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MIKE RILEY MOVES INTO HIS NEW OFFICE

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SOMEONE MADE AN AWFUL MESS IN THERE

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

MIKE RILEY: So it's down the hall then? Terrific, thanks so much. Hope you like that fruit basket. Boy, a new start, sure feels weird to be the new fella in town, I tell you. Let's see, Room 402, here we-

[he arrives at a door hanging off one hinge, the letters "--AD FOO-B--- --ACH -O PELI--" legible through scorch marks]

RILEY: Well, shucks, what happened here?

[touches doorknob]

[door falls off hinge]

RILEY: Well, it's no Four Seasons, but goshdarnit, Corvallis ain't the prettiest place on first glance either, and it's got a heart of gold. This place just needs a little TLC, Tender Lovin' Coach Riley, heh, that's just a little joke the missus and I have. Anyhoo, where's that lightswitch?

[flips on light]

[a cloud of bats fly past his head]

RILEY: Well gollee, what a surprise. Gets your heart rate up, that's just good for the ticker. You know, bats get a bad name, when they're out there burnin' the midnight oil eatin' spiders and such for us. Every Christmas, I leave them a nice tip in my attic, and a copy of Batman on DVD. Not the new ones, though, gosh, they're just so negative. Adam West, now there's the hero we need.

[sets box of belongings down on his desk]

[the desk is covered in claw marks]

RILEY: Shucks, you hate to see that happen to a nice piece of furniture like this, why that's solid walnut right there. Handsome tree and a nutritious nut to boot, can't beat that. You know, front office said they'd get me a new desk, but this one just needs to be coached up. Heck, my first year in Corvallis, I turned an IKEA coffee table I found on the curb into a 12-person dining room set, just through hard work and positive thinking.

[reaches into box]

RILEY: Okay, now, let's hang some of these pictures. Got a lot of pictures of me and ordinary people. Sure, lotta people'd hang up pictures of them with the governor or a booster or Hoda Kotb or somesuch, but when I look up, I like to see normal folks, just regular fans out to watch a good, clean game. Reminds me to put my head back down and keep workin' for 'em.

Boy, there's a lot of holes punched in these walls. Whoever had this office before musta been goin' through a rough spell, but that doesn't mean you take it out on the drywall. Hardworkin' building material right there, and flexible. I started a sheet of wallboard three years at DB. Work with what ya got at Oregon State, that's my philosophy.

Now, where can I put this bobblehead? Little going-away gift from the gals in the front office. Feels a little showy to have a bobblehead of myself, but it's rude to say no to a gift. I did have them secure the head in place, though. Don't ever want to look like I'm shakin' my head no. Negativity's got no place around a football team. Hey, what's this?

[a battered cardboard box on the shelf is labeled "SCREAMS"]

RILEY, opening box: Well that's mighty unusual, I wonder what's in-

BOX: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

RILEY: JUMPIN' JACQUIZZ

BOX: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

RILEY: GREAT RESER'S GHOST

BOX: AAAAAH (coughs) GET OUT WHILE YOU CAN

RILEY: Pardon me, fella?

BOX: THIS PLACE IS A TRAP

RILEY: Well that sure ain't nic-

BOX: AAAAAAAAAAAAAH

RILEY: Alright, calm down now, son, what's your beef?

BOX: YOU THINK YOU'RE GONNA CHANGE THE ATMOSPHERE AROUND THIS PROGRAM, MISTER NICE GUY? NO ONE LIKED ME BECAUSE I WAS BRUSQUE. WIN NINE GAMES A YEAR IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAMNED RECRUITING DESERT AND THEY'RE MAD YOU AREN'T A 1940S SODA FOUNTAIN COUNTER CLERK.

RILEY: Well, I do have a reputation for being nice.

BOX: I WAS NICE WHEN I GOT HERE. I WAS A GOOD GUY. NO ONE REMEMBERS THAT BECAUSE THEY GROUND ME DOWN INTO THIS. THOSE PEOPLE OUT THERE? THEY STILL THINK IT'S THE '90S, AND NEBRASKA'S GONNA BE IN THE NATIONAL TITLE HUNT EVERY YEAR. WELL, I GOT NEWS FOR THEM AND YOU, BUDDY, IT AIN'T 1995 ANYMORE. SELENA'S DEAD, PEOPLE LAUGH WHEN I ROLLERBLADE, AND LAWRENCE PHILLIPS ISN'T WALKING THROUGH THAT DOOR. THAT LAST PART'S PROBABLY FOR THE BEST, OR YOU'D HAVE BIGGER PROBLEMS THAN A SCREAMING BOX.

RILEY: Look, I've dealt with difficult recruiting conditions.

BOX: AND PEOPLE WERE DAMNED HAPPY WHEN YOU WON EIGHT GAMES THERE. HERE THEY WANT YOU TO BE MICHIGAN, ALABAMA AND TEXAS ALL IN ONE, WHILE YOUR RECRUITING BASE LOOKS LIKE THE BREAD AISLE BEFORE A SNOWSTORM. WHAT ARE YOU SELLING RECRUITS HERE, THE CHANCE TO LOSE THE BIG TEN TITLE GAME EVERY COUPLE OF YEARS? IF I WANTED TO LOSE IN INDIANAPOLIS, I'D BE A JACKSONVILLE JAGUAR. AT LEAST THEY HAVE A POOL. WE'LL SEE HOW NICE YOU ARE WHEN PEOPLE ARE ASKING WHY YOU DIDN'T WIN 12 GAMES WITH AMEER ABDULLAH AND A COMPANY SOFTBALL TEAM.

RILEY: Alright, listen here, sonny boy, I've heard enough of this guff out of you. Sure, there's difficulties in this job, but you work with what you got. And yeah, people 'round here got high expectations, but that's just passion. As for my demeanor? You aren't going to sneak up on anyone stompin' and huffin' and makin' a big to-do of things like you are. You gotta be nice, make the media feel loved, wish people a happy birthday on Facebook now and then so they don't see the knife in your other hand. I won 93 games at a perennial doormat being polite and sneakin' up on fools.

BOX: LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU WANT ME TO PUT IN A WORD IN THE MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE.

RILEY, down hallway: Marge, what day's recycling go out?

MARGE: Not til' Tuesday.

RILEY: I'm folding you up until then, fella.

BOX: PUT ME IN THE KITCHEN, I WANT TO YELL AT KYLE FOR MICROWAVING FISH.