Bill Bradley (a former Texas star who played nine years in the NFL), Larry Kennan (a former coaching rival of Riley's in the World League of American Football) and Larry Coker (former Miami coach and current Texas-San Antonio head coach) were all on the sidelines at the University of Incarnate Word Monday morning as the No. 15 Beavers practiced for the first time in San Antonio.
"I love this," Riley said. "I'm excited for those guys to have those jobs in this city. It's pretty neat. Bill and I are close friends, but those other two guys I haven't seen much in the last couple years."
WHEN, WHERE: Saturday, 3:45 p.m., at San Antonio.
Much has been made about the homecoming for OSU running back Storm Woods, but Riley might have the oldest ties in San Antonio, dating back to his days in the WLAF in the early 1990s. Bradley was Riley's secondary coach in San Antonio, and the two have remained in contact.
Riley laughed when asked if he's concerned that Bradley might try to give Texas coach Mack Brown tips after watching Oregon State play.
"No, no, no," Riley said. "And he was talking too much to pay much attention to what we were doing."
What the Beavers were doing is practicing in shoulder pads and shorts — Riley said they probably won't go full pads at all this week — and preparing to take on Texas at the end of the week.
"We want to get good work done here and now it's about continuing to rehearse what we're going to do and just do it faster," he said. "We're going to try to show different looks that Texas might show us, too."
It was a balmy 65 degrees with the Beavers took the field, which is exactly what Woods, a Texas native, expected.
"I was on my phone all week looking up the weather," Woods said. "I love it. But we have to keep in mind that we're here to get this win. Like Coach Riley said today in meetings, we're going to enjoy ourselves a lot more if we take care of business."
The Beavers haven't played since Dec. 1, and they're getting a little antsy to hit someone besides each other.
"We're definitely ready to play," Woods said. "This feels like fall camp all over again. But at the same time, there's no limit to how good you can get and how much you can prepare for this team. (Texas) is physical and the extra week of practice will benefit us."
Of course, the long layoff also gives Riley and his staff more time to stress out.
"That's one thing with having too much time," Riley laughed, "you just keep watching them and get more nervous as you go."
Coaches will continue to watch film this week and players will busy themselves with off-field activities. There's a program-wide Christmas party being thrown at the team hotel tonight (Santa and Mrs. Claus are expected to make an appearance) and starting Wednesday, there are plenty of Alamo Bowl requirements to take care of. Players arrived about 8 p.m. Sunday evening, and after a warm welcome from the Alamo Bowl staff they headed for the famed River Walk. Perhaps the best news is that there was no news: everyone stayed out of trouble.
"I think everybody's doing a great job of doing everything right," said senior cornerback Jordan Poyer, a team captain. "Guys are getting everywhere on time, making curfew, and we had a good time last night."
Though they're excited to see the sights, players aren't going to lose focus of their plans anytime soon.
"I told my mom I'm sort of in the zone now," Woods said. "She can stop by for dinner for an hour or so, but I don't want to get too caught up in that stuff.
"We came here to win."