Riley Meets the Press: Oct. 27

Oct. 27, 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 and Molly Blue of The Oregonian, Bob Clark of the Register-Guard, Cliff Kirkpatrick 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 TE Joe Halahuni ...
'Joe obviously was making plays in the game. It also has to do with the coverage we were seeing, and Sean's (Canfield) ability to read the coverage and get the ball to the right guy. It's a good thing to see. We've stressed balance, not only run-pass balance, but also a balance with the receivers.'

On looking at positives from the USC game...
'We have to acknowledge the good, and correct the bad. We lost the game, and we're bitterly disappointed with that, but what it boils down to is acknowledging the good, and fixing the bad.'

On the offensive line's game at USC...
'I think they've made steady growth. Mike Cavanaugh is doing a great job with them. Our sack totals are down for two reasons: our line is doing better, our tight ends are involved, our backs are involved, and our quarterback is being more decisive. The fact that we are getting pretty good balance in the run-pass, and we have some versatility is a tribute to the work that the line has done. We expect continued improvement from here on out.'

On Canfield's play and comparing his senior season to Matt Moore's senior year...
'It shows us all the development of the player at that position. We all have to remember that Sean missed a long period of time with that injury. It's what Lyle is going through right now. I continue to feel bad for Lyle, because he is a starting quarterback. We have two senior quarterbacks right now that are healthy, and that's a good thing. I think Sean, in the last few weeks, has played as good of football as he he's played since he's been here. It has to do with confidence and growth.'

On the lack of sacks by the OSU defense...
'We are still working. We had two pretty special guys who were seniors last year. They weren't always that kind of producer when they were younger. They were good, and you could see it coming, but those guys grew into what they did. I think these guys will, too.'

On the UCLA defense...
'They've played good teams in the Pac-10. They have given us fits for quite a few years. They have one of the best defensive tackles in the league in (Brian) Price. They have a very productive corner in (Alterraun) Verner. They have some of the other leading tacklers in the conference. They are a good defensive team. UCLA has a lot of athletes on that team.'

On the best things he's seem from his team through seven games...
'We've had growth. We are building confidence; we have a chance to build momentum, with that confidence. We can see a lot of good things about the identity of this team, about never quitting, and playing hard, and producing. We've lost to three teams that are in the top 20, two of them in the top six or seven. We've competed well. '

On keys to beating UCLA...
'Balance on offense is huge. We've got to control their front; we have to block a very good front so that we can run. And if we can run, then we can start to pass the ball. We have to do a great job in the kicking game; whether it's coverage of Terrence Austin, or it's our own return game. Defensively, we've got to stop the run, and make plays in the secondary. We just got burned for a big play last week, so we've got to bounce back from that.'

On Jordan Poyer's kick return at USC...
'He is a good football player. I think he could be a receiver; I know he is going to be a heck of a safety. He is playing way older than he is. He's not phased at all, which is pretty impressive. '

On Ryan McCants return last week at USC...
'I was very impressed with that young man. He set records in rehab. He was obsessed with getting back. He got in the game and just played with reckless abandon.'

Lance Mitchell - Safety

On proving themselves as a team...
'You're only as good as your last game and with the last game being a loss we have a lot to prove. There's a lot of football left to play in the season and a lot of opportunities out there so we can't go to sleep on anybody, especially this year with the Pac-10 being so competitive. Anybody can beat anybody so we've got a lot of football to play and we have to respond to that.'

What it was like to be back at home...
'We got down there and had about three free hours. I actually went back to the Pop Warner team that I used to play for and talked to them. I went home and saw my mom and my grandma and everybody and ate with them and visited. So that's always nice. It would have been nice to come back up here with a win but it was nice being back home.'

Joe Halahuni - Tight End

On whether he knew he would be so involved in the offense leading up to the USC game...
'Throughout the week I had more plays thrown my way throughout practice and the way they were playing defense left a lot of opportunities for me to get the ball and make some plays.'

On Jacquizz Rodgers recovering (Halahuni's) fumble...
'My heart stopped after that. I felt like it was over after that for me and when Jacquizz (Rodgers) picked up the ball, there was a sigh of relief. I was just so happy.'

On wanting to get back out on the field...
'We're definitely ready to get back out there and get a win. It was a tough loss last week and we felt like we had opportunities to win, we just didn't capitalize on them. We just need to have a good week at practice and come out next week against UCLA and get a win and play well.'

On the UCLA defense...
'They have some strong defensive linemen, linebackers, and they have a good secondary. It's going to be a challenge but we're going to be ready for it. It's going to be exciting and we're going to work hard.'

On the feeling on the field at the end of the USC game...
'We got on a roll the second half and we just felt like we couldn't be stopped. Every time we got the ball we felt like we could score from anywhere; the 1-yard line, or the 30. We just had a lot of confidence going.'

Sean Canfield - Quarterback

On the positives the team can take from the USC game...
'We just ran out of time. The way we were rolling on offense I thought if we got the ball one more time then we would have scored and it would have been a different outcome. I give them credit; they were a great team and they did the things that they needed to do to win.'

On how it was to play in that venue...
'It was good. I'm very encouraged with how our offense has been doing over the past three or four weeks. For the rest of the year, I think if we just keep on this pace and we'll be in good shape. It was a fun night for me and for the offense. I thought they did a great job and, like I said, SC made enough plays to win it for them.'

On the last three games and them standing out...
'A lot of things go into it and go unnoticed a lot of times but we're just in rhythm more than anything. Being comfortable with the receivers and the play calling has been outstanding and the game plans have been outstanding and very consistent throughout. All that adds up and you get efficiency and production.'

On spreading the ball around and involving Joe Halahuni...
'He's been great. I think for him, individually, he had a set back with his injury he's a guy who is very talented. Players on the team and coaches always talk about his high school highlight film. I guess it's something crazy, I have yet to see it, but Joe is a tremendous talent. When you get a tight end that's effective and can manipulate linebackers and stuff, that's a big difference for the offense. He is quick and he's a load to take down too. '

On the offensive line...
'They have been doing outstanding. That is a great defensive line at USC. We saw that on film and how quick they got off the ball in previous games and gave a lot of fits for the offensives to other teams in the Pac-10. I thought the offensive line did a great job and in the second half was just great for us productivity-wise for the offense.'

On the difference between throwing to his different receivers...
'It's different for everyone. Like, James (Rodgers) is obviously a shorter player, and comes out really great with his explosiveness and strength and speed. And a guy like Damola (Adeniji), he is just tall and you can see him a lot better, running slant routes, running routes in the red zone, whatever it is. I think he and I have developed a chemistry that's been good for us offensively. Joe (Halahuni) as well, over the past two, three games has really shown up and I think Coach (Danny) Langsdorf and Coach (Mike) Riley knew Joe was capable of what he's been doing.'

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