Riley Meets The Press

Sept. 9, 2003

(On what quarterback Derek Anderson is going through recently) 'Everybody on the team has gone through some disappointment, for sure. But at this stage, we've got to all go forward and that includes Derek. He's part of our team, and we're all part of the team, and we all went through a rough time and now we're on to the next step. He's our starting quarterback.'

(On some of the offensive problems that may not have been Anderson's fault) 'It's never what it always appears to be. There are some factors ... the first pass that was intercepted, hardly anybody knows the ball was tipped; had we had a little better alignment and a more concise route, who knows - it might still have gotten picked because the ball was tipped at the line of scrimmage a little bit. But that's football for you - it's the greatest team game there is; everybody has to do their job and when things go bad, the finger is inevitably pointed at the quarterback. We've all got to work to do better.'

(On how Anderson will be able to rebound psychologically) 'Sure, I think he can come back. We've all had rough days and been disappointed and had rough times. Last year, he was one of the more productive quarterbacks in the history of this school, so I'm sure he's going to come back. He, like all of us, is disappointed but we go on and the best way to do that is to go to practice and go to work and get prepared as well as you can for the next game.'

(On backup quarterback Adam Rothenfluh) 'Adam has done a nice job for us. He's extremely good to work with; I enjoy him. We work closely together. Even during the ballgames, he's right there and in the meetings and around - he's a tremendous young man that I think is fulfilling his role with this team very well.'

(On whether it's wrong for people to assume that New Mexico State is just the sort of game to get your confidence back with a big win) 'This is a good football team. I was noticing this morning they're ranked nationally defensively pretty well, they're also one of the better rushing teams in the league. They played Texas; I know the score doesn't look like it, but that was a 7-0 game, New Mexico State, in the second quarter. They ran the ball well, they played good defense against them. This is a solid football team. A few years back, they beat Arizona State when it was ranked 22nd in the country. This is going to be a solid football team coming in here. They're physical, they run the ball, and they play very sound defense.'

(On whether Rothenfluh might see more playing time this week) 'That's a gametime thing, an as-we-go-through-the-game decision. There won't be anything that's predetermined.'

(On turning the page after the loss at Fresno State) 'It's really important to get past that ballgame. We have to learn from it, then be able to go forward and focus on the practices this week and really get mentally prepared - both with the playbook and mental toughness - in approaching this next game.'

(On whether tailback Steven Jackson's role in the offense is what you had envisioned) 'Yes. This is the kind of balance we'd like for him. We wanted him to be able to catch some balls; he's obviously good at it and a factor in that regard. We wanted to be able to run the ball and give him the ball a number of times in a game. What we have to do with the rest of our offensive game is balance that out and make sure people can't just stack up on him. We have to make some plays in other areas.'

(On the defensive play against Fresno State) 'We played some almost near-perfect defense for long stages during that game; we just lost our discipline in the game a couple times and gave them some big plays. Big plays gave them life, and the life ended up helping them win the game at the end.'

(On Fresno State getting some big plays on broken plays after OSU had good defensive coverage, and how to defend after an offense's play breaks down) 'That's exactly what you have to do. There are rules involving scramble, and when a quarterback takes off, obviously the players who are deep have to stay deep and be able to latch onto people down the field and know where they are and keep that vision in front of them. That's a big problem. A quarterback can move around a little bit, he's outside containment - which we shouldn't have lost in the first place - and he's got more time, so the receiver has more time to get open. We have to stay disciplined and maintain the leverage, good position, on receivers that are breaking downfield.'

(On whether Fresno State quarterback Jeff Grady was close to or over the line of scrimmage before releasing a key third-and-long pass) 'I don't think he was over the line of scrimmage. I think that was a legal play.'

(On New Mexico State's rotation of quarterbacks Buck Pierce and Paul Dombrowski) 'They both run the offense very well, and they made the statement 'There is no quarterback controversy here.' These guys are both going to play in the game. Dombrowski has been very productive for a while, and they both run that offense well, so I don't see a major difference in that regard.'

(On OSU freshman quarterback Ryan Gunderson's progress) 'Ryan is a tremendously gifted young man, and I'm not just talking about athletic skills. He has those; he was a highly-recruited quarterback. But he's poised and smart, and coming along really well. I've made the point that I'd rather save his redshirt year, and that's the track we're on right now, but I think he's coming along well. We always travel with him, and he takes part in practice like he's preparing for the game because at this point he is our third quarterback.'

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