Mike Riley Comments from April 3

April 3, 2003

Corvallis, Ore. - The following comments are from Oregon State University head football coach Mike Riley moments prior to the first spring practice session (April 3):

Q. Does this feel a little strange to be at an OSU spring practice?

A. 'It really does feel strange. It feels good to get started, but everything seems to be happening so fast. I have to remember the last time I came into my first spring drill I was on the job a couple of months earlier. So, it's been a quick transition, but I'm very excited. The first day I walked into my office it was like a time warp. Sometimes it seems like I never left, but there has been a lot of water under the bridge during that time.'

Q. Does it feel good to have a solid corps of players to work with?

A. 'I'm excited about the players we have in the program, and I'm ready to learn more about this team. I want to lay a foundation and get to know the talent level of these players so we can get ready for the fall.'

Q. What is your opinion of the roster and your returning starters?

A. 'I have a pretty good idea on a few positions. We ARE going to give the ball to Steven Jackson, I don't think we have to assume too much there. But, after that, we have to evaluate the skills of the players we have and then formulate a plan for the fall. You never want to let a system get in the way of good players; you want to make sure you have a system that takes advantage of the individual talents of the players. Our two main goals for this spring are to lay a foundation for the fall and evaluate the skills of the players.'

Q. How much of a benefit has this building (Truax Center) been for you already?

A. 'I just mentioned how nice it was to get out of the rain when I walked in here. I had dreamed about something like this when I was here before and particularly for this time of the year. The fall is really nice in Oregon, until you get later in the year, and frankly that time of the year you really don't need to be indoors much -- in fact at times it is better to be out in the weather. In the offseason and during spring you can get a lot more done being inside a beautiful building like this.'

Q. What kind of experience can younger players gain during spring practice?

A. 'For young guys it is a great opportunity to take a step forward. Most of the younger guys have redshirted, so they haven't had a real opportunity to play in games. This is their first chance to step forward and find that niche to compete and get on the field. There is actually opportunity for a lot of players since this is a new coaching staff, even though we all know there are some built-in starters.'

Q. These players have experience in bowl games, have you set goals or do you have expectations for this team?

A. 'I haven't talked specifics to the players. The real difference in this program from when I first inherited it is, the players expect to win. These guys expect to win every game, and they know what bowl experiences are like. That is a huge hurdle for any program to overcome and I'm pleased to start with that kind of a foundation.'

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