Coaches Corner - Utah at Oregon State

Head coaches Mike Riley and Kyle Whittingham talk about their team, their opponent, Sammie Stroughter and keys to the game.

On their team
MR “We are excited about game week. We’ve had an excellent camp, in a lot of ways and the best thing about it had been the focus of the players. We’ve gotten good physical football work. The lack of distractions has been very, very good.”

"We feel that our guys are ready to go. We've been erroring on keeping our guys fresh during camp, and hopefully that pays dividends. Brian Johnson has looked sharp, and we have 10 returning starters on offense. The secondary was a big question going into camp and they've made strides. We've brought them as far along as we can as a coaching staff but now we need to get them in the game."


On their opponent
MR Offense - “Now we’ve got Utah. They’ve been a top program now for a few years. They hit the national spot light. They present a number of problems with their offense, their versatility, personnel groups, their formations; their backup quarterbacks become the 12th man as a running back, an extra guy to run the football. I think we’ll see the gamut of things and probably some new stuff from them as they’ve developed.”

Defense - “Defensively they have always played very good, sound defense. In their package they have a mixed bag of stuff also. They go from a 4-4-3 to a 3-4 and depending on the team their playing they’ll major in sometimes man to man, sometimes in zone, sometimes in cover two.”


Offense - "They return the second-leading rushing in the Pac 10. He's not big but he's quick and he's fast. We're going to have our hands full, that's for sure."

Defense - "Defensively, Oregon State led the Pac 10 in sacks and was one of the top teams in the nation in tackles for a loss."


MR “Sammie came to the meetings and the walk through yesterday. And I wouldn’t read too much into it yet as far as playing time, I’m not. I think he came out and had fun the other day. And I’m not going any further with it than that. This is all on his time and it will be his time and his family’s decision. There are no parameters on his return.”

"We don't know (if Stroughter will play). We're planning on that he plays. And, if he does, that makes them more potent."


On their quarterbacks
MR “I don’t see why they both can’t play well. I have noticed a kind of a growing confidence in both of them; as the last 3 or 4 days of practice have occurred I have felt a good feeling from both of them. And like I said initially, I wanted to pick a quarterback and they never really allowed that, or separated from each other. And in the mean time, I think that when they heard how we were going to do it, they got ready to go separately and their doing a nice job and I like what I see and I really have a sense that they can and will both play well.”

“Our guys do well a little differently. It works only if those two guys make it work. They have to continue to compete and mostly they have to really prepare to play quarterback. There has got to be a lot of trust involved, between all the parties. When you’ve decided that these guys are close enough they should both play, those intangible things take over and that really is the key to success.”


"It's a great time to have Brian Johnson back. However, it's not the Brian Johnson show. It takes 10 other guys to support him. We have a great offensive line in front of him. Zane Beadles has had a seamless transition to the offensive line, and Corey Seiuli is comfortable at guard. We have the right guys at the right spots. I think we have one of the best front lines."


Keys to the game
MR “Us finding balance. We can run the ball and we have the makings and a proven commodity in running the football, but we can’t be one dimensional. The final goal is to be a balance. Meaning that we are effective running and throwing on first and second down and we all know what we have to do on the 3rd down.”

"If I were Oregon State, I would look at the 2005 season. I'd have it cut up, broken down and analyzed. But, they're smart coaches and I'm sure they've already done that. When you look at the offense, the quarterback is what you want to look at. "


LINKS: Riley meets the press | Whittingham meets the press

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