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October 13, 2011

Transcript: Tom O'Brien ACC teleconference

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The following is a transcript from NC State head coach Tom O'Brien's weekly Wednesday ACC teleconference.

Opening statement:

"Well, we definitely needed a bye week to try to get this football team healthy, and we'll certainly be challenged heading to Virginia next week and the second half of the season. But looking forward to the opportunity to play, And with that, I'll be happy to answer any questions."

Wanted to ask about Mike Glennon at this point. His progress from the first snap of spring practice to now. Where is he as compared to how you thought he would be, and how is he at running a college football team at this point?

"I think he's made great strides since the first game of the year. First time to start in three or four years since he finished up his high school career. I think he's certainly done a good job. He has [16] touchdown passes with four interceptions, which is a high ratio right now. He's completed almost 65 percent of his passes. He might be a little better at this point than we expected. Certainly, he's showing signs of quarterback that we thought he could be as he keeps going forward. He keeps getting better each and every week. That is the thing we like most about him."

About the numerous injuries you've had, I've asked this before, but it changes every week. Who has stepped up and might not have seen the field or might not have seen it very much this year?

"I think [defensive end Art] Norman was a guy we didn't want to play much at all, and he's been forced into a starting role as a red shirt freshman. He's better off if he would be playing about 25 percent of the time. Now he's playing 75 percent, and doing a pretty good job for us right now."

In recruiting, what is the most difficult position to identify for success at the next level? Also with David Amerson, is it mainly his instincts or how you want to put him in place to make the interceptions he's made so far?

"I think the most difficult to recruit is quarterback, because that is the most important position on your football team. There are so many things that go into that position and decision-making and make-up of the quarterback is probably the biggest thing. Those things you can't do off the film or sitting down and meeting with people. That's the toughest position to recruit. And David is just a really good player. He's a good athlete, and he's a good instinctual football player.

"I think the more that he plays, you know he's only into his second year. Probably halfway through last year, we played him in the boundary rolled up. Basically he was a flat defender. Now he's close tie man-to-man defender out there on the field, even though we play mostly zone. But he's out there on an island and really done a nice job. He's gotten better at the double move which caught him early in the year, so he's progressing."

After seeing the impact that Terrell Manning made in his first game back, and getting J.R. Sweezy and Brian Slay back, how confident are you that you're going to have the tools that you need to make a run at this in the second half?

"Well, I think the most important thing that we need is continuity on defense. We've started six different defenses in our first six games of the year. The biggest problem we've had is there have been too many people playing. We need to settle down, and hopefully we can get a healthy group and they can play the last six games of the year. If they are, we're pretty confident that we can have a good second half."

I know you don't like to talk about injuries, but what is the possibility of Jeff Rieskamp and Thomas Teal and Mustafa Greene, and those guys to be back by the Virginia game?

"As soon as the doctors clear them and let us coach them, they'll be ready to play. Hopefully, that's sooner rather than later."

Can you go through a little bit what your practice schedule has been like this week without a game on Saturday? What are your main points of emphasis this week?

"Right now we haven't done anything. I gave them all off Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. You know, the good news was we had no new injuries last Saturday, but we've still got a lot of guys banged up. Today they came over, and this morning we worked in the strength and conditioning area. We ran, we lifted, in the training room every day. We'll practice Thursday. We'll practice Friday. We'll give them Saturday off, and then we'll start Sunday with game week for Virginia.

"The emphasis is on getting better. I just answered the last question about continuity on defense. Trying to get a defense lined up that we think will be here each and every week from the rest of the season and go back to work on some of the fundamentals and things. Part of the week for the coaches has been out recruiting, the other part has been self-evaluation and what we've done well, what we haven't done so well, and what we need to emphasize. Part of the problem with the defense with playing so many guys, we've got to figure out what we can do well."

Do you give your players information about Virginia a few days early?

"No, we won't start working on Virginia until Sunday."

If I can take you back to the Georgia Tech game, Maryland after they played Tech, it looked like, and certainly coaches thought trying to make Tevin Washington quarterback holding onto the ball on the triple option and option plays. Is that part of your plan?

"You have to choose your poison against them. First thing you have to do is tackle the fullback. Then you have to make a determination on the perimeter who you want to carry the football. If you want it pitched into the perimeter or if you want the quarterback to carry the ball and take shots at him.

"To us — I don't know what Maryland's plan was — but that's the way it worked out in our game. Certainly if a quarterback, the more shots he takes, the less effective he is throwing the ball and doing a lot of different things. So that's maybe the preferred way to play them."


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