First off, here’s my Wednesday GT story on Oregon State DT Brennan Olander being out for the next game and maybe longer. There are many more notes of interest, too.
Coach Mike Riley fielded a ton a questions Tuesday by the beat writers away from the cameras, so he was a little more upfront about answers.
There was a lot to talk about this week after the Beavers lost a should-have-won game to UCLA and must beat Washington State this Saturday to have any hope of making a bowl game.
What’s wrong offensively?
“We are not making a lot of mental mistakes, we are just not executing at many points. We just have to block a little bit better, stay on it a little longer and keep going. We are capable of it. We had good games when we are productive offensively.”
“The biggest thing for me is I see Cal one week and UCLA the next game, and we don’t find that consistency. That’s the Beavers’ biggest dilemma. We know our capability, but it’s proving it week to week. And frankly it’s not approach during the week. I would be making something up if I say we didn’t practice hard. Our preparation was good. When it comes to game time that’s when we have to produce.”
Is there a sense of urgency to win two of the next four?
“There’s always a sense of urgency for me. For me, every game feels like the Super Bowl. Every game is important to the opportunities that may come down the road. I’m not going to think about that, but find every way to win the next game. We still have a lot to do as football team, and a lot of improving to do because we haven’t been consistent.”
What about the players?
“I don’t talk about it. I never have. We just want to win the game. You are naive and unaware if you don’t know the situation. I just have to get our team ready to play on Saturday.”
Did the players relax last game because you though things were righted after the Cal win?
“I would be shocked if that was true. UCLA beat us. I hope that’s not the case, but it’s worth asking.”
What’s with the pass-heavy approach late last game?
“We have to get balanced in our game. When we are going well we are hitting our screens, play-actions and third downs easier. It’s execution. They are loading the box (against the run). That will to run the football and ability execute is big.”
Is the offensive line just the way it’s going to be?
“I always look for continued improvement. There’s room for growth and they are good kids. We got what we need there. We just have to keep working to improve. They are not blowing things. Our deal is, week to week, it’s hard to figure out. There no blame game, we just have to get better.”
Do teams just know what you are doing with the same old scheme?
“I would think not. We’ve beaten some good teams. What’s baffling for me, we had our best production games against Arizona and Cal, the two best defenses in the Pac-10. And Arizona State. We got it. I go back to it, consistency week to week is our biggest problem.”
You struggled with the blitz, so you expect the Cougars to come at you?
No question. If you don’t handle pressure, you are going to see that all night long. It’s not just pressure it’s losing one-on-ones with four-man rush. And Ryan (Katz) has to handle that better.”
Bottom line reading into this interview, the players are just not doing what needs to be done. Coaches can put them in the position to win, but they have to win.
If these guys are smart and work hard, what’s the problem? Part of it is a lack of bad attitude in playing with a chip on your shoulder. Part is being over matched.
A lot of it is being unlucky. It’s true a handful of plays would make OSU 5-0 in the Pac-10. Sometimes. Fans don’t want to hear it, but sometimes you are on the short end.