Riley Meets The Press

Aug. 26, 2004

(Were any decisions made today as to who will be playing at some positions?) 'We'll probably have to define some things in the next couple of days, but we'll let this scrimmage sink in, watch the film, and then see where we're at from there.' (The fun ends after today and you really have to start gearing up for the season-opener at Louisiana State. Where do you feel you stand?) 'It really is true that we're entering into a different phase after Friday morning's practice. We spent a good deal just beating on ourselves and competing and having scrimmages and playing pretty hard, and now we'll head off into specific LSU preparation - take a couple extra days than normal to do that, and it will definitely be a different part of fall camp, getting ready for that first game.' (There were a lot of questions early on at receiver, but it looks as though some players have stepped up.) 'I think there have been a number of guys ... Either some older guys who have been here and came back in terrific shape, like George Gillette has had a great camp, Josh Hawkins has had a great camp, Brandon Powers, who did well in the spring, has had a great camp; or some relatively new guys, Anthony Wheat-Brown, Marcel Love, and of course the old guy, Mike Hass - those guys have all made some plays so we had some guys really come to the front and made the competition tough, and made the plays so far.' (Still competition for the starting spots at this point?) 'Yeah. We'll let this sink in, what we're doing, and we haven't talked to any players or made any final decisions yet.' (On Sabby Piscitelli's progress at strong safety) 'Sabby Piscitelli has been an example of a guy who is really, really committed to being a great player. He works extremely hard, has worked very hard through last year, played on special teams and did a nice job and then works hard in the weight room. He's always been fast, but I think he's increased his speed and he's a guy we're looking to now to be one of the mainstays in our defensive secondary.' (Is that secondary one of your team's strengths?) 'Absolutely our secondary should be strong. They take a lot of pride in what they do, and I see them as being a very stable part.' (What did you think of the kicking game today?) 'I was pleased with the kicker and the punter; I thought they did nice jobs today. And a lot of it ... we'll look at the film and make some detailed observations, rather than my sideline observations, but I know we've got to catch the ball and we did not do that today. That cropped up as a result, I think, of the first time going live, making it a live punt, a live punt return, and that's a lot different deal than just being able to catch the ball practicing day to day. I'm glad we did it, and we've got to eliminate that problem.' (Was today a chance to look at some of the second- and third-team players?) 'Absolutely. We play a lot of team, and we're very physical in practice. Three out of our four front guys on the first string have some sort of a nick - it's not serious, but I didn't want to make it serious, so I held the `ones' (first-teamers) out today. And for the `threes' (third-teamers), a lot of them, this will be their last chance to play football today. They'll be practicing, they'll be scout team guys, they'll be working, so they got to play a lot of football and I'm pleased about that. And some guys probably made a move to not be redshirted, to maybe move into the traveling squad picture, so that was good.' (Is there any word on defensive end Brandon Scales?) 'No, he's still out on unrelated-to-football issues, so we'll see what happens on that one.' (On the left side of the offensive line) 'We've moved Josh Linehan over to left guard; he's been there about a week and I think has progressed very well. Josh is a tough guy and I like how he plays. That looks like a pretty good move right now for us. Adam Koets has been playing the left tackle and has had all the work, and I think he's had a good camp. But it's a hard camp for him, because he's playing against Bill Swancutt every play, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. That's a tough chore, but I think it's done nothing but help him.' (On receiver Mike Williams being ruled ineligible to return to Southern California this season) 'That's too bad for the young man. I don't know all the details, so I wouldn't even try to comment on whether that's good or bad. It's too bad. I hope it's a lesson for a lot of guys out there that they'd better ask a lot of questions before they leap.' (On Derek Anderson being on the watch list for the Johnny Unitas Award) 'I just found out about that; I don't know anything about it. But he should be, if it's anything about quarterbacks in the country he should certainly be listed. He's a darn good quarterback, he's been one of the most productive guys in the country going into the third year of starting. For us, putting the right people around Derek is the key. If we can do that, and get the good blocking and run the ball effectively, then I think he's poised for a very good year.' (On OSU's running backs) 'I think all three of them are pretty good. I won't tell you, because I haven't told those guys, but I have a clearer picture of what it is and I feel good about it. Between the three of them, we'll run the ball well and we'll have a guy or two that can play on third down and be effective protectors and receivers.' (How much did avoiding injury figure into keeping the first-teamers out of the scrimmage?) 'I made an assessment Wednesday of where we were physically. Like I said earlier, we had three out of our four defensive starting guys (up front) who have some sort of nick right now. We have been very, very healthy in camp and I want to get that first string to the football game. We did practice with them today before we had the scrimmage, so they got their work in. We had a blitz drill and a team period and some pass skeleton so they got some good work. But we've been banging like crazy, so I wanted the `twos' and `threes' a chance to play football. Some of them are still earning spots, some won't play again because they'll be redshirting and will be scout team guys. But those are all the reasons for that.'