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‘I really don’t like these guys’

Keaton Kristick talked turkey, and gave his opinion on tonight's Civil War in his column for the Sporting News Today.

Thanksgiving was lots of fun. I hung out with Coach (Mike) Riley and his family. They made a meal for a few of us. I got to sit next to Coach Riley at the dinner table-that was the highlight of my Thanksgiving. He's really down to earth and a family guy. He stays true to his values and is just a good person.

We talked football a little bit-Thanksgiving football and whatnot. But aside from that, it was just a relaxing day. He was talking about how he didn't go into the office that day. It was nice.

It didn't take long to get down to the good stuff Wednesday morning.

Oh yeah, that Oregon game. I've been asked about it so many times, and it truly means a lot to the entire Corvallis community. You can feel it-it's electric in Corvallis. Wednesday morning there were some Ducks fans out protesting or something, making noise when I was trying to go to class.

On to the task at hand.

But it's all good, and I'm excited to play this game.

Last year's loss to Oregon was upsetting for the whole team, but for the seniors especially, knowing it was their last opportunity. Our coaches advised us to put ourselves in their shoes and do what we can this year to prepare and learn from last year. I think we've done that. We've practiced hard, and we couldn't ask for a better setting for a game.

At Autzen Stadium there's a constant hum. It's the noise. You just have to block it out. It isn't that big of a deal for the defense. You can still hear, but it gets pretty loud, probably about as loud as Reser Stadium at its loudest.

Kristick has an interesting take on the familiar Oregon quarterback's speed.

Oregon has some good athletes. I've told people that Jeremiah Masoli runs how I would run if I  ever got the ball: a little finesse mixed with some power. It'll be fun playing against athletes like that.

The rivalry has also grown on Keaton.

The Civil War is really big in Oregon. In Arizona, where I'm from, the rivalry isn't that big between Arizona and Arizona State. So coming into a rivalry like this is amazing.

People like to make assumptions about how Oregon State is, and how Oregon is. I like to think we're somewhat similar. The only difference I can really see is in the two college towns. Aside from that, we're pretty similar people. Everyone travels down from the same city, Portland, for the most part. And a lot of people like to label us as this blue-collar team with inferior athletes. I like to tell them we do work hard, but we also have a lot of athletes on our team that people really don't see.

My first two years, I really had no reason to hate Oregon-there's no reason to hate them when you're winning the Civil War. But after losing the last one, it kind of sunk in: I really don't like  these guys. I have to do what I have to do because this is my last opportunity to play against them. I'd hate to go out with a sour taste in my mouth.

- As told to Jim Ryan


Getting close to time for Kristick to lock the sights on!