Riley Meets the Press: Oct. 20

Oct. 20, 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: 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, Jon Warren from 1240 KEJO, Casey Grogan of the Official Sports Report, as well as KMTR, KVAL and KEZI.

Head Coach Mike Riley

On USC...
'Welcome to the second half of the season. We're going to start off with a bang against the Trojans. It'll be a great challenge and I think the week off is probably good for our team at this point. We began practice yesterday with good work. All the parts have to be there in this game coming up; we're going to have to play a great overall game. We have a ton of respect for that program. It'll all be there for us and it'll be a tremendous challenge and a great opportunity for the Beavers.'

On whether winning at ASU for the first time in 40 years helps at USC...
'I think it would be great for our team. If you're going to have a good season you've got to win your share of games on the road, so it's always a big factor and the fact that we've done that a couple times this year and have had a little bit of a string going on the road, I think that's a good sign for your team. You've got to make it come to life every time you do it and it's always a new game. My point to our team is that we have to play a very good football game, you have to have poise and confidence and you have to finish in the game. We need to keep getting better and we need to take it up a notch each time we play and at this point in the season that improvement will dictate the outcome of the year.'

Assessment of the first half of the season...
'The thing that I like the most about the first half of the season is that it appears that we've gotten better in the last two games, that we've played better football, we've played better in all phases. We've been challenged with great returners, we've played more efficiently and more decisively and faster on offense. We ran the ball better in the last game, we've played better defense, our rush defense is starting to get to where we need it to be.'

On Matt Barkley...
'I really thought he played a good game last week. I was very impressed with his ability, with his arm, and with his poise. I thought that he handled some situations where it looked like he might get sacked; he hung in there and made good throws down the field. He looks like the real deal and his progress through the season has been evident.'

Injury Update...
'Ryan McCants will be a full-fledged back-up running back for us this week and that's a good thing. I think that we've found out that Anthony Watkins shoulder that he hurt during practice (prior to the Stanford game) will probably keep him out two more games. That's too bad because he was playing a big role on special teams and he's had bad luck with injuries. There is no change with Darrell Catchings; he will not be ready in the foreseeable future.'

On key matchup in game (upfront)...
'There is a key matchup offensively and that's blocking them. They are really good up front, the teams that they have beaten, they overwhelmed up front. You have to have a mixture of things; you have to find a way to run the ball, throw the ball and you have to make quick decisions. There is no holding the ball for very long against this team. They are very talented up front and they do a great job with pressure. They have a mixture of coverages behind it so you don't always get the same thing. So the recognition of coverage and the ability to get open by the receivers and the ability of the line to get on a guy and stay on him; those are all major factors but it'll start with that whole thing up front. And if you flip it over to defense it'll start with stopping or controlling at least the run. As it always does with the Beavers this is one of those games like Stanford where if you don't do that then you're going to be in for a long day.'

Safety Lance Mitchell

On playing in Los Angeles...
'That's always fun, going back home, seeing the family, it's always fun. But you kind of have to hold that back until after the game, you have to take it as a business trip and try to go down there to get the win.'

Importance of winning at USC...
'You want to play against the best teams in the nation and obviously to play a game here is a good thing but we just have to execute the way we've been executing at home. You always want to be ready; you don't want to let your emotions take control. You want to play against the best to be known as one of the best.'

Defensive End Ben Terry

On whether beating USC last year affects the team this year...
'It's a different year. You can't go back and say `Oh last year I did this or I did that.' It's a new year.'

Quarterback Sean Canfield

On this being the biggest test they've faced all season...
'Talent-wise, they're obviously the most talented across the board, defensively and offensively. They have all five-star athletes on defense and all kinds of accolades. From that aspect, I'd probably agree.'

On going to a place that holds bad memories from when he was injured there in 2007...
'It does, I think about it from time to time but as far as the preparation and my focus for the game, it's just treated like any other.'

On the pass rush ability of USC after watching the Trojans on film...
'It's very apparent on film. You watch them and they play with a lot of speed and they're really big. They lead the conference in all kinds of things defensively. It's just going to be a matter of getting rid of the ball quickly and making smart decisions.'

On if OSU being confident or USC having a chip on their shoulder will help more...
'We've gotten them two out of the last three years. I think they know that we always come ready and prepared and ready to go. I don't think they'll take anything for granted. So as far as which is better, I don't know. We don't back down, we're in attack mode just like every other team we've faced. I think considering that we've taken them down twice in the last three years, they're going to want to win.'

On having a break...
'I thought the break came at a good time. We had the chance to rest the guys up a little bit and work on some individual things. Receivers' route running, me taking drops, whatever it is, we had a good three practices last week so were ready to go. Yesterday, felt like I hadn't practiced in a while, it was kind of weird for how often we do practice to take three days off. It was a good break, we're refreshed and ready to go.'

On being injured two years ago and keeping the personal side out of the picture...
'I don't have anything against anyone there. Injuries happen, that's part of the game. That's a part of football. It comes with the territory of playing. The preparation and the focus is just like any other game.'

On getting more ready for this game then others...
'You could say that. Every game I think the week of practice with our team has been outstanding. I don't think that were going to look back and say that this week we practiced harder. I think that definately playing a team like this you have to be on your `A' game. A lot of things have to go right. You have to execute, you can't have a lot of mental mistakes. That just comes with playing a team like USC.'

Offensive Guard Gregg Peat

On whether the Beavers' offensive line can handle the USC defense...
'Obviously they are a really good team. We've grown as an offensive line, but this is going to be our biggest challenge yet, no doubt about it. Their front seven is great, but they were last year, too.'

On what he expects from the USC defense...
'USC's no. 1 goal is to stop the run. Especially after last year, I would assume that they are going to focus on Quizz, and emphasize stopping the run.'

On what the key was last year when OSU beat USC...
'Last year we came out, and executed our plays perfectly. That's what we're going to need to do.'

On which team will be more excited, OSU because it has beaten USC last year or USC looking for payback...
'They are going to be pumped up, but we are too. It's an opportunity for them to get back at us, and an opportunity for us to get on the map.'

RB Jacquizz Rodgers

On USC keying in on Quizz...
'I think we'll have the same game plan as always - just go straight at `em. We've just got to execute and make plays.'

On getting excited to face USC again...
'It's a big game. I'm ready to step up to the challenge.'

On confidence since last year's win over USC...
'It shows us that USC can be beaten. We can't live off of what we did last year though.'

On this USC game being a landmark game...
'We can't lose another game to keep our Rose Bowl hopes alive.'

On whether he will be playing with a chip on his shoulder against USC...
'I run the same way every game. It's not going to change.'

WR James Rodgers

On playing in The Coliseum...
'It's a great place to play. They have great fans, and it's going to be a great challenge.'

On the USC defense...
'They have great cornerbacks, and guys swarming to the ball.'

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