Mike Riley could hardly believe how much things had changed at Oregon State in four years.
"It was a tremendous sight to see when I came back," said the Beavers coach, who grew up in Corvallis, Ore. "There was a lot of new around here."
The stadium had been renovated and new turf installed. He got to break in the new practice fields.
Baseball and softball fields were built during his NFL absence.
During his first tour, a football complex was built.
Talks had begun about building an indoor football facility, one like the folks had down in Eugene.
"I was working hard to get one," Riley said. "I had a short visit with Dennis (Erickson) about the possibility of an indoor facility as we passed each other; as I was leaving and he was coming in." Riley hadn't visited Corvallis since he left after the 1998 season.
"It was like seeing a vision that I'd had for a long time," he said.
The Beavers have been able to keep up with their rivals in the facilities.
"It's been great to be able to get some things done," Riley said. "It all started with the vision of (former) President (Paul) Riser. He knew some of the things that had to happen for this thing to have a chance to turn around."
Riley can look out of his office window and see construction workers.
"We're have a new hotel going up right on campus," he said. "There's been a lot changing."
NO IS NO
Stanford coach Buddy Teevens went to his bosses and asked them to schedule a 12th game this year. The Cardinal was the only major Division I-A program to play 11 games last season.
He was rebuffed.
Stanford is philosophically opposed to burdening its players with another football game.
So Teevens, who obviously wanted to have his team play someone, borrowed an idea from the NFL.
He scheduled a practice against Division I-AA California-Davis last week.
"We thought it'd be a good thing for the players," Teevens said. The two squads did the usual practice stuff — one-on-one drills, passing and running drills, situational work — then scrimmaged.
A reporter kept score and UC Davis "won."
Still, Teevens said the workout was beneficial.
"It was very productive to have one last opportunity with contact against someone else," he said. "It was helpful to see a different color jersey. See them do something different."
Washington State, Oregon and California each had a pair of rushers gain at least 100 yards on the ground last Saturday in a (very) rare display of the ground game.
Washington State is now fourth in the country in rushing with its 339 yards. Has Jim Walden returned to run the Veer in the Palouse?
Consensus was the offenses took what the opponents gave. But Cal coach Jeff Tedford noted that he uses a two-back formation that allows flexibility to sticking with the ground game when it's doing well.
By any measure, USC sophomore quarterback Matt Leinhart's debut was just what was needed. First order of business for any quarterback is not to lose the game, and Leinhart didn't have a turnover and his first pass was a TD toss to Mike Williams.
But coach Pete Carroll wasn't passing out bouquets, not three days after the fact on Tuesday.
"He got a passing grade on technique and scheme-wise," Carroll said. "His poise is as good as any veteran quarterback. (But) he can improve. We look forward to his growth in the position."