The following is the edited transcript of Oregon State football coach Mike Riley from Tuesday’s press conference. It’s edited down because there were a few oddball questions, so I’m sparing you.
On to the questions.
Is there anything different this year with the helmets popping off so easily?
“It seems like there’s an increase, but I haven’t noticed anything. I don’t think anything changed but the equipment is better year to year. If someone grabs your facemask and yanks it off, it’s going to come off.”
Fans look at the USC game as a good loss, do you?
“Fans perception is whatever. It’s important for our team that we want to win. Then we have to acknowledge the good and correct the bad. At this stage that’s all we have to do with USC. We lost and were disappointed. Everyone can talk about that it was a good football game. We have to go on.”
How is the offensive line doing?
“They’ve made steady growth and worked hard. Mike Cavanaugh is doing a great job with them. Our sack totals are down because our line is doing better, our tight ends are involved, our backs are in involved and our quarterback is being decisive. All those things fit together. We are more crisp. And we are getting good balance, run-pass. Our versatility is attributed to the line.”
How’s QB Sean Canfield doing?
“It shows the development of the player at the position, and the comfort level. We all have to remember Sean missed a long period time with an injury. In the last three weeks he has played the best he has been here. It has to do with confidence and growth. That’s the nature of the position. You don’t want to go what-if, but what if he didn’t miss a year of football?”
What do you want to improve this week?
“It’s about the game prep. Every guy can be challenged with different things they can work on. For some guys it’s tackling or blocking. It’s a variety of things. It’s a never-ending process. Then with that, fitting what we are doing against UCLA. It’s a natural progress so everybody can get better.”
UCLA uses three QBs, is that hard to prepare for?
“You just have to be generally prepared. They’ll go with who has the hot hand in practice or the game. We have to prepare what we see in total. I don’t know if there’s anything different in what they do with those guys.”
Will it be hard to convince the players to take UCLA seriously?
“It’s important we do that every day. If we don’t, you won’t hear it from us. That’s a bad cop-out. We have to give it our best shot, and get better this week. Like I said this is a defining moment for our season. There are no excuses.”
You are tied for the fewest sacks in the country. Are you concerned with the continued lack of production there?
“We are still working for that kind of production. What we have to remember we had two special guys who were seniors a year ago that were good at it and not necessarily that kind of producers when they were younger. They were good and you could see it coming. They grew into what they did. And these guys will. We have some good talent there. We have a lot of guys grinding there and getting better. We just have to keep doing what we do, work with these guys and look for that production to come. Our assignments are generally good. These guys are giving us all they got.”
What are your thoughts on UCLA?
“They’ve always been well-coached. We are not assuming anything about this group. We’ve looked at the film and were very impressed. We need a good plan and good execution. There are going to be difficulties here. They’ve got weapons. UCLA has a lot of athletes. There’s no reason to take these guys lightly.”
What are your thoughts on UCLA CB Rahim Moore?
“He plays well within what they do. He has good ball skills in the secondary. I’ve seen him make good catches. He’s one of those guys who is around the ball all the time.”
What are you happy about with this team?
“We’ve had growth. We’ve played a lot of good football. We are building confidence and have a chance to build more momentum with that confidence. We need to see continued hard work, and we’ll see a good identity from this team.
Where is the leadership coming from this team?
“It’s collective. We have a solid, small, but solid group of seniors such as Gregg Peat or Keaton Kristick. They are very good examples. Sean is a very, very good example. It’s the people and the collective.”
Did special teams coach Bruce Read take that punt return for a TD hard?
“It’s important to get on the next game, for coaches, too. There are things that fuel coaches that stay in the back of you mind. And this will always be one for Bruce. And I think Bruce is tremendous. He takes that thing, breaks it down and uses if for teaching.”