NOTE: If you want to watch it instead of reading it, go to
pac-10.org, click on the "Live Video from Pac-10 Media Day" on the right
side and fast forward to 2:25:14.
MR: "First of all I am very proud to bring Keaton with me. Keaton has been an outstanding linebacker for us out of Phoenix. He was just voted a team captain by the biggest margin that I have ever seen. He is very well respected in our program and a very, very productive player.
MR: "We are looking forward to a great year in a tough conference. I am going on seven years back at Oregon State and I see our conference as growing and getting better top to bottom all of the time so every game is as tough as it gets. We have lost a lot of good players. We actually had seven players drafted off of our our team so we are looking to fill a lot of our holes, but we are excited about spring ball and some of the guys that moved into those spots and are getting ready to go.
On the offense.
MR: "A big question mark always has been the healthy of Jacquizz and James Rodgers - both of those guys are 100% going into fall camp. Our quarterback Lyle Moevao had offseason surgery and he is doing well. He should be healthy by the first game. Sean Canfield had a very good spring. He has played a lot of quarterback for us so I am hoping by the time the first game comes around we will have two healthy senior quarterbacks that can both win in our league."
On the defense.
MR: "Defensively we lost our whole secondary. I think we have some good kids there that have developed during spring ball. Fall camp will be very big for them. We always have a good group of linebackers led by Keaton. We lost two defensive ends that were both drafted but we have guys that have played in ball games and are looking forward to taking over those starting roles. It is an exciting time of year going into fall camp. We are looking forward to all of those challenges that this season will bring."
(Riley asks if they are any questions, there is a long pause. After a while Keaton says, "Alright, let's get out of here." Pretty funny.)
Q: Discuss the importance of having three of first four games at home.
MR: "We have had rough starts for the last two or three years. Some of it has to do with the opponents we have played, but also with the fact that we were finding out who we were. Finding that identity and getting off to a good start would be a great thing for the Beavers this year."
Q: Out of the incoming class this year, who is this year's Quizz?
MR: "We didn't know who last year's Rodgers would be right at this time. It is a good class that we have coming in. I don't know who is going to emerge as that guy. I like to be able to redshirt players. I don't know who the impacting new player will be. It might not be with the incoming class because if we can redshirt them then it would be good to be able to do it. We will just have to wait and see as camp unfolds if there is a freshman that will play that kind of factor."
Q: What does a team have to do right to beat USC?
MR: "There is not a lot of magic to it. You have to play a great football game and finish it. That is always the crux of the matter. Our team played a very efficient football game. We took care of the football. Our defense had early success and did a nice job of disrupting them so we got the ball back. We punted well and then we had to fight like heck to finish the ballgame. It takes a really, really efficient game."
Q: What does it take from a players perspective to beat USC?
KK: "It comes down to home field advantage. Our fans were awesome two out of the past three years. It really presented a problem for them offensively and defensively. Other than that our offensive line played really well against them last year."
Q: How engaged is Lyle going to be in the starting quarterback competition?
MR: "I don't know the answer to that yet. We have to get right into camp to see. We will be very careful with his 'pitch count.' He isn't ready today to go through a whole practice taking a normal amount of turns. I hope that doesn't last too long so that it can truly become a one-two punch however it works out. I have thought about a lot of different scenarios in that regard, but none of those matter until he is fully capable of going through a full practice and getting game ready."
Q: Impact of Jacquizz Rodgers, from a defensive point of view, last year.
KK: "He is a really good player and we are grateful to have him on our team. He is small and agile player that hides behind guys so it is hard to tackle him. For the young guys coming in they are definitely going to have their hands full."
MR: "One good things about the way we practice is it is led by the players as far as the work ethic in practice. The speed at which we play will help the young players get ready faster and get an understanding of what it is like to play against good players like Quizz throughout our conference."
Q: When did you see something special in Quizz?
KK: "It was the second week when we realized he was something special on our team. We had a couple of other good running backs last year and he just emerged in the first or second game. Realizing that we had that type of potential at running back helped us be more confident on the defensive side of the ball."
MR: "I think it was our first scrimmage last year. He had a draw play, not too long into the scrimmage, that he hit before the two safeties could collapse, he went right down the field for a 60-yard touchdown. Then it wasn't five plays later we ran a little screen play to him and he took it 60 yards for a touchdown. It was like the guys been there before, I think he scored 135 touchdowns in high school, he has done it before, but it wasn't too hard to figure out that this guy might be a factor early."
Q: Did you think he would be the Offensive Pac-10 Player of the Year?
MR: "I don't anticipate a guy doing that. I don't think about if a freshman is going to do something like that. We did think because of the graduation of Yvenson Bernard that he would mix right into the competition and that's what we were looking to find out. We didn't go any further then that - we just let it play out. And that's what we will do with the incoming class. Keaton did not redshirt because he came in and would immediately impact our team and play so we didn't redshirt him. For us last year it was three guys out of 28 that played, so we will have to see what happens."
Q: Do you see giving Quizz that same kind of touches as last year?
MR: "The thing about Quizz and his size - he's not small, just short. He is very strong. We have had a good string of backs with a similar build to Quizz - Yvenson Bernard and Kenny Simonton. Steven Jackson was a little bit different than those guys. They were all durable and guys that got better as the game went on. We like to have them carry the ball 25-30 times a game - that is part of what we want to do. If we can find a guy and that can go in and play - spell Quizz and take some of that load off of him - we certainly will do that to the benefit of our team. Quizz is healthy and ready to go. We have a really good sense that that is a fact. We will find that out during fall camp then he will carry the ball 25-30 times a game."
(As Kristick and Riley exit the stage, Kristick says, "That wasn't too bad." to which Riley smiles.)