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Mike Riley Meets the Press :: August 18

Riley, as well as a few players, met with the press on Monday to discuss this week's game. Riley's responses are below, but you can read comments from Joey LaRocque, Derrick Doggett, Yvenson Bernard, Curtis Coker, and Sean Canfield on the newly redesigned OSU website.

About Arizona State and the beginning of the Pac-10 season.
"It's going to be a big game.  It's a great time of the year, the conference opener, everybody is excited about that.  It is important that we get off to a good start in our conference.  It's a road game for us which we failed at miserably the last time we tried.  We have a lot of things that are big for our team.  Let alone that Arizona State is playing well, playing with confidence.  And as I have seen them they are a very physical football team.  They can run the ball, they have an experienced playmaking quarterback that has thrown for a lot of yards in his career.  They have their defense playing as good as I've seen them play in quite a few years."

About Sean Canfield entering the Pac-10 season.
"I think he looks good.  As we stated earlier Sean was able to make some plays.  I think that every time a quarterback can do that, it is a confirmation for him in what he is doing and  what we are doing, putting that all together and making some throws.  Now the competition will increase dramatically.  But he sees that it is all there.  I think that playing that game, completing passes like he did, and not throwing an interception were very good things."

About Sammie Stroughter and his play.
"It's good to see Sammie first of all just growing from where he was a month ago.  That was fun to see.  I saw that before the game even started.  I think the next part of that is that he was productive.  He has had games like that before but it was the first time this year that we saw those plays coming from Sammie and it was also good to see some balance.  Our receiver on the other side caught eight balls and made a lot of plays.  Those were all good signs.  Have we arrived yet offensively?  It's too early to say that but they were good signs."

About Yvenson Bernard's play the last two games and what is expected of him going forward.
"His contribution is immensely important to what we are going to do.  I think that he is excited all of the time.  It was pretty obvious for all of you to see that as we got going we were going to take advantage of some things we could do in the passing game.  So he did not get as many carries early that he would normally get but those things will change."

On the stinger injury to Bernard's shoulder.
"I think he is fine.  He ran on Sunday and appears to be 100 percent."

About Arizona quarterback Rudy Carpenter and what he means to that offense.
"I have a lot of respect for him.  I have seen him a number of times throughout the time that he has been at Arizona State.  It seems like he has been there a long time and has played a lot of football for them.  And I like his style, he is a gutty playmaking quarterback that has a good arm and like I said he had thrown a lot of passes in our league."

Is a good performance on the road against a team like Arizona State what you are looking for from the offense?
"Those are the games that we are looking at now, all the rest of them are going to be like this.  Every game will be a challenge that way and will also be confirmation as to how we are doing."

Has Canfield solidified the starting position and what is the situation with the quarterbacks going forward?
"Sean is definitely our starting quarterback and we are also pleased with the play of Lyle Moevao.  As I have said throughout this process I think we are getting two guys that are going to be very good quarterbacks for us as we go down the next few years for the Beavers."

Does this team have any unanswered questions?
"We have to prove it.  There is no announcing how good you are, we have to go prove it.  We won't know until we play this week and then we will go from there."

Thoughts on Derek Anderson and his performance in the NFL.
"I am really excited for him.  I can't tell you how much fun that was to see.  I did not see the game but I saw the stats come across the board.  I think that is really exciting.  I don't mean to be a hindsight guy who says I told you so, but I always thought that he was very capable of playing in that league and being productive."

On Oregon States record at Arizona State with the last win coming in 1969.
"I was talking to somebody and told them that we hadn't won in Tempe since 1969 and they said `oh no, the Fiesta Bowl and the Insight Bowl.'  Unfortunately those were not against Arizona State.  We try not to dwell on that but there have been a lot of strings around here that have been busted down over the last ten years here.  So this is one more that is hanging out there so we have to go down there and get a win."

On concern about the running game and the blocking in front of it.
"To think that we can play a one dimensional game in the first quarter like we did against Idaho State is not realistic.  We are going to have to get that balance.  Going back to Utah, that was one factor that appeared to be pretty stable.  I don't think that we have run like that in an opening game before early in the year against a good opponent.  So that was encouraging, but since then it has been sporadic and we need to be much more consistent."

On how Oregon State will respond to teams loading the box to stop the run.
"That is why we have been talking about our main emphasis being balance for a long time but particularly after the Cincinnati game about how important all of that is together.  One without the other is not going to be the way to play.  I don't think that we are unusual in that way in fact I think Arizona State is like that.  They have balance, they are running the ball really well and they are making a lot of plays throwing the ball.  That makes it more and more difficult.  It's pretty simple but it is not that easy to obtain.  We had a good running game, I think we have had a bad game and I think we have had one good passing game.  Can we put the passing and the running together and leave out the middle, that remains to be seen."

About playing a team coached by Dennis Erickson and how that relates to the game.
"I think it is a lot bigger deal to people outside than it is to Dennis and me.  Dennis has a good job and I know he is excited about his program.  I know I am really excited about our program and being back at Oregon State and that's probably it.  I think that any talk about that is probably not amongst the coaches.  It makes for good papers out there but it's not a factor for us.  We are looking at their team and what they do and it is obvious that they are doing a nice job, he is making an impact already at Arizona State with that team and that is not surprising.  I have a ton of respect for him and I like Dennis.  He is a great guy and a good coach.  But the other part of it is that we both left here, I was fortunate enough to come back and he is coaching in another place.  He is probably excited about that I know I am excited about this."