels real good about the 3-2 mark and not falling back like the last few years. It's a great streak that we broke and we're proud of that.'

On whether the downfield passing game was a result of having more time to pass or him being more comfortable...
'I think it was a combination of both. They showed some one-on-one match ups, which you can go deep on that and get the ball out of your hands quickly. The plays Arizona State runs are similar to some of the stuff that we run, so we were comfortable with that too.'

On his perspective of James Rodgers' touchdown and whether he thought he had control...
'No, I threw it and was surprised that he bobbled it and then was surprised it was called a touchdown. When it was reviewed I went over to the sidelines and Ryan Gunderson was saying how it was probably going to get reversed with how long they were looking at it. From where I was it didn't look like he caught it but I guess he did.'

Running Back Jacquizz Rodgers
On the differences between him and Gerhart...
'This is going to be a great game for both teams. We're some of the top running backs in the Pac-10 so it's going to be a competition.'

On the development of the running game...
'We're getting better every week. We just have to get it rolling. Lately our running game hasn't been too good, but as long as the receivers are stepping up everything will work out well.'

On if it's frustrating not having 100-yard games...
'Well for me, I take it personal. I just have to work harder and do something different in practice whether it's finishing off my runs and things like that. It's a team game, as long as we win everything's good.

Flanker James Rodgers
On whether he felt he was going to have a big game before the game...

'I was just going to play the game. You prepare all week and I felt pretty good about the preparation before last weekend, I had a pretty good game.'

On if he knew he control of the ball for the touchdown...
'Yes, I knew I had it.'

On what he was thinking during the review process...
'I don't even know to tell you the truth. I just know I caught it. I bobbled it a little bit and made a second effort and caught it between my legs.'

On Damola Adeniji's game...
'I think he's been progressing really well, just coming in and making great catches. His preparation from fall camp until here in the season, he's made a tremendous amount of progress.'

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