Riley/Erickson - Focus is on their teams

Reser Stadium is sometimes referred to as the "house that Dennis built" and rightfully so. In four years at Oregon State Dennis Erickson compiled a 31-17 record, including an 11-1 season, a BCS victory and a top 5 national ranking.

Reser Stadium is sometimes referred to as the “house that Dennis built” and rightfully so. In four years at Oregon State Dennis Erickson compiled a 31-17 record, including an 11-1 season, a BCS victory and a top 5 national ranking.

“Oregon State means a heck of a lot to me,” Erickson said. “I had the opportunity to coach there for four years. I’m kind of like an alumnus going back there.”

Several members of the Idaho coaching staff were at Oregon State with Erickson while one coach, Jonathan Smith, has his name inked all over the Beaver football record books.

“Jonathan and I have a lot in common,” Erickson said. “We had a lot of fun and had a lot of success and hopefully left something for the university. Now to go back and to have to play there, it’s going to be very, very emotional.”

Erickson always has a good quote and was one of the persons responsible for pushing Beaver Nation to embrace bright orange clothing. The culmination came in 2000 when 40,000, more than Reser Stadium could hold at the time, fans flooded the Fiesta Bowl.

“There are great fans there; it’s a great university,” Erickson said.

A disgruntled orange and black fan base has some talking about bringing Erickson back to Corvallis. Mike Riley is on the hot seat and must win this game if we wants to keep his job. Coaching against Erickson adds pressure to the situation, but Riley says all the focus is on his team.

“Frankly, our focus has been totally on our own team,” Riley said. “We live kind of in a capsule of working with our own team. The outside world doesn’t distract us from what we have to do within our ranks, which is: We didn’t play well in our last game and we’re anxious to have another opportunity to play.”

Although his focus is on his team, he does realize the added pressure, but sees it in a positive light.

“It definitely adds – in a positive way,” Riley said. “He did a great job at Oregon State and I’m proud to have been able to precede him and then take back over again in our crazy world of football.”

And while Erickson is looking forward to his return to the Mid Valley, it is a side note as he prepares his team and builds the University of Idaho football program.

“Hopefully when this ones over, I don’t have to go on that tour any longer and we can concentrate on what we need to get done here at the University of Idaho,” Erickson said. “My biggest concern is our football team. The direction that we’re going in now. We have a lot of work to do. We’re making some progress. We just have to continue to do that. The attention should be on our team and not where I’ve been.”

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Dan Norz can be reached at webmaster@beaverfootball.com.


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