Riley Meets The Press

Nov. 11, 2003

(On the effect byes can have on a team, particularly with more than one in a season) 'It isn't anything we can control, so there's no sense in being negative or positive - it's just there. I kind of like the weeks, actually. I don't think our players mind. When you start practicing during the bye week, you don't have the pressure of a game, you can take a little more time and work on stuff. We did a lot of two-minute drill, red zone stuff, third down - all those things that you don't have enough time, normally. We had our young guys scrimmage. It's kind of nice. It's like spring practice. It's fun, there's nothing looming right ahead, so that part of it's good. Now the rhythm of a game week and all that; we haven't been bothered by that rhythm and we didn't come out of the last bye playing our best football, for sure. So we changed it up a little; we practiced one more day last week and we'll practice one less day this week. We didn't practice Monday, we just met and ran and weightlifted and that stuff. Then our regular routine is to practice Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and then play the game, so we're into that starting today and we'll see how that all plays out. There's nothing we can do about it; we try to think things through and think what might be best. And we try to give them the weekend off, so some of them get a chance to go home, some of them sit around and watch football.'

(Did Stanford beating Arizona State last week get your players' attention better than Nevada beating Washington during your last bye week right before you played Washington?) 'I think that's a great point. It sure got our attention. As a matter of fact, I told (OSU defensive coordinator) Mark Banker, 'If they beat Arizona State, watch out. This team will be confident and hungry coming in here.' So I think that's what we'll have - a confident team coming in here. They're excited to play, and I think we will be too. It should be a heck of a game, but I expect a tough one, for sure.'

(On Stanford's offense) 'They like to be balanced. They run a multiple formation and they're pretty multiple in what they like to do. They'll run the ball outside and they'll run the ball inside; I think they like to establish that part of their game. Then the throwing is pretty varied. I don't think I can put it into a category; I'd say it's a balanced overall offense with a lot of different formations and movement and looks.'

(On Stanford's defense) 'Defensively, they blitz like crazy - absolutely a lot of pressure. They've been very disruptive to teams and they play with a lot of enthusiasm on defense.'

(What has Stanford changed in its wins the last two weeks?) 'Obviously, they're doing a better job of controlling the football offensively. I think Chris Lewis has given them a spark, he's playing well for them. Defensively, I think they've just done a better job of limiting big plays. Their blitzes have become more effective and they've been sounder down the field.'

(On the last home game for Oregon State's seniors) 'It's a great senior group. They've done a great job here at Oregon State; they've got probably one of the finer overall records for a senior group in a long time. A few of them were here when we (on Riley's coaching staff) were here before, so I know they've seen a tremendous transition and been a part of building that. I know they have a great sense of pride in that. It's a great group of guys, and I'm glad I got to be with them at least one year.'

(On Stanford tight end Brett Pierce) 'I remember when he came out (of high school), he was a highly-recruited guy, everybody was looking at him. He's a tough guy, a very good blocker, probably could be a good receiver as much as they want to use him. He's capable of doing that. He's a fine overall player.'

(During a long football season, how does a coaching staff keep a team focused?) 'The only way you can really do that is, when we practice for the week, all we look at, all we talk about, all we do is the upcoming opponent. Everything the kids see on paper, on tape or out on the field has something to do with the upcoming opponent. So that is a way to do it. The other part of it is the outside influences, which is natural. People want to know what happened before, what's going to happen down the road. The only way we really guard against that is we talk about it a ton - that the most important game of the year is Stanford. We won't feel very good about going to the next week unless we beat Stanford. We won't feel great about what's already happened unless we beat Stanford. You live in the moment in this game, and as we all know, in our business you're as good as your last game. We're feeling okay right now; another one is coming up and we want to feel good Saturday afternoon about 4 o'clock. Then we can go from there, but if we overlook that then we're really, really barking up the wrong tree. We just keep talking about that.'

(On Oregon State defensive end Bill Swancutt) 'He's a quiet warrior. You never think too much about him, because he's always consistent - he's always there, he's always practicing hard, he always plays the game very well and he plays it every down, all day long. I'd describe him as a relentless player; he just keeps coming. I know from the moment we first saw him in spring practice, he's the same. He causes all sorts of problems offensively because he does get up the field and he does it on every play. If you're going to play against Bill, you'd better strap it up because it's going to be all day long.'

(Does Oregon State running back Steven Jackson remind you of any players you saw in the NFL?) 'I wouldn't put him in a box with any of the guys, but as far as talent, I'd say he's as good as guys I've been around. That's pretty good company - LaDainian (Tomlinson in San Diego), and Deuce McAllister last year (in New Orleans). He's that caliber of player, although not like either guy, necessarily. Just a real good player.'

(Do you think of Saturday as maybe also being the last home game for that junior?) 'No, that didn't cross my mind. But we basically agreed to talk about the fact that we won't talk about it until the season is over. That's going to play out, and we've got so much else on our plate right now that our team doesn't need to talk about that or worry about that or think about that. That's all down the road. And whatever happens there will be the best thing for Steven; he'll make the right choice. He's that kind of guy, his family are those kind of people. He'll make the right choice.'

(Does having Jackson's pending decision affect your recruiting?) 'No, it doesn't, because guys are just interested in the fact that Steven's here. They're very interested in Steven Jackson. When they come here, they want to meet him, and they've all seen him on TV. Nothing has ever been brought up - everybody knows that if he comes back, he's going to start; if he doesn't, he doesn't. But I don't think it hurts us at all. Whatever's going on in that regard helps us, because runners should want to come here. We've got something going. Ken Simonton had a pretty good career here, now Steven Jackson has been here, so a good runner should want to come to Oregon State.'

(Are the NFL scouts a distraction?) 'No, because those guys come around all the time anyway. They do a tremendous job; the NFL is actually real good about avoiding any talk about juniors. They won't do it. They come to every campus - anywhere there's a senior prospect, they're there. We have them almost every day here and they're looking at all of our other seniors and doing their deal. I think it's great for our players to know they're here, and there's been no distraction whatsoever.'

(On Oregon State's long snapper situation and whether it will be Dan Rothwell if he's able to snap) 'Yes, he will if he can, and he's gotten better. We'll see how he plays out in the next couple days; we won't make any decisions on that until we know he feels good and can run down and do the job. Otherwise, Trent (Bray) will do it.'

(On Oregon State linebacker Richard Seigler) 'He is a great guy to have on a team. There is a lot to Richard Seigler. I think everybody sees how he plays football and he likes it, but there's a lot to the person. He's a great guy, he's smart, he truly loves Oregon State. I think it's been a great deal for him and for Oregon State; it was a good marriage when he came here. He's an awfully good player and a good person, and he'll have a good, long career in pro football.'

(On how linebacker Jamal Jackson's injury has affected Oregon State, and whether it's helped OSU bond during an emotional time) 'It really was, and it still is. When something like that happens, I think everyone takes a deep breath and steps back a little bit. Things are steadily improving (for Jackson), and our team has done a tremendous job being there for him.'

(On Oregon State having its first Spanish radio broadcast on Saturday, and having former OSU placekicker Jose Cortez as part of the broadcast crew) 'Jose is one of the great stories in recent Oregon State history. When we first got here (in 1997), we needed a kicker and Bruce Read, our special teams coach, uncovered about 40 films of different kickers around the West Coast and came out of his room about a week later and said these were the three guys we should recruit, and one of them ended up being Jose. We went down, met his family, went to the junior college, did all that, and it ended up we offered Jose (a scholarship). He signed and came up here during the summertime and went to work - he was a roofer - and walked everywhere in town. He was appreciative of everything that was being done, and then became a local legend. The people here caught onto him; he did a great job kicking and they chanted when he came onto the field. Arguably one of the very best kickers in Oregon State history, and just a great story - a guy who went through a ton in his life to get where he is right now. I don't know if he's on a (NFL) roster right now, but he will be again - he'll get another opportunity and kick for somebody. A great story, a great guy, a great kicker.'

(On Oregon State placekicker Kirk Yliniemi) 'Kirk is a great kicker. Kicking is one thing, and having the poise and confidence and courage is another part of it - probably the most important part - and he does not get ruffled. A lot of things have happened - new snappers, and Carl (Tobey) has done a great job of holding but just getting the ball down ... when he double-clutched that one at Washington State for a 50-plus-yard kick, that was a big-time play. I have a lot of respect for him. We will obviously miss him, and it'll be hard to replace him. Does he have a chance (to play in the NFL)? Yes, absolutely he's got it, because he's got that other side to him that's so important in kicking - he has poise.'

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