Mark Banker: 'They remind me of the Olympic track team'

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday December 27, 2012

Posted by: Chris Vannini on December 27, 2012

Mark Banker is ready for a track meet - literally.

At his Alamo Bowl press conference, the Oregon State defensive coordinator was asked of whom the Texas offensive reminded him, and Banker pointed to the Olympics.

"Well, on the lighter side, the answer to that, I don't know if it's a team we played last year, but they remind me of the U.S. Olympic track team in some cases," Banker joked. "They have a lot of speed at their running back position, wide receiver position."

"But this year, probably a combination of maybe UCLA and Arizona in some respect, just from the standpoint of how they play the game and how they use their athletes, not necessarily per se the particular plays, but there's a lot of similarity there."

Banker has been with Mike Riley throughout his entire time at Oregon State, and the two have gone 5-1 in bowl games. Banker credited it to Riley's ability to prepare the Beavers.

"Mike has come up with a good formula for all of us to follow, and I think the players would agree to that. Every time we've been to a bowl game, just like a lot of teams do, we've used the early stages of the practice as a spring practice for the younger players in our program, and then little by little we work in to working against the opponent as well as against ourselves.

"Then it helps to not only prepare but to have a good team. We've been fortunate in the years that we've gone to bowl games that it's only fitting that we've had a good team and have had success in those games. I don't think it's any magic."

The Beavers are sitting at 9-3, and a win over Texas would give the program just its third 10-win season in school history, something that would mean a lot to Banker.

"I believe this would be only our third season that we've won 10 games or more, and it will be twice that Mike Riley has done it, which would mean more to me than anything as opposed to who we beat or who we play against," he said.



Chris Vannini is the lead writer for and has covered Michigan State sports for The State News, The Oakland Press and He writes a weekly column for the Detroit Free Press on behalf of SB Nation. Vannini lives in Big Ten country, so his foot speed is far from SEC caliber, but his pulse on coaches is hard to match. Be sure to follow @CoachingBuzz on twitter and send your feedback to

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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