Day 4 -- Jersey Swaps and the Last Practice of the Year
Dec. 27, 2012
It started August 6th on the newly laid FieldTurf of Prothro Field on the Oregon State campus. On Thursday, the Beavers practiced for the 100th, and final, time for the 2012 season on a chilly and surprisingly misty day in San Antonio - where the locals are in the midst of a drought - on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word in preparation for Saturday's Valero Alamo Bowl.
Many of the players swapped practice jerseys for the season's final practice including Rashaad Reynolds donning Castro Masaniai's 98 jersey (which required a makeshift tape job to help it resemble a decent fit), while Masaniai managed to squeeze into Reynolds' 16. Most appropriately, Feti `Unga and D.J. Alexander (each of who changed their name during the season) traded with each other. Needless to say, media photographers and cameramen were somewhat befuddled by the Beavers' misdirection.
The OSU equipment, strength and conditioning, and athletic training staffs were kept busy throughout the practice packing each group's equipment for this afternoon's move to the AlamoDome as they prepare for tomorrow's walk-through.
On the media side, the offense faces the reporters at the second official Alamo Bowl press conference led by offensive coordinator Danny Langsdorf, who was joined by Cody Vaz, Brandin Cooks, Markus Wheaton and local product and Texas media darling Storm Woods. The full Oregon media contingent is now on-hand with Joe Leadingham from KMTR-TV in Eugene, Cathy Marshall from KGW in Portland and Kerry Eggers from the Portland Tribune joining The Oregonian's crew of Lindsay Schnell, John Hunt and Molly Blue, Cliff Kirkpatrick from the Corvallis Gazette-Times, KEZI-TV's Stephen Nelson and Dwight Jaynes and Jordan Whitley from Comcast Sports NW.
Bowl festivities continue at a steady pace with several young players visiting The Center for the Intrepid - a rehabilitation facility at Fort Sam Houston providing care for United States servicemen and women treating amputees and burn victims. The team also hosted a local Boys and Girls Club at the end of practice and were presented Beaver gear. This afternoon the Beavers are scheduled to participate in a pep rally and attend the Rudy's BBQ Fiesta for dinner.
The word on the street is that the Beavers have converted local fans to the Orange and Black, although not difficult for Texas A&M people to adopt the team playing their rival.
If you have a chance check out Oregonlive's "Blake with the Beavers" segment as Blake Brennan dives deep into the favorites of Coach Riley, quarterback Cody Vaz and defensive end Scott Crichton. Good stuff.
Head coach Mike Riley addressed the media following the final practice of 2012 and freshman safety Kendall Hill discussed his hospital visit, watch for yourself what Matt Riley from OSU's sports video team caught on camera.
Speaker: Oregon State Head Coach Mike Riley
On how game preparation is going thus far:
"It's been a good build up. I feel like the guys have had good practices the last few days and it's time to count it down to game time. I think they're confident. They did what they need to do today. This is actually a pretty typical Thursday practice for us."
On the team being able to accomplish its goals during practice:
"We`ll find out if we did or not. I feel real good about the work we`ve had. You always wonder how to approach 15 or 16 practices so it`s always interesting. You always wonder if you`ve got the right approach but regardless of any of that I think these guys are excited about playing Texas."
On keeping the players focused with all the distractions San Antonio has to offer:
"That`s one of the advantages for us. From our vantage point our players have done a great job combining what I think is a real nice time, great hospitality, lots of nice events with good practices and good meetings.
That's what we asked them to do coming down and the guys have done a great job with that. We've had virtually no distractions. They've had a curfew and will continue to have (a curfew). It'll get a little earlier tonight and tomorrow."
On having any down time to spend with Texas Head Coach Mack Brown:
"Yeah. We had dinner last night, both staffs, at a function put on by the Alamo Bowl. They've got really good people at the University of Texas and I've known that for a while. There's lots of connections. It was neat kind of reconnecting. They have a class group and it was fun to see them and talk about the game and the past."
On recommendations for Beaver fans while visiting San Antonio:
"The first thing they should do is start with the River Walk. That's simple. With a little more time there's LaVillita, the old Mexican village right next to the River Walk. There's Mi Tierra Mexican restaurant I think everyone should go to in the Market Place downtown. If you have a little time go some place in the Hill Country. When we moved here we did not know about the Hill Country, the rivers and the lakes and it's really nice country around here. The Beaver fans will enjoy it."
On whether or not he`s interacted with any fans while in San Antonio:
"A little bit. Seen quite a few Beaver shirts and hats as we`ve got through the last few days. We'll travel well and be well represented. And the other guys, I guess, are gonna wear orange on oue behalf so that'll be a lot of fun."
On how this game is a long-time coming for Beaver fans:
"It`s really fun and exciting to be involved in a game like this and bring a team to this area. Actually the team brought us and we`re traveling on their coat tails. So we're proud of them for doing that and happy for all the Beaver fans."
On his philosophy concerning open practices:
"I've always liked people at practice. I think I learned that from John Robinson when I was at USC. We just like the atmosphere that it brings. I just enjoy having people come watch our team, whether it's the games or practices. We do keep an eye out for somebody who might be filming in appropriately or taking notes. At home it's pretty easy to monitor and here it hasn't been that hard either. It's nice to have people that want to come and watch us. I like that."
On how emotional it is to see the seniors practice for the last time:
"It's kind of emotional and kind of neat. It's really amazing. All of them kind of made that same comment that they can't believe how fast it's gone by. It's a good group that's blossomed this year. We couldn't have been here or had this year without that senior leadership. I just don't believe you can make that kind of turn around without the older guys in the program really being committed to what we're trying to do. It's an absolutely tremendous group. The three senior captains were really big time in how this team took off in the off season right up until today in San Antonio."
Speaker: Oregon State Fullback Clayton York
On the ability Texas' kick returners:
"When you're playing kick return you just have to be disciplined. You can't fly down and try and make a technical. You have to be technical and smart about what you're doing. We've seen them on film. We know how fast they are."
On the possibility of special teams being a difference maker in the game:
"We know how important it is. It's no different than offense or defense.
If you miss an assignment on defense, it may be a big gain. If you miss an assignment on punt return or kick return, it's a touchdown. We're not by any means overly relaxed on those cover teams or those return teams, at all."
On how rewarding getting to 10 wins would be for the team:
"It'd be huge, especially coming off of what happened last year and the year before that. I haven't been to a bowl in two years and this is my last bowl so it's pretty huge."
On how the team feels heading into the Valero Alamo Bowl:
"We're confident. We think we're going to win."