Former Beaver and Duck Rich Brooks, also a former rival of Louisville, visited Oregon St.'s practice yesterday, and Coach Mike Riley was on 95.5 The Game this morning.
Brooks (above with Mike Riley [OSU photo]), who was a player and coach for the Beavers before moving on to his more famous stint as coach at Oregon, gave the team a short pep talk during a break in practice, including mention of the incredible opportunity the OSU team is being afforded in playing TCU at Cowboys Stadium to open the season. Brooks, who finished his coaching career by reviving the Kentucky program, Louisville's in-state rival, concluded with a too colorful to quote remark about the Beavers beating the Cardinals ... soundly.
In one final important piece of business, after practice Jordan Bishop won the Beavers' famous annual Rock, Paper, Scissors competition, knocking off (rock...) Dominic Glover for the championship.
This morning, the conversation on 95.5 The Game, like all discussions about the Beavers' prospects this season, started with new quarterback Ryan Katz. Riley recognizes the importance of the issue, but his comments show not only his confidence in Katz, but shed light on what he bases that on.
"Everything comes out of Ryan Katz's hand real easily. He can throw with not a lot of room around him, out of a little box back there, which is real football, what guys have to do."
Jake touched on Riley's response to how Oregon St. has been addressing their tendency to slow starts, even without the need to break in a new signal caller, and Riley also mentioned a more subtle change, intended to address concerns about the complication factor of the Oregon St. system
"I hope we're not too complicated. We have had a pattern where our QBs, Sean Canfield, Matt Moore, Derek Anderson, all have had good senior years. However, we have changed up how we install plays, trying to make it easier to understand plays.
It's really important to make sure the package is comfortable for the guy, and yet you still have to have enough that it challenges the defense. We've thought about it a lot in this past year."
Riley also remarked about the progress Keith Pankey has made in recovering from his torn Achilles.
"Keith getting back is very important to our success. I'm really proud and impressed with how he has worked to get back."
The 95.5 crew, Dwight Jaynes and Chad Doing, also explored the made for ESPN dollars extravaganza season opener against TCU in Cowboys Stadium, and Riley touched on several considerations.
"(Athletic Director) Bob De Carolis said 'You better be careful with this, you've already got Louisville and Boise St.' when the possibility came up. I look at it as agreat chance to start off with a bang. But lets look at both sides of it. A loss doesn't have to be a life sentence."
Riley was referring to 2008, and the lopsided loss to Penn St., which came immediately before the wins over Hawaii, and of course, USC.
"I can learn a lot about where we need to go from a game like this."
Riley was also realistic about all the factors involved.
"Bob sad 'Don't let the dollars enter into whether to play the game or not.' I do know it has to enter into it though. A lot of other things enter into it as well. The opportunity to play in a great place is special."
In conclusion, Doing, well known for his tendency to the wild side, made an offer to support Oregon St. the Beavers may want to think though carefully. As some may know, during a press conference last week involving Riley and TCU coach Gary Patterson, a reporter from "RawhideSportsNation" asked about whether any players or cheerleaders would be wearing "ass-less chaps" for the game, an inquiry both Patterson and Riley deftly steered around.
Doing, who never steered around a controversial subject in his life, offered to go to wear such an item of apparel, more politely known as "Cheek Chillers", in Dallas in support of the Beavers. Jaynes and Antonio Harvey have even offered to pay to fly Chad down, so it won't cost Oregon St. anything!
Sorry, SB Nation rules about photo usage don't allow full disclosure of how this might work, but Riley did advise that Doing might need to "Be like a streaker, sneak out there and go for it."
Doing asked "Will you have my back after I get caught? Riley's response was "Don't count on it!"