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November 7, 2011

Tom O'Brien wants the Pack to focus on BC






Head coach Tom O'Brien always has held a practice Sunday afternoon at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh to make corrections from the previous day's game.

He noticed Sunday following a 40-minute workout that his team was "a little sore, looked tired" after a 13-0 win over archrival UNC.

"What I have to do this week is make sure they are ready to play this football game," O'Brien said. "BC always had a pretty good home field advantage up there. Hopefully we'll get a nice day, won't be too cold, and we'll play well."

O'Brien was not surprised that State rebounded from a 31-0 loss at Florida State Oct. 29 with their performance against the Heels. He noted the defense had been playing better since the second half of the Central Michigan game Oct. 8.

"We played pretty good against Virginia, and we ran into a pretty dang good football team in Florida State," O'Brien stated. "I think Florida State can do that if you're not humming on all cylinders, they can do that to you. That's why you move on right away, you can't spend a lot of time if you're worried about them especially if you got to play the next one."

NC State opened up as a three-point favorite for Saturday's game at Boston College. The Eagles are 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the ACC. A 38-7 loss at home to FSU last Thursday guaranteed the Eagles will not be playing in a bowl game.

The Pack needs to win at least two of its last three games to avoid a similar fate. O'Brien joked that State might as well mail in 15 to 20 tackles for BC star junior linebacker Luke Kuechly. Kuechly leads the NCAA with 156 tackles and 16.7 tackles per game. The next nearest FBS tackler has 127 total hits, and the second best average is 14.0.

Offensively, the Eagles will be one of the more physical teams State will play. They average 36.2 carries per game compared to 28.4 passes. O'Brien was asked if they run a similar offense to what NCSU saw at Virginia Oct. 22, and he said there are some, especially in the size of the offensive line and running backs.

"A lot of their runs are the alley runs, same thing Virginia has, so a lot of similarities absolutely [to UVA], and they want to run the football," O'Brien said. "They are probably more titled to the run than anybody we've played this year."

BC also showed a new wrinkle against FSU, debuting redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Bordner. He ran seven times for 45 yards and completed 1 of 2 passes for 37 yards with a pick.

"Basically it's almost like a wildcat offense," O'Brien noted. "He was in there to run the football. He threw two passes, one was intercepted, a boot. He hit No. 10 [sophomore receiver Bobby Swigert] down the middle on a big pass in empty [formation], but more run, designated quarterback runs."

Tom O'Brien Nov. 7 PC (12:25)



Other tidbits

- O'Brien said that fifth-year senior Audie Cole and redshirt junior Terrell Manning, linebackers, played perhaps their best game last Saturday, and that was a tribute to defensive tackles "in front of them that went the right way and ate up some blockers. They were a lot cleaner running to the football, both of them."

The defensive tackle rotation welcomed back redshirt freshman Thomas Teal, who had three tackles in just 14 plays.

"He's another big body in there like freshman [T.Y.] McGill. The two of those guys, as I've said before, those are the kind of guys that we need to recruit to play defense the way we want to play," O'Brien said. "[Fifth-year senior] J.R. Sweezy has done a great job for us, but he was a linebacker to defensive end to defensive tackle.

"These guys are defensive tackles. Looking at him through preseason camp and even through the 15 plays of the first game, we were really excited about what he could do. He had a couple of moments."

- Apparently there were some extra-curricular activities after some plays Saturday that have caught the eyes of NC State coaches. They sent a tape to the ACC for clarification.

"We have sent something to the conference office, and they can be the judge," O'Brien said. "It's like every week, when we see things on tape we would ask Doug Rhodes to give us his input to see if it was something that should've been called, that the conference should be aware of."

- State announced that starting strongside linebacker D.J. Green, a sophomore, has been lost for the season after having toe surgery. Green injured his foot at Florida State.

Green's season is over after seven starts, making 33 tackles, including five for loss and a sack, a pass breakup and one interception. In his place will be senior Dwayne Maddox, who has 36 hits this year, including six for losses, and has made four starts.

Redshirt junior left tackle R.J. Mattes left the UNC game after just nine plays with a foot injury. O'Brien said that the trainers say Mattes has a chance to play Saturday, but it will depend on if Mattes can get back on the practice field this week.

- The return trip to BC does not mean as much to O'Brien five years after his departure.

"I had a great 10 years in Boston," O'Brien said. "Boston College is a great school. My three kids graduated from the school. It's a little easier now because I really don't know anybody there anymore. They are in the transition year, the fifth year. It's senior day, and they have fewer fifth-year guys than we have. Those are guys that I kind of knew some of them but I really didn't. It's easier now than when I knew everybody we were playing against."






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