Mike Riley gave his players plenty of time to visit with family and friends
during the week long layoff, but it was back to work Monday. Despite the layoff,
it was business as usual for the men in black as they got back into the swing
"As far as practice, yesterday I was very impressed with the work,"
Riley said. "The time we spent, and just getting back into it. I didn't
feel like we really spent a lot of time doing that. It seemed like business
as usual, which was good, and we practiced hard."
Although Riley was pleased with his team's focus, he realizes the true test
will be on Saturday night against the 3-3 Huskies. Many of our purple friends
up north are calling for head coach Keith Gilerbertson's head after Washington's
28-17 loss at home against Nevada last weekend.
When the Husky two game losing streak is coupled with the Beavers four game
winning streak, a national ranking, and a Heisman candidate, Saturday's game
looks like it is going to be a blowout. The Las Vegas odds makers agree as they
have the Black Bandits favored by 10.
With the added publicity and distractions it is easy for Beaver players, boosters,
and fans to overlook a tough Washington team.
"This game coming up has nothing to do with the past; it's all about this
one ball game," Riley said. "We know they have to have it (the game)
and we know they are very capable. Our concern is what they do and how they
do it, and us preparing for it."
Washington features a variety of explosive players including quarterback Cody Pickett, wide receiver Reggie Williams, and running back Rich Alexis.
"You're talking about a multi-faceted game, and when they put it together
they can be outstanding," Riley said. "They were picked to be one
of the best teams not just in the conference, but the nation. So we just can't
fall into any traps; this will be a tough football game and their backs are
against the wall."
"They're a pretty multiple offensive football team, and they haven't changed
too much. An I-back or single-back running team, they'll do both. Then they
spread the ball around, have bootleg passes, play-action passes...pretty versatile,
all-around offensive football team
A good foundation for Washington to build on is their defensive line, which
Riley hails as the most physical line OSU has seen the year. "They're very
active up front. It's probably the best defensive front, physically, that we've
seen. And they have a number of different ways to pressure you, so it's going
to be a major mental game for us."
This year has been full of surprises as every week another undefeated team
in dethroned. If the Beavers look past the Washington game, they could get burned.
"You can look at the scoreboard every Saturday night and there will be
many different surprises from around the nation," Riley said. "It
just shows you that you have to go play the game, you have to play your best,
and if you're not focusing on that Saturday, then you're liable to have a bad
But the Beavers have an excellent home field advantage at Reser winning their
last 26 of 29 in the friendly confines. An orange filled atmosphere that Riley
loves. "I think the atmosphere here is great, and it is hard for opponents
to play here. On Saturday night we'll have a great atmosphere, and they (the
fans) definitely contribute to helping the Beavers win."
Reser will most certainly be rocking Saturday night as the Beavers take on
the Huskies on national television at 7:00 PM.
- Riley and and six of his coaches spent the majority of the bye-week traveling
to high schools along the west coast looking at high school prospects. Riley
attended five games.
- Strong safety Lawrence Turner twisted his knee in practice during the week
and did not practice on Monday, but is expected to start Saturday.
- Running back Steven Jackson has is wisdom teeth pulled this week and will
be ready for Saturday.
- Riley weighs in on the Heisman campaign debate: "What we have to do
is take care of Saturday night. There's enough stuff there that we just have
to take care of our thing. If we do, then obviously Steven is doing well,
and then we'll see what happens. But I don't think there's anything we need
to do or need to speculate, and I have a sense that's the truth."