Mike Riley on The Fan

Mike Riley, assistant coach of the New Orleans, Saints talked with John Lund and Marc Amazon of the Big Show on 910 The Fan Wednesday evening.

Riley is the former coach of the Oregon State football team and is credited with helping the resurrection of the program. Riley left the Beavers after the 1998 season to take the head-coaching job at San Diego.

During Riley's first season, the Chargers went 8-8, including wins in the last 4 out of 5 games. In 2000 the Chargers lost 6 games by a total of 12 points amidst a 11-game losing streak.

The Chargers began the 2001 season hot by winning the first 5 out of 7 games, but finished up the 2001 season with 9 straight losses, including a heart breaking defeat to the Seattle Seahawks on a 54-yd field goal.

Riley compiled a 14-43 (.246) record during three seasons with the Chargers.

Shortly after, the New Orleans Saints hired the former Beaver head coach as an assistant coach. In addition to performing as the assistant coach Riley is currently coaching the defensive backs.

The New Orleans assistant coach was in a jovial mood throughout the twenty-minute interview with Lund and Amazon. Riley talked about the Saints, Beaver Football, and James Allen.

A brief synopsis by OrangeAttack follows:

I'm paraphrasing most of this:

He's happy, loves N.O. and enjoying the city. His biggest priority as the new secondary coach is improving the redzone defense and the big play prevention that gave the Saints fits last year. He's happy to have one of his former USC kids, Sammie Knight. Knight doesn't have the 40 speed or the measurables, but "all he is, is a player".

The reorganization of the divisions due to the expansion leaves the Saint's division much more physical and smash mouth, he feels-- not having to face the Niners and Rams this year will be nice.

He didn't sound too thrilled with Deuce McAllistar being the featured back, though he did say that Deuce is a good all-around football player. The tone and tenor of the comment sounded more like he didn't think of Deuce as an every-down back... just my reading between the lines.

The receiving corps looks much better this year and will provide Aaron Brooks a lot better targets with the addition of Vols standout Donte Stallworth and Jerome Pathon. Had very good things to say about Aaron Brooks... a "great talent".

Riley also talked about how excited he was to have James Allen: said that Allen has a bright future ahead of him, is going to shine on special teams this year, and is being groomed as a future starter. Very high on JA. Will run and hit, and was "real excited" when N.O. drafted #34.

On the Pac 10 and Oregon State: Riley still watches OSU tape and used the OSU-USC game tape as an evaluator for a couple of Trojans he was looking at. Doesn't know much about this team since most of his guys are gone, but said that last year's team was a lot better than the record reflected, he thought. Thought we should have beaten the ducks. Said that the balance of power has shifted to the NW, and it doesn't necessarily have to change-- the NW four can stay on top. However, with the parity in the Pac 10 now, any team can hit their peak in the cycle and put together a great team ala WSU. But once you start winning, the kids will come, even if you're an "off-the-beaten-path" school like OSU and WSU.

That was about it, in a nutshell. Not a bad interview... good to hear from Riley, and I hope he does well and someday returns to Corvallis and the Beaver nation.

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