RILEY: All right, we’re excited to be here. Obviously, when the dawning of the Pac-12 conference, I’m proud to bring Lance Mitchell, our senior safety and co-captain of our team with me. We are looking forward to the beginning of our training camp, fall camp. August 7th, starting practice August 8th, just a general summary about our team.
And I’ve talked to our team about this for a long time, we’re going to really, really have to grow a lot through fall camp and through our season. We had five guys that had off-season surgeries and missed spring practice. So as we get back into this thing, we’ll have to grow a lot and be ready to compete all the way down the stretch, get better every day. The old-fashioned cliche that we use, and that’s what we’re going to have to be.
Q: Coach, with Oregon being the projected favorite in the Pac-12 north, what is it going to take for you guys to actually win the division yourselves?
RILEY: Well, I think that one of the great things for all of you and for all the fans is that this is going to be a truly unique year with the divisions in our league. We’re not going to play every team anymore, but we’re going to compete within our division to get to that championship game.
The other part of it is probably the same as always, is you’re going to have to play well every week. I’ve been in the conference a long time now, 11 years, and I’ve seen the competition rise to where every week is like the Super Bowl. So I think it’s going to be really, really competitive.
We’ve added two great schools and programs to our conference, so it’s going to get even more so that way. It should be just a really, really interesting year, and we’ll have to — we’re heading into a little bit of uncharted waters, so it’s going to be something that we’re going to have to compete and get better all the time and take it one game at a time.
Q: Oregon’s always had the heads-up on funds. There is a guy named Phil, I’m sure you’ve heard of him. But how would this new Pac-12 TV deal give you guys more funds and maybe be more competitive in the near future?
RILEY: I think that since Larry has taken over, we’ve seen a number of changes from not only the exposure and how this world has grown right here. You know, there have been changes in our football world. I think they’ve done a nice job in continuing to grow in our officiating area. Then, of course, financially there is another big impact on the way there.
We’ve always been, I think very comfortable with our world. We have a tremendous base of fans, donors, boosters and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished.
We’re trying not to compare apples and oranges all the time. We’ve managed to be competitive through the year.
So I think that this is a good thing. It’s a good thing not only for the football programs at schools, but for a school like ours and the impact it will make throughout our athletic department, I think, will be a major factor.
It’s the result of a lot of good work that’s gone on in our conference in the last few years.
My Thoughts: It is apples to apples for the most part. All revenue is split equally. All games are played on fields which are always the same dimensions. I love how Kyle Whittingham just comes out and says they have plans to win the South. Whether or not you can always quite reach those goals, you expect your head coach to believe you can and publicly state that as the goal. This is one aspect of Riley that has always left me desiring more. The coaches who love and expect to win make it obvious. You know Mike Leach would come up to the podium believing in himself and his team and giddy about the opportunity. OSU needs to get a little more aggressive publicly and then go out and make us proud in their efforts and we will support them even more.
One other thing with Riley is he talks like it is OK and normal to get warmed up and back into the swing of things in the early season. Sorry, but you have to be more than prepared before Week 1 and ready to come out strong and fast out of the gate. That is the only formula for getting the respect throughout the season and being among the best teams. Oregon State can be alot like a Florida St compared to a Florida in the mind of the nation if we were bolder and worked hard to get there. The Pac-12 is a fantastic conference and recruiting is improving for sure but we still need to up our attitude to the next level. Every year is a unique opportunity to try to raise the program. You don’t improve if you don’t grab that opportunity with more gusto. The players need to be juiced up in getting off to a hot start and building a stronger reputation for the Oregon St. Football brand nationally.