Riley knows pressure is on

Mike Riley has had plenty of positive things to say about Arizona, but also knows Oregon State must win. Read on to see his thoughts on the game, Arizona, and more.

Arizona gets an opportunity to right the ship this Saturday against an Oregon State squad that has been equally as disappointing as the Wildcats over the first five weeks of the college football campaign. Beavers' head coach Mike Riley knows it's a big game for both sides this Saturday and is aware of the Wildcats biggest threat – its passing game.

"We've got, obviously, another big Pac-12 game with Arizona," Riley said. "It's going to be very, very challenging. When you look at their offense, it's pretty interesting. They've got Nick Foles, who I think is one of the best passers in this league for a long time. He's accurate, he's quick-release, he's got great vision, he stays alive, he doesn't get sacked very much, he knows where the check-downs are and he finds people as he's getting hit. He's very resourceful, is the best way to say it. And he's good."

Riley also understands UA has had a very tough schedule in the early going. He believes that Arizona has shown a little resiliency in certain games and the Wildcats talented receiving corps gives them the opportunity to stay in most contests.

"They have a good receiving core and they're never out of a game," Riley said. "They've had a tough schedule. I think they've played at least three teams in the top 10: Stanford, Oregon, and Oklahoma State, and then they played USC. They've been in very good company. They've been down, but never out, and they've come back tremendously."

UA's offense has primarily been successful when the passing game is efficient. Riley believes he will see plenty of passes, but also anticipates a little more of the run from Arizona, which looked slightly improved against the Trojans this past weekend.

"It's going to be a 60-minute game and there are going to be a lot of balls in the air," Riley said. "They're actually running the ball better than they did earlier. They had some good runs against USC and did a nice job. It's a big challenge."

The Wildcats have a well-rounded group of wideouts that have put up pretty good numbers. Riley attributes that to Foles' ability to spread the wealth on the football field.

"That's Nick Foles," Riley said. "That's what he can do. He knows where everybody is. He stays alive and those guys keep working for him. He just appears to be one of those people that finds the open man."

The Beavers traveled to Tucson last season to give UA its first loss of the 2010 campaign. Despite having key players back this season for both teams, Riley sees completely different squads heading into this affair.

"They had Nick still throwing the ball," Riley said. "And they had two great defensive ends who were a handful, who both got drafted, I think. Everybody changes a little bit personality-wise and team-wise, so we have two new teams this year playing each other. It's been a very tough rivalry. I have really appreciated these games with Arizona. They've all taken on different tones through the years I suppose, but all very hard fought."

It is pretty well known that UA wants to beat the opposition through the air, but Riley isn't sure how the Wildcats are going to attack his team on either side of the ball.

"We don't know what their approach will be," Riley said. "So we have to look at it not only what they do and have done, we have to look at ourselves and what we have to do better.

"Obviously, we have to try to run better. We'll be better if we can run more effectively for sure, and it will take a lot of burden off our linemen, as much as anything, where they can tee off and block a little bit instead of always pass protecting – that's a tough way to live."

Neither team is off to a very good start this season. The two programs have a combined overall record of 1-8 entering Saturday's matchup, but Riley is preparing for it the same way he approaches every game.

"Even if your record is good, you feel that same pressure to win the game," Riley said. "I think that if we're going to practice what we preach to our team, we're going to live in this bubble and get ready to win the game, and that's all we're thinking about."

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