September 15, 2010

Tom O'Brien speaks at weekly teleconference

Coach Tom O'Brien talked with the media after practice today on the weekly ACC Coaches' teleconference. O'Brien said that the team's practice this morning was simply a "glorified walk through," but that the team is excited for the nationally televised contest tomorrow night. He gave some thoughts on the Pack, as well as the Bearcats.

Opening statement

"Our football team is excited about the opportunity to play Thursday night against a very good Cincinnati team. They present a lot of problems, both offensively and defensively for us, but, as I said, our kids are excited with the opportunity to play on national TV on Thursday night here."

Jake Vermiglio was one of the first recruits to commit to you and your staff after coming to NC State. Do you remember how you learned about him and what attracted you to him?

"We knew about him from our days up in New England, when we were at Boston College. When we came down, we just followed our lead from when we were recruiting him at B.C. to recruiting him here. We saw an offensive lineman who has really good feet and can run, and that's been like a lot of our linemen throughout the years. They haven't been heavy-legged, they've been able to move their feet and get themselves into position that they have to get into to be very effective as an offensive lineman."

He played hockey in high school, is that a reason why he has pretty good feet?

"Oh, I think it is. Do you remember a kid named Jimmy Dombrowski that played for me at Virginia? He was a hockey goalie, too. That's not uncommon for kids in the Northeast, and I think that speaks to their ability to move their feet and be quick on their feet."

Mike Archer says he is still in 'I'll believe it when I see it" mode with his defense. They've showed improvement, do you think they have made significant improvement?

"I think we've made improvement, whether it's significant or not, I'm not going to buy in for a while, we've only played two games. There's a lot of football left to play. We will be severely challenged by [quarterback Zach] Collaros here on Thursday night. We had a little trouble with Godfrey, the kid that's a run-throw type of kid, at the end of the game down there at Central Florida. [Cincinnati] has really good skill people and a veteran offensive line. Each week, I think, will present a different challenge to our defense and we certainly aren't going to think we are a finished product by any stretch of the imagination."

We hear a lot about Cincinnati's offense but what have you seen from their defense?

"They are very aggressive and they run very well, there are always a lot of black helmets around the football when the play is over. They have experience at linebacker and in the secondary. They've really done a nice job because I think this is their third scheme. They were a 4-3, then they went to 3-4 and now they're back to a 4-3 scheme so the coaches have done a really nice job getting these guys lined up. They've got two big, powerful guys in the middle playing at the nose and tackle position that are a handful. They've got good guys that can run on the edge so we'll have our work cut out for us."

What are you telling the running backs this week?

"I tell them to keep on getting better each and every week. They have and they have done that since the first snap of the first game. Ball security is still the most important thing, make sure you hold onto the football, we're not going to turn it over, and head towards the goalline."

Monday you mentioned that the team was a little sluggish. Has that cleared up, are you worried about how the team might be tomorrow night?

"No, I'm worried about how they'll be and we won't know until tomorrow night. Hopefully, we've balanced the act of getting enough work in, but not at the expense of trying to get our legs back so that we can be fresh and play four quarters of fast football."

You also mentioned that today would be a glorified walk-through.

We're already finished and it was a glorified walk through.

In terms of Collaros, what do you think you need to do better in terms of defending that type of quarterback?

"We need to contain. Even when we did contain, when they brought [Godfrey] in, he was fresh-legged and we were tired-legged. We got a little sloppy, we let him out of the pocket on two or three different occasions that all we had to do is contain, the rush was coming from the backside. We could've gotten him down and gotten off the football field. You have to really concentrate on staying in your gaps and staying in your lanes and keeping him in front of you, not letting him outside where he can create all kinds of problems running and throwing the football."

Talk about the development of the ground game.

"It's still a work in progress, and not only them, but the offensive line. We had five guys play in a football game in the first game for the first time in their college career and two running backs who had never been in a game. I think it's an evolution that is ongoing. We continue to work very hard. Those kids are sharing series, going every other series, I think that's probably even now. Noone is playing a heck of a lot more plays than the other one, we're just trying to get one good back out of two guys playing hard."

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