When the first day of fall camp rolls around for the Oregon State football team, Mike Riley gets those butterflies fluttering in his stomach.
He knows another season will be here soon.
“I feel like a rookie,” Riley said. “Always do. New team, new dynamics, new identity. Who are we going to be?”
Riley said he enjoys spring practice because he can relax and focus on helping the team get better.
Fall means there’s games to be played.
“There’s an anxiety about entering into a season, I have to tell you,” he said. “We all know that’s a part of experience. You know when you start, it’s a grind. There’s no way around it. But once you get going, that’s what you do. You love that grind, the competition, what we do.”
Riley and the Beavers got another fall started on Monday, running through drills in helmets, jerseys and shorts.
The coaches got a good look at some of the newcomers and the returning players worked out any remaining kinks.
The Beavers stayed healthy throughout.
“I feel like today’s practice went real well,” running back Storm Woods said. “A lot of full-speed. Of course, there’s no contact. But that allows us to be more crisp with what we’re doing, depth of the routes, how many steps. And I think today went well.
“No surprises so far, but it’s day one. It’s going to be a competitive fall camp as everybody knows.”
The players put in the work over the offseason.
Having a lot of the team together during the summer allowed for an easy start.
“It feels really good,” quarterback Cody Vaz said. “We had a lot of great work in the summer and great dedication, everybody was here, working hard. We’re just carrying this into fall camp. I think this was a pretty smooth first day. It was kind of just a learning day, but it feels really good to be back out here.”
The Beavers have a lot of experienced players back, so it eases the transition.
“It was real good,” Riley said. “The neat thing about having kids back always is that you can do a lot of things that are your foundational stuff, just come up and start doing them and the kids have obviously been working on them during the summer. You can tell there were lots of good intentions in the summer, so that’s encouraging.
“These kids know the process and they know where we are in the upcoming stage of the upcoming year.”
Riley spent part of his summer working on some new schemes for the team.
He wants to take a look at how well some Xs and Os translate to the field during the upcoming days.
“We’re tweaking some stuff that we worked on in the summer time, just me watching film in Texas that I want to see if it looks any good, as good as it on my paper down there as it will on the field,” he said.
“So that’s fun for me. I’m thankful for every minute and I do feel really fresh about the start of every year (and) I think absolutely the kids demand that. This is so big to them and so important, so much has been committed to just being in this program, on this team, getting ready to win. It’s exciting.”