Riley on what the Beaver D needs most

OREGON STATE’s defense has had some slippage of late - not just in the Cal game but in the contests against Stanford and Utah. The areas they most need to shore up this week in practice on the Beaver stop corps? Mike Riley ticked them off one by one on a Tuesday conference call.

Oregon State surrendered 269 ground yards against Cal. The biggest culprit?

“We really got hurt on the edge,” said Mike Riley. “I was disappointed in our edge defense – both in the quarterback escaping and with the perimeter running game.

“We got cut out there, we didn’t get defeat blocks, we couldn’t stay on our feet. I think that was the biggest deal.”

Riley said Cal’s ability to run the ball and the balance of their offense, “really kept us off balance” in terms of the pass rush.

“And we didn’t do a good job with gap responsibility,” said Riley.

OSU simply wasn’t as stout up the gut either.

“We did miss on a couple inside runs,” said Riley. “Some gaps we didn’t get the guy closing fast enough, we missed some one-on-one tackles.”

Riley did sound confident the Beavs can get back to where they were earlier this season on D.

“We’d been playing some pretty good defense, we’d been tackling pretty well. But the last couple of weeks we’ve kinda slid in that area,” said Riley.

Also an encouraging note in the wake of a three-game losing streak – Riley said the players are not hanging their heads.

“I think the main thing about that is just pride in what you’re doing,” said Riley. “This is a pretty good group… I haven’t noticed any downturn in the enthusiasm for the preparation.

“We get their attention, they buy in and we go practice. And that’s gotta be the way it’s done.”

Among the leaders helping to reinforce Riley’s message throughout the team, naturally, is Sean Mannion now the all-time career Pac-12 passer with 12,454 yards.

But there are others, too, especially when it comes to defense.

Dylan Wynn is great that way and then Ryan Murphy is really well respected, as is Michael Doctor and (Jabral) Johnson,” said Riley.

Oregon State hosts Washington State on Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

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