Riley Meets The Press
Sept. 30, 2003
(On California) 'Cal is a very good football team, and the proved it - if anybody didn't know it - last weekend. They've got a swarming, versatile defense full of variety for you; they keep you off-balance. Then they basically have the same thing offensively - they have a variety of things they do well, and they can run the ball, throw the ball, have a great screen game, so they keep you off-balance there. They're a good overall team.'
(On Arizona State hurting OSU early with screen passes, then OSU improving against them as the game went on) 'We became more aware of it. They were running a screen with the back running from one side of the field back the other way and we were getting picked off getting there, but we ended up making some good reads up front. Dwan Edwards made a nice read on it one time in particular. A lot of times, that's the best way to stop a screen, is with a down lineman reading the pulling lineman and that's what we did a better job of.'
(On California's two-quarterback system using Aaron Rodgers and Reggie Robertson) 'They basically run the offense. It's an interesting thing to be able to do and to do effectively. I was involved with that one time at USC, we played with two quarterbacks all season long, alternating quarters. We didn't disrupt a drive, but we did it all year and it worked great. We played into the Rose Bowl with that deal. So it can be done, but it's difficult. They've got two guys who are competitive and are executing their offense.'
(USC head coach Pete Carroll called Cal's offense 'cutting edge' last week. What does Cal do to pressure a defense?) 'I think the thing that is most effective about it is, it's balanced. They do a nice job of formationing you and giving you runs and passes and screen passes off of it. Those are all things that you've pretty much got to be ready for everything, and that's one of the keys to being good offensively, is having that balance.'
(On Oregon State cornerbacks Aric Williams and Brandon Browner) 'They've worked extremely hard. Of course, Brandon had a setback and missed a ballgame and missed quite a bit of practice time, but they both played about as well as you can play the other night, and played with confidence and made plays and tackled well. That position is going to be a challenge in this conference every week so you've got to be up to it, but they certainly were and it was the result of good hard work, and we're looking for their continued improvement.'
(On the change in routine with Oregon State starting class this week) 'Even though it is a new stage, we've said we cannot be distracted by it. Basically, our detail of being demanding on yourself and being organized are going to be key issues here. So we've tried to address it and prepare them for this time, and it's very important that we get into our practice week today very smoothly. We'll see how that goes, but it will be different.'
(California is ranked ninth in the Pacific-10 in rushing defense, but is that skewed by a game against a Utah team that didn't thow much? How does Cal appear to hold up against the run?) 'I think they're pretty good against the run, actually. I think it's skewed by two games - maybe Utah, but also for sure Kansas State, and that was a different deal with a lot of quarterback running around. I don't think we'll get quite that kind of running out of Derek (Anderson, OSU's quarterback) this weekend. But I think they do a good job; they've improved as the year has gone by so I don't think that statistic means much at this point.'
(On Derek Anderson's running the ball against Arizona State last weekend) 'I think it's just awareness, I think it's vision, I think it's confidence. That's one of the things that's part of the quarterback's decision-making is when to pull the ball down and try to make some yards. It's all part of the process, and he did a nice job of seeing that whole picture the other night, stepping into the end zone with one and gaining a first down with another. He's very capable, athletically, of that; we all know he's a pretty darn good athlete.'
(On Derek Anderson needing to have a good performance in a road game) 'I think preparation is the key - I think for our whole team it's important to win on the road. If we want to be a contender, we obviously have to do that. This will be about as big a test as we've had, for sure, up to this point. I think it's all just a matter of preparation. He's had some success, which he should be able to build on. Then it's just being able to do it in another arena. We're going to practice right here and get ready to go, so we've just all got to be able to perform when we get own there.'
(On the significance of Derek Anderson taking some hits against Arizona State but getting back up and playing well) 'I think that was big. We missed some stuff in there, but he made a lot of clutch throws on third down plays, particularly out of our end, that were pretty darn good. And he did that after being knocked down a number of times and having to get back up and play again. That's real important to a quarterback, because he will get hit, and how they handle that is huge. I thought he did a nice job the other night.'
(Derek Anderson said he was unconscious for a few moments after one hit against Arizona State. Any concern about that or after-effects of that?) 'There don't seem to be any after-effects at all. He's been checked out thoroughly regarding that and he's been deemed okay.'
(On Oregon State's special teams play so far) 'We've had mixed reviews. In this last ballgame, in our coverage in particular, we really showed up. We were really flying downfield. People talk about the fact that tackling on a kickoff is, you've just got to want to do it, run down there, but there's more to it than that. You've got to make a good decision down on the field. You've got to do all that with tremendous determination, but you've got to make a good decision when you get to your blocker; if you make a bad decision and run around your blocker, you have no chance to make a tackle. So you have to defeat the blocker, and you have to decided which way the return is going based on which way he's trying to block you, and then get to the ballcarrier. We had guys make plays with tremendous, tremendous hustle and making good decisions, and we were an excellent coverage team the other night. We finally got our return off the ground, which is good to see. I think Cole (Clasen, OSU's punt returner) is very capable; we've got to give him room, and if we give him room like we did the other night, he'll gain yards.'
(When preparing to play a team that uses two quarterbacks, do you have to change your scheme?) 'No, not really. We're going to defend their offense. You defend their formations first, and make sure you get lined up okay. And one guy maybe does some things more than another guy; maybe Jeff (Tedford, Cal head coach) will call certain plays more for one guy than the other guy, but as far as their package, you have to defend their package - their formations, their shifting and their schemes. I don't think the quarterback has a lot to do with the difference in how you'd call a defense in a certain situation.'
(On giving up quarterback sacks early against Arizona State but improving the pass protection as the game went on) 'We got in some bad situations in the first half, which lends itself to getting pressure, so we paid a little more attention to the protection we called, what type of protection, and I think Derek (Anderson, OSU quarterback) did a nice job getting the ball out. And we were playing with the lead, so we were careful with some things - more careful than we were to start the game. And we were in better situations than we were to start the ballgame.'
(How similar was Arizona State to Boise State, with Dirk Koetter having been head coach at both schools? Was it easier to prepare for ASU?) 'I don't think so. Each game, even though there may be some similarities in philosophy, each guy has his own identity and is a little bit different. You can say a guy has come off the same tree, but at the same time there are tweaks by every coach of what they do and what they basically focus on. The Boise State game, probably as much as anything, just showed us how hard it is to play and win a ballgame. That preparation was probably as good as anything, and to have to play in those circumstances, because I thought ... we've seen two real good quarterbacks the last two weeks, and I thought (Boise State's Ryan) Dimwiddie really an outstanding player and caused us a lot of problems.'
(Quarterback Derek Anderson and wide receiver Kenny Farley both talked about how they expected the quick slant to be open at some point against Arizona State. Do you often see something that seems to be that clear that it should work?) 'No. We'd been waiting for that one, actually. I think that particular play was a great play by Ken Farley to get inside that defender, then there was no one left. So he did a nice job, then Derek read the play very well. The play isn't necessarily called for Ken Farley to get the ball unless there's a particular look or pressure, so the credit goes to Derek. That's the same play (running back) Steven Jackson has caught a ton of balls in the flat, but now Derek came off it and hit Kenny Farley. When you get to that point where you can utilize the whole play and all the players, then you're really causing the defense problems, and that was exciting to see because he reacted to what he saw, knew the play and knew where to go with the ball. That's very encouraging.'
(On wide receiver Kenny Farley's improvement) 'I've been disappointed that we haven't been able to get him more balls, and I think Cole Clasen can get more balls. In our offense in the past, our slotback is going to catch 55 or 60 balls and we haven't gotten to that point yet. But we are getting closer, and I'm excited about that, because the more people that contribute, the tougher it is for the defense.'
(Running back Steven Jackson said if he sees an eight- or nine-man front from an opposing defense, he feels good because he feels he's done his job. How much does his presence help Oregon State's passing game?) 'He's huge, there's no doubt about that. We basically start at ground level with our offense, with Steven getting the football and then it branches from there. Everybody knows he's a weapon they have to contain. So with that in mind, we can come off of that and throw him some balls, which is hopefully a little different for them to defend, and utilize the fact that they may bring more people up to stop the run and give us a chance to throw the ball and make some plays.'
(How do you like being back in college football?) 'I'm having a blast. This is really fun. I like being around this school, this program, our coaching staff, and most of all, the kids. It's nice to have a job, and it's nice to coach a team.'
(On Oregon State's injuries) 'It appears (center) Matt Brock is going to be okay. He went and had an MRI. I guess the best way to describe it was, it was mostly just the result of aggravating an old injury, but not to the point where he'll miss much work. Besides that, we're still hoping for (linebacker) Jason Lowe's return, but that will be probably the Washington week.'