Players say they're not overlooking Viks

WITH A 25 game home non-conference winning streak and a perfect 16-0 home non-league record under Mike Riley on the line, the Oregon State players aren't taking the Big Sky's Portland State Vikings lightly. The Beavs are saying they're preparing for the Viks just like any other team and are certainly not assuming that they can best their FCS opponents just be stepping on the field.

"I don't take anybody lightly and the team doesn't either,"said receiver James Rodgers.

To help keep his players focused Riley has mentioned Appalachian State's stunning victory over No. 5 Michigan in 2007 several times this week.

"An upset is something that everyone is kind of thinking about," quarterback Sean Canfield said. "For us, the preparation stays the same. The focus stays the same week after week.

"We approach this just like any other game."

First and foremost, the Beavers want to win the game -- and they want to win it cleanly. Few, if any turnovers, limited penalties and clean execution on both sides of the ball are just a few of the points focused on during practice this week.

"The first thing we've got to try to do is win the game - we do want to be efficient," Riley said. "If you're going to be a good football team then handling the game itself with procedure and communication, playing smart football, making good decisions (is important).

"All those parts have to be in place to be a good football team and that can give you the best opportunity to win."


What a difference a year makes

FROM JACQUIZZ RODGERS taking the college football world by storm to Stephen Paea's strong play in the middle of the field there were plenty of pleasant surprises last season. And while last year's performances were great, several of the players are saying with a year under their belts 2009 is going to be even better.

"Last year I didn't understand all the schemes and blocking," defensive tackle Stephen Paea said. "It's going to be an advantage for me this year."

Paea, a Nagurski Trophy candidate, will be looking to improve on his 41 tackles and 11 tackles for loss that he harnassed last year. If he can stay healthy, he expects big things.

"As long as I stay healthy, it'll be a good year for me and my teammates," Paea said.

One of those teammates that could have another big year is running back Jacquizz Rodgers. His shoulder is fully healed and he is faster than he was last year - and he's looking to break off several long runs.

"This year I'm going to have a lot of long runs, that's what I focused on during the off season: to get that breakaway speed," Quizz said. "That is one thing that I was missing from my game last year."

Quizz is still confident he can bang in the middle of the field - there will be no limitations on his carries - as coach Mike Riley wants to give him the ball around 25 carries a game.

"I feel like I can get the tough yards and get like 20 or 30 carries in a game. I feel way faster.," said the Pac-10's reigning Offensive Player of the Year.

"Last year I did it with natural ability. Now, I have a year of college experience under my belt. I have a year of college workouts that will help me out a lot."

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