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Emerald Bowl Media Round-Up

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Some of the headlines that I haven't had a chance to cover this week:

OSU's Bowl Success Could be a Matter of Design
by Bob Clark
The Register-Guard

No Pac-10 team has more bowl triumphs over the past decade than the Beavers with their 4-2 record.

Riley himself is 3-0 as a head coach in bowls, with the Beavers winning the Las Vegas, Insight and Sun since he returned for a second tenure as the head coach.

The coach said if it's something he does right, it comes from what he learned as an assistant coach to John Robinson at USC in the 1990s. During that time, the Trojans were also 3-0 in bowls, and Robinson's overall bowl record at USC was 7-1.

"We copied almost the same format that coach Robinson has used," Riley said of bowl preparations.

The essence of that seems to be don't concentrate on the opponent too soon, and give the players some breaks from the tedium of another three weeks of drills, way too long to prepare for one game.

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Oregon State's Riley is the king of comebacks
by Patrick Stevens
The Washington Times

Riley took over the Beavers in 1997 at the tail end of 28 consecutive losing seasons. And while Oregon State didn't snap the streak in two seasons before he left to take over the San Diego Chargers, the pieces were in place for Dennis Erickson to reach three bowls in four years.

Meanwhile, Riley lasted three years in San Diego and resurfaced the next season as an assistant in New Orleans. But he wanted to return to the West Coast, and Oregon State remained a near-perfect scenario. He grew up in Corvallis, Ore., while his father was an assistant coach, and the Beavers' job opened again when Erickson bolted for the San Francisco 49ers.

"I went on missionary work for four years and landed back here, which is a very unique thing in football to return," Riley said. "I was really, really pleased that they had an open mind. A lot of times you burn bridges, and I really appreciated they had an open mind and that things worked."

It was a homecoming that paralleled the return of Ralph Friedgen to Maryland in 2001 after 15 years away from College Park. And it has been just as successful, in part because of a resiliency that surfaces nearly every year.

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Keeping a Close Bond
by Cliff Kirkpatrick
The Gazette Times

he Emerald Bowl matchup will bring together teams that have never met, but in an odd turn of events it also reunited two old friends.

Oregon State junior offensive guard Adam Speer is a childhood friend of Maryland sophomore quarterback Chris Turner.

They went to different distant locations from their West Hills, Calif., homes for college. Their families stayed in contact so they could keep up on what the other was doing, but they lost touch once Speer went to OSU.

"It's weird he ended up in Maryland and we don't usually get to play an (Atlantic Coast Conference) team, and now our paths crossed again," Speer said. "It's a great coincidence."

As soon as the bowl game matchup was announced Dec. 2, they contacted each other, talking on the phone and e-mailing.

It was time to catch up.

"Chris Tuner was my high school quarterback my junior and senior years; and he threw for thousands of yards for us and was a good quarterback," Speer said. "We were good buddies. My dad talks to his dad every week."

The friendship of their fathers is as unlikely as the Beavers meeting the Terrapins. Bill Speer works in law enforcement and John Turner was the original drummer for the Heavy Metal band Ratt, before it made it big in the mid-1980s.

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Injuries: Good and Bad News
by Cliff Kirkpatrick
The Gazette Times

Quarterback Sean Canfield continues to throw well, coming back from a Nov. 3 injury to his throwing shoulder. He hasn't been cleared to play in the game yet, but coach Mike Riley expects he'll be the backup.

Left guard Jeremy Perry suited up, but didn't practice much. He's still nursing a broken lower leg from the Aug. 30 season opener.

"He's going to play," Riley said. "We just can't be too cautious with him during the week."

Adam Speer practiced at left guard and Gregg Peat was at right guard. If Perry can't play, that's the lineup. If he can, Speer moves back to the right side.

[...]

Senior flanker Anthony Brown has been resting a quad injury since the Dec. 1 Civil War. He tried to go full speed Monday and aggravated the problem.

[...]

Freshman James Rodgers would take Brown's place. The other freshman is Darrell Catchings, who started seven games at split end.

Kickoff returner and special teams standout Gerard Lawson returned to practice after missing two weeks due to back pain.

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Riley Loves what he sees in San Francisco
by Mike Tokito
The Oregonian

f you didn't know better, you'd think Mike Riley had quit as Oregon State football coach to join the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.

"I love being in San Francisco with our team for a number of reasons," Riley said. "One of them is it's a great, great city that they (the players) should see in their lifetime."

But a chance to play tourist in one of the world's great cities is just the beginning of the benefits for Riley's Beavers as they prepare to play Maryland in the Emerald Bowl on Friday. There's also a chance at a full-circle finish for two of OSU's key seniors, to score a few points in a key recruiting area and to top off the season with an ironic twist.....

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GO BEAVERS!