The Beavers are now 2-3 coming off an embarrassing 40-14 loss to UCLA in which they led 14-12 in the fourth quarter. The Beavers host Arizona this week, and here is what Coach Riley had to say:
Arizona is coming off of a very big win against Washington State. That was a very good football game into the second half and then they pulled away. They have appear to have found what looks like to me the best balance of that team in a few years as far as offense and defense. They had 500 yards of offense, and they have their typical relentless defense. They have had a real good identity of what they do defensively since Mike (Stoops) has been there.
On limiting turnovers.
I'm tired of it because it is a killer. There is no question that one of the major reasons that we are where we are is because we have turned the ball over. Now we have found all different ways to do it. It was interceptions early and we still had a couple of those that were unnecessary. Then the special teams turnovers and then the blocked punt. Those are all reasons for what has happened.
On the health of Sammie Stroughter.
It is way too early to start talking long term. It is premature today because the players had the day off yesterday; Sammie is undergoing thorough, constant testing to see where he is. Until we get doctor, trainer, and family word on that we are going week to week and it won't be this week for sure.
On getting back in rhythm.
I think that what you said was right on, and I think we have to basically cut it loose. Let's play our game, we can't go into the game hamstrung by what we are going to do and what we are worried about doing; we just have to go out and play. That attitude has to permeate within our team throughout the week. We have to be in attack mode offensively, and it is really important that that is a true mental aspect of how we approach our offense because when we are right the quarterback can make those throws. We have a mostly experienced front, a very good runner who continues to run well despite our offense. So I think that it's a mental approach and physical production.
Does all that stuff have accumulative affect to where they're expecting something bad to happen and looking over their shoulder wondering when the lightning is going to strike?
"That's why I think you have to hit it right between the eyes, I think it's another valid point that your mind can do a lot of things to your mental outlook on your life. You can see it in your life; it may not be as bad as an interception, or a fumble or a missed block. I talk about those things to our team, it becomes a flee or a fight mode for our football team. Are you going to be scared of those things or are you going to fight them and make a play next time? That's mental toughness, that's attitude, it's those kinds of things you have to reach deep down for. The beautiful thing for me is that as coaches our job is that when these times are the hardest that's when everything about coaching is there for you. If you like to coach and you like all the things about coaching, just go in our locker room and start working on it, with attitude, approach, practice, detail, execution and production. Everything is there for you right now so it's a major coaching challenge and it's a major personal challenge of approach and attitude for each player. It's all there for the taking if you're willing to fight for it."
On the punting game: What are you going to do about punting, is there going to be a change here?
"He was awesome he wants to continue to do both; He said he had a bad day and he says he can do better. He can do better, you've seen him in practice, but it's just like anything else...practicing is not the same as going in the game and doing it. He's an elite player at what he does, I'm concerned about that. I want him to maintain that, I don't want him to have another burden; He wants to continue to punt and he thinks that he's the best option for the team at this point. Not out of disrespect for Kyle, but I am going to put Kyle in today and make a decision as the week goes on because I want to do what's best for the team and what's best for that individual. I am going to take his information and my thoughts and put them all together and by the end of the week make a decision."
Is Drayton out for the game?
"We won't make a final decision on that, he had a pulled groin and it all depends on how fast that comes around. Greg Laybourn went in and did a really nice job, made a ton of plays, Greg is a good football player and we know that, I'm very proud of him, I have been for two years. His approach, his toughness and he has always been really productive. He was our second leading special teams tackler a year ago and then at the last game he had 15 tackles, pretty impressive. We got the depth at that position but Daniel should be ready to go too. Because he is the same kind of guy, reliable, tough. We are better off with everybody healthy but we do have good depth but if need be Greg and Bryan Payton can fill in admirably."