Mike Riley and Jacquizz Rodgers at Pac-10 Media Day 2010
Pac-10 Media Day is just about wrapped up from the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles. Here is what Jacquizz Rodgers and Mike Riley had to say up on the podium. Two of the questions you see below were generated by Building the Dam.
Opening Statement from Mike Riley: Thank you everybody. I'm very proud to be here and represent Oregon State University, and very proud to have Jacquizz Rodgers here with me. We're loking forward to the season. I really have appreciated the work ethic of our team. I thought we had a good offseason and good spring practice. We've had a record number of guys working at our school in the summertime. We have quite a few returning starters, but I know you'll ask me about the quarterback position. We're making the transition at quarterback. we've been quarterbacked by Lyle Moevao and Sean Canfield over the last three seasons. Whenever you make that transition there's a lot of questions and a lot of mystery about it. I'm very excited about the ability of our players who are getting ready to play that position, and very excited about Ryan Katz, who will be our starter as we go into the season. He's got a big time arm, he has good athletic ability, and he's had good preparation to make this a very smooth transition.
What is it going to be like to play in front of your family? (Connor's question, via Julio Nievas)
Jacquizz Rodgers: It will be a great deal to go back home and play in front of family and friends that haven't seen me play since high school. But as for me, my main focus is to go down there and win that first game to start Oregon State off on a good note.
Elaborate on the New York experience.
Mike Riley: This has been my eighth year back at Oregon State. It feels like a new era in the conference. There are a lot of aggressive dynamics and positive thinking going on here. The trip was outstanding and well organized, and I thought our reception there was great, and press conferences were well attended. The experience at ESPN was very good for all of our Pac-10 teams and the conference. It's been a very positive start. I think this new venue for Media Day at the Rose Bowl is awesome.
Can you talk about James Dockery? He was recently elected a captain, what makes him a good leader?
Jacquizz Rodgers: James Dockery is one of the vocal leaders on our team and leads by example. He came off of injuries a year ago and has come back running this summer. He lead the young defensive backs and is leading the defense as of now. He's doing a great job to give the team the extra playmaker we need.
Mike Riley: Because of the commitment he's made, oru team has really recognized his dedicated to our program. That's one of the main reasons he's a captain. We actaully picked six captains based on a very even vote. I'm proud of those guys who have impacted our program and have been great represntatives of our team.
You guys had some trouble generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks last year, and you've lost Keaton Kristick. What are you going to do to get more aggressive on defense this year? (Andy's question, via Berkelium of CGB)
Mike Riley: We lost two of our great sack leaders of all time in Victor Butler and Slade Norris the year before, so that transition there is always kind of a process. We had guys make progress through the year. You'll see good pressure in the interior, and Steven Paea will be a big factor in the middle. A couple of guys-- Taylor Henry and Gabe Miller-- who have great ability so we won't have to blitz guys all the time. Among those guys, we'll be able to get heat on the quarterback.
You seem to do more with unheralded recruiting classes every year. What is the role that the coaching staff plays in this process? Do you have a chip on your shoulder to prove that you're better than the expectations?
Jacquizz Rodgers: For the most part, we develop players as they get older in the program. I know that every player that comes through the program gets better. We've got guys around to help them, and good coaches. They focus on the little things like technique, not just the winning aspect of football. Things that make you become a better football player.
Mike Riley: We don't think we do more with less, we just think we do a good job evaulating players. We don't care about the number of stars they have in recruiting coming in, we care about the number of stars they have coming out. I really feel fortunate to have two very important things: time and continuity in the staff. We've had very few staff changes. I think it's very good for players to develop with consistent teaching. I've always had the vision of a long lasting program where guys can be comfortable growing in the program.
What is the update on Keith Pankey? Will he be ready to go?
Mike Riley: I'll let Quizz answer that, but I was given a report yesterday that he was given the green light totally. We'll keep a real close eye on him early and monitor how much works he gets in the first few practices.
Jacquizz Rodgers: He's come out during the end of our summer workotus and has been doing a lot of cutting drills and running with the team. I think he's at the point where he can start off fall camp.
Ryan Katz. How does he compare?
Mike Riley: I think that ability wise, he has a wonderful arm. I like watching him throw, he can throw all the passes. He's a tough guy and is pretty much unflappable. He wont feel out of place or be intimidated by anything. The next thing is, he's had two years of expereince. He knows what we're doing, and he has a feel for those kinds of things. The transition at that position always provides a mystery. We've got a lot of experience, Quizz and the guys will have to give Ryan a lot of support, but this kid is going to be a good quarterback.
Steven Paea-- how close was he to goign to the NFL? What makes him a stellar player?
Mike Riley: Steven approached this thing with the NFL last year the right way. He got the information from the NFL and decided to stay in. That part was well done. Steven is a relavitely inexperienced football player. He came from Tonga while he was in high school, played one year of high school ball, one year of junior college ball, so he's only into his fifth year of football. There's still a lot ahead of him. The thing that makes him a good player is he's a tremendously hard worker, and that goes with about as much explosiveness as a big man as I've ever seen. He's strong, explosive, and quick. He's also a smart guy and can learn what we're doing, then apply our scheme to his abilities. He's one of the best players at that position that we've ever had and that I've ever been able to have.
Your teams have come very close to winning it all. What do they need to do this year that's been missing in the past?
Jacquizz Rodgers: We've gotta take this season one game at a time and we need to start this year out on a winning note and not have a slow start. I think we can do it because a lot of guys bought into staying into Corvallis in the summer, more guys than we've had in past years. We're combining and coming together in the summer workouts to work on timing and everything else. I think it will be a great year for us.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)