Beavers feel optimistic as camp opens

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Expectations are high for the Beavers as they approach the 2012 season, despite being predicted to finish last in the Pac-12 North. The first thing they're trying to change is the culture in Corvallis.

"The goal is to win the Pac-12 and to win the Rose Bowl, as it should be," said Sean Mannion. "It should never be anything else. With that being said, we know it's a tough task, but we feel like we're up to it."

The Beavers feel experience is on their side, having 17 returning starters. They also have confidence. As the defense broke huddle on Monday, they chanted "Rose Bowl."

"When we break saying Rose Bowl, it's not just about a good practice," said Jordan Poyer. "We want to do everything well. As far as being in meetings and do everything right to get to that point."

Head coach Mike Riley enters his 12th season at Oregon State. He feels like the program is heading in the right direction.

"We look forward to every practice, every game, every season, every bit of it. We have to," said Riley. "We've spent so much time. We're committed so much, our coaches, our players. Everybody wants to do the very best every year."

As optimism is high in Corvallis, there is also some sadness.

Over the weekend, Riley's father, Bud Riley, passed away at the age of 86. Afterward Riley said his father was the biggest determining factor in why he became a head coach.