Riley Meets the Press: Dec. 15

Dec. 15, 2009

Oregon State head football coach Mike Riley and several players met with members of the media on Monday 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 and Molly Blue of The Oregonian, Bob Clark of the Register-Guard, Cliff Kirkpatrick and Steve Gress of the Gazette-Times, Gary Horowitz of the Statesman Journal, Ron Callan from KPAM 860, 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 BYU...
'It's like a home game for BYU. They've earned this spot in this bowl game five years in a row. We got to be reunited with (BYU head coach) Bronco Mendenhall a few days ago at the press conference and it was fun. I have a lot of respect for him. I've gotten to know him over the last few years and have watched that program win nine or 10 games, it seems like, for a long time. We're going to play a very good football team, a solid team, well coached team, that has been very successful and we are in the process now of preparing for them. Like I told our team, as you watch them, you will gain a lot of respect for how they play.'

On four OSU linebackers getting all-conference honors...
'I think that the neat thing about this is that it's done with our coaches in the conference and obviously, as I do, I'm sure every coach gets input from his assistant coaches as to who belongs on these teams. I think a trademark of our team has been our linebacker play over the years and the recognition for those guys doesn't surprise me. The other factor is that guys like (Dwight) Roberson and (Keith) Pankey, in particular, have been around and (David) Pa'aluhi played a lot a year ago, so they're not novices in this deal and people have seen them. So as our defense has grown through the year and as our rush defenses have risen from not being anything but average to being pretty good by the end of the year, I think people have noted that the linebackers have made a big impact on this way.'

On Sean Canfield...
'I think he's definitely a pro prospect and I think that the beautiful thing about this is that there wasn't any pre-season hype for any of this. There were question marks about who was going to be our quarterback, when was Lyle (Moevao) going to be ready. There was going to even be competition when Lyle was ready, and of course that never materialized and Sean played and right before our eyes he grows into this all-conference quarterback. His numbers speak for themselves as far as comparison to past quarterbacks, whom we're really proud of and did a great job, but we've never had a guy lead the league in both yardage, and he led by 500 yards, I think. The combination of those two things is awesome; it says a lot about his year. Then you look at his touchdown to interception ratio, and with his percentage, and his yardage - all that together is a heck of a year. How it compares and all that, it doesn't really matter. It was a good year and we've been blessed with Derek Anderson and Matt Moore and Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield. And Lyle, I can't talk about this era of our football team without saying that these two guys together have won a lot of games for the Beavers. They've quarterbacked our team together for three years and we haven't had any more success in a three-year span. I'm not sure about that but its probably safe to say something like that. So we're proud of the work they've done as a duo and I'm more proud of how they've handled it. There's been some pain there for the guy that's not playing, that got hurt. Luckily for us one of them was healthy while the other one was hurt, but they've just handled it tremendously well and been both captains this year which is pretty neat.'

On the seniors...
'Well it is a small group that has made a big impact. I think they've led this team extremely well, been great examples and there are a lot of good football players amongst them. Guys have grown tremendously. Gregg Peat is one of our great Beaver stories, working his way up and physically developing, working hard and learning more and becoming an all-conference offensive guard. To me, that is a great story. Howard Croom has been a tremendous team player and contributed so much in his way for so long. He played early in his career and has always been one of those stable guys that we always could rely on to know exactly what to do. A `reliable guy', which I told our team that's one of the best tags you can have as a football player, `that guy is reliable,' and this group is full of that. The Damola Adeniji story; he walked on here and wasn't even sure he was going to play college football and went to junior college and worked his way into a scholarship, and has had a really productive, very good year. It's a great group that has forged their stories in a bunch of different ways. Keaton Kristick was almost a star when he walked in; he played as a true freshman, contributed, started for a long time, and is all-conference as a senior.'

On Coach Cavanaugh and the development of the linemen...
'I look at our people going through the program and I think about the guys who are coaching them and I'm thankful for guys that are willing to work hard and are sponges. Gregg Peat is a sponge, Andy Levitre was a sponge and Andy grew a ton as a player. Development is a key to our program and in order to do that you've got to have really good teachers and I think I've got a whole bunch of them back here. Guys who really like the detail of football. Cav is a great example of that; he teaches guys fundamentals of how to play. You can run a bunch of different plays, different offenses but the details of how you do things within what you do is the key to your success and the key to the player growing. They have a craft that they have to get better at and the beautiful thing for me, from where I sit, is that we've been blessed with time and time allows you to develop guys and teach guys and build from a foundation. That's what we love to see and that's why we can be good as these guys develop and they get into their junior or senior years, they've been in the program, they've learned the fundamentals, they've learned how to play and if they've worked hard physically then they become Gregg Peat or Andy Levitre and it's really exciting to see. They then in turn pass that work ethic and the idea of being a true craftsman onto the younger guys so it hopefully is a process that keeps going. If you don't do that you stand out like a sore thumb here. If you're not interested in becoming good then you don't fit and that only comes through the example of older guys. Going back to the comment about our seniors, that's the impact that they make. They set the example and the tone for if we're ever going to be good again for those guys to have the work ethic to do what they need to do.'

On Coach Bronco Mendenhall...
'Well we have a link and that link is Oregon State. He's an alum and coached here. I actually had a mini interview with him and obviously made a big mistake in not hiring him. He is at, what I look at now, the perfect place; a great fit, has a program and has basically established the values in his program that he wants and then you see the results of that success. He's obviously a very good football coach and one that I have a lot of admiration for. Through our association with Nike and through our profession in general we've been at things together and kind of gravitated toward one another. It's been fun getting to know him and even if you didn't know him and you watched his team you'd have a respect for him but then knowing the person and knowing what he's doing down there it all makes sense.'

On the challenges going against Max Hall...
'I think the biggest thing is that this guy is experienced and productive so the chances of rattling him are tough. You're talking about a guy who has been through a lot in his career and played a lot and been productive as heck so you're going to have to keep playing against him. They just present a lot of different problems on what they do and then the fact that he's done it. Its just like we've said with Sean; the best thing that's happened for Sean is to play for a long time in one stretch and grow and gain the confidence and this guy has done it for a long time.'

Offensive Guard- Gregg Peat

On his final game as a college player...
'It goes by quick. It's the last game and it's going to be fun to get the pads on and do it one more time with this team and these guys. It's been a fun ride and I'm glad to have been a part of it. Hopefully I get to put the helmet on a couple more times in my lifetime.'

On BYU...
'BYU's a good team. We watched some film yesterday and I'd say as far as their defense goes, they're high energy, with high motor players who give great effort. You can tell they obviously have a winning program and they're going to be a tough team. Offensively, I know they're very strong, with a good quarterback. It's going to take our best game and that's what we plan on bringing.

Linebacker Keaton Kristick

On the energy of the team...
'We were as energized as we could be. We had a week off and everyone was a little tired and it was rainy and cold so we had to make the most of it. It was upbeat and we have to prepare for this team because they're a good team and it's going to be a good game. '

On his last game at Oregon State...
'I haven't really thought about it too much but it's kind of a big deal. My family and I all thought about it a little bit and I'll make the most of it that's for sure. It's going to be fun to put on that jersey for the last time.'

Running back Jacquizz Rodgers

On BYU's age...
'I haven't looked at their roster but I know that the team is one of the oldest teams in the nation. As a team I know that they play physical and put forth a good effort. I know they're going to come out and play their hardest.'

On the seniors' last game...
'We're going to try to let all the seniors go out with a victory and just finish up good and build for next year.'

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