November 8, 2007

Thursday's practice report: Preparation almost complete

When North Carolina State was mired in a difficult start, first-year coach Tom O'Brien laid it on the line with the players by saying they had an over-inflated sense of their talent.

Now that the Wolfpack have won three straight games, the talk of how talented the players are have died down, and the lunch pail approach that O'Brien wants is more prevalent.

"I think we are getting to be a better football team that understands what our limitations are and how we have to play to win," O'Brien said. "We have certainly played 60 minutes the last three weeks. That is what we want to get. I would doubt seriously if we wouldn't be able to do that Saturday.

"They've been focused, they've concentrated on what they have had to do. They aren't an uptight group that is for sure."

O'Brien is worried the players might revert back to old habits because of the recent prosperity.

"When you get into this kind of thing, you have to worry about their psyche," O'Brien said. "They are going to end up thinking they have it made. That is something that we have had to guard against this week. We have made sure to focus and know how important this game is and know what we have to get done in order to win it."

One of the players that embodies the heart of a champion is redshirt sophomore running back Jamelle Eugene. The quietly intense player has done a wonderful stepping in when starters Andre Brown and Toney Baker went down with injuries.

O'Brien hopes the team follows Eugene's lead by relying on action instead of talk.

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