Riley Meets the Press: Nov. 3

Nov. 3, 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, Gary Horowitz of the Statesman Journal, 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.

Mike Riley - Head Coach

On playing California...
'This team has, as everybody knows, a lot of weapons, a lot of speed; they've been very explosive, one of the top scoring offenses in our conference. They are one of the top offensive leaders in our conference, one of the top rushing defenses in our conference. So this is a very solid football team that has played well lately. After a couple of losses against two very fine teams they've rebounded into a little string here so we're expecting a very tough game.'

On whether success by OSU's running backs has translated to wins in this series recently...
'You know us pretty well. If we win, many times our running back does pretty well. That's part of our identity. Those (recent games against California) have all been really exciting, tough games. They have been fun. It would really be fun to be sitting in the stands as a non-partisan.'

On California's running game...
'In the blink of an eye (Jahvid) Best is gone, (Shane) Vereen is a really good running back - that is a great one-two punch so on the back side of a play you can never relax, you can never take a bad angle. You always have to get a good position to make that play if somebody breaks through the line of scrimmage, and you have to get a lot of people to the party. Being sound in all the spots you need to fill for the run defense and then having the correct pursuit angles, those are absolutely huge in this game.'

On Jahvid Best as a runner...
'His outstanding strength is speed. I don't know that I've seen very many players in my life faster on the football field than this guy ... and he's strong. You have to tackle him squarely because he'll run right through you. He'll make one cut and go. Quizz (Rodgers) is a little more jittery and quick but they're both, in their own way, tremendous players and that's the unique thing about great backs. They all have that great knack for vision.'

On Stephen Paea's impact on the defensive line...
'He's one of the best, there's no doubt about it. He garners a lot of attention inside. It creates a lot of question marks for you offensively, do you block him one-on-one with the guard? Do you use a back to help? Do you block down with a tackle? That's the dilemma we had with (UCLA's Brian) Price and we made the decision to block him a number of different ways and to sometimes block him one-on-one but don't live like that. That's what people have to decide about Stephen (Paea).'

On whether OSU's four straight wins play a role and keys to winning at Berkeley...
'I don't look at (streaks) very much. They're all individual games to me and so they all carry their own story. There's been a common denominator in the fact that we have run the ball well and we've played a lot of good defense. They've all been games down to the wire, I believe. There are some common denominators from last year's game that are important to us, but we don't look back to the years before that at all. We look mostly at the team, what they're doing this year, who they're playing with, how they're attacking people, how they're defending people, what they're kicking game is like and then play the game. For us it's a brand new day.'

Tim Clark - Cornerback

On California's team without some of the stars of previous seasons...
'They have a nice balanced attack. They have great running back and they have a veteran quarterback, Kevin Riley, who knows how to win games. It's going to be difficult for us to go into a hostile environment just like two years ago. The crowd is definitely going to be a factor but we should be able to face the challenges.'

On whether the success against the Bears on the road in the past plays a role...
'Not really because with every year comes a different team. They don't have the same players they had two years ago, but they have the same grade of athletes there that are able to accomplish the same thing that those players did. With a different team you have different strategies and different ways to approach the game but at the same time it's always nice knowing that you have had success in that environment before. So I'm going to take that and let it build my confidence going in there.'

On how Jahvid Best affects rush defense...
'It's extremely difficult when you're facing a running back as talented as Jahvid Best who has that speed factor. You always have to know where he is and how close he is to you. I feel like I'm confident in our front seven that they can get the job done. We're (the secondary) going to take care of the pass support.'

Keaton Kristick - Linebacker

On OSU's defense against UCLA...
'Overall, I think we did pretty well. At the end we struggled getting off the field. We had a whole bunch of third downs throughout the game. The first half, it was working. We got off the field really quick and got the ball in the offense's hands. At the end there was a couple of penalties, you know just stuff that wasn't going our way, and they kept on driving the ball and had a couple of big plays and tied it up. It came down to us having the ball at the end and if it came to overtime we were all just ready for the next opportunity.'

On stopping Jahvid Best and Kevin Riley...
'I think that's where it starts, stopping Jahvid Best. He run's the `wildcat' which we'll need to practice for. Kevin Riley, he's a really good quarterback, he spreads out the ball well. It's just a good offense. We have to prepare ourselves this week and that's really where it starts, having a good week of practice.'

Jacquizz Rodgers - Tailback

On his assessment of the Beavers at this point in the season...
'I think we've still got a lot of improvement to do. Lately we've been kicking a lot of field goals when we get into the red zone.'

On his touchdown pass against UCLA...
'Well, it was out of the `Wild Beaver.' I faked the fly sweep to Markus Wheaton. The pass was intended for Brady Camp, and it was an easy pass because he was wide open.'

On being excited to go head-to-head with California running back Jahvid Best...
'It's kind of a competition. You've got to just compete and go out there and play your best like I do every week. I do it for my team and try to win games.'

On having never fumbled in his college career...
'My coach (running backs Coach Reggie Davis) always preaches high and tight, just make sure you secure the ball, that's the main thing. I make sure I keep it secure when I'm making cuts, or running through holes. I don't like talking about fumbles! I guess there was a write up about our fumbles, and my Mom called me and my brother (flanker James Rodgers) and said `they're trying to make you fumble!' Then James fumbled against USC and so he thought they jinxed him!'

On the offensive line...
'Our line has grown over the season. Our whole left side is basically new to the offensive line. I think they have been doing a great job lately of picking up blocks and making holes so I could run through.'

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