CORVALLIS — Mike Riley had the Oregon State football team run some red zone drills on Wednesday.
For the offense, the idea is to get the ball into the end zone any way possible, but a team needs the ability to run the ball in at the goal line to be successful.
“The thing I want to do is make sure we can score running the ball,” Riley said. “Two of them were passes, which is part of our game for sure, but it was nice to see us run the ball a couple times and get in there because that’s the best way to be good in the red zone is run the ball in. If you’re forced to always throw it in and people know that then it’s not as easy.
“You’ll see every team that has a good running game that can run the ball in the red zone has the best red zone percentages for touchdowns.”
Redshirt freshman running back Damien Haskins was particularly effective when he got his chance.
At 5-foot-8, 224 pounds, Haskins showed power and the ability to stay on his feet.
“All the players took note of that,” Riley said. “I really like that kid. He’s bigger than most of the backs that we’ve ever had and he’s got great feet and those are the qualities right there that make you a great zone runner, that you can see and cut.
“He’s not a strider. He’s got quick feet and power. And balance.”
With the offense and defense squaring off near the goal line, competition was intense.
Some of the action got a little intense, leading Riley to stop practice to have a few heated words for some of the players.
He liked the intensity but didn’t want anyone to think they could throw punches or do something that would get them tossed from a game.
“I’ve got to settle it down so it doesn’t continue, but the fire is good,” Riley said.
“These guys want to win, they’re playing hard and when they get down to the goal line, they get mad if they don’t stop them and they get mad if they don’t score. It’s a fairly natural reaction.”