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September 6, 2011The NC State defense had several athletes who played at new positions or experienced their first-ever college action in the season-opening win against Liberty. The Flames rolled up 406 yards of total offense but the Pack defense forced seven turnovers and applied heavy pressure on the opposing quarterback.
Defensive coordinator Mike Archer talked with the media following practice on Tuesday to analyze how the defense performed and preview the upcoming contest with Wake Forest.
A full transcript of what the coach had to say is below:
Can you talk about Saturday's performance; you had to be happy with the defense forcing seven turnovers.
Yeah, the turnovers are obviously something that was very important in the game. That's the positive and the sacks were a positive, but we allowed too many big plays. Too many big plays kept us on the field, we gave up over 400 yards and that's not very good. I think their quarterback is outstanding, [wide receiver] Chris Summers was obviously outstanding. The turnovers and the sacks were good for us but we have a lot of things we have to get corrected.
Who do you think took the biggest step in the first week?
I think our young guys in particular. I think D.J. Green, for his first time out there under the lights, played very well, in fact I think he played as well as any of our linebackers. All three linebackers were productive in the running game but their running game but the running game hurt us with the quarterback. He got us mismatched a couple of times and he was a better athlete than some of us a couple of times. I think that David Amerson played well, he made two big plays and he had one negative play on the double move where he gave up the touchdown but it's all learning experiences for him. Not to take away from the older guys but I think the younger guys [did well]. The tape was good, it was good to watch because there are a lot of things we got to get corrected.
You needed some guys to step up at defensive tackle because of the injury to J.R. Sweezy and Brian Slay obviously had a big game, can you talk about that?
Yeah, with the injuries we've had - with J.R. then Thomas Teal gets one - Brian stepped in and the next guy's got to be ready to go. That's the thing we talked about because injuries occur and he took advantage of that opportunity. It was probably his best game he's played since we've been here with him. From a productivity standpoint - the sacks, hurries and two fumble recoveries - those were big in the game.
Can you talk about the weapons you have to worry about with Wake Forest?
Obviously, the quarterback and [wide receiver] Chris Givens throw and catch the ball very well. The tailback, Josh Harris, showed that he's a big, strong, physical guy that is a north-south guy. Both of them we played against last year. The offensive line has three seniors and two juniors, they talk about that being the strength of their football team. They're big; they're a lot bigger than the group we played last week. They're a typical, ACC offensive line. They're going to try to control the tempo of the game with the running game even though I know that, last week, Price threw the ball over 30 times. They're 50-50, I think they ran it 43 times and threw it 41, and that's tough because they're balanced.
Can you talk about what you got from Art Norman and Darryl Cato-Bishop?
Art in particular, in the sub package when he was in the game, did a good job of rushing the quarterback. I think he had eight quarterback hits or pressures; that's what he brings, he's a very quick guy, can get off the edge and get pressure on the quarterback. Darryl started for the first time at that position and did a lot of good things. There's a lot of things, technique-wise, that don't show up to the fan until you look at the film, where we got hurt a couple of times in the running game because we didn't close on blocks, but they're all correctable things. For the first time, for those two guys, it was a good start.
Cornerback David Amerson was on Summers a lot on Saturday. Can you talk about the job he did and his progression?
Well you know, we flipped him; we put him on No. 1 [Summers]. We told him all week that you are going to play against him because Summers is 6-5 and David is our biggest corner. In the first half, I thought he really did an exceptional job. Then, in the second half, they obviously had the double move for the touchdown and you got to learn from that because he was sitting on routes. He sat on one where he dropped the interception over near our bench and obviously their coaches saw it and took advantage of it. David's got a bright future and David is just going to continue to work hard and practice. He'll be fine.
Coach O'Brien mentioned that he thought Liberty could help prepare the team for Wake Forest. Can you talk about the similarities between the two offenses?
The throwing game is similar; formation and personnel-wise, I don't know if its that similar. They're different in the sense that the quarterback at Liberty was going to have the ball in his hands 90 percent of the time, which he did in our game. The guy is exceptional, he's a great player. [Wake Forest quarterback Tanner] Price is going to throw the football, I don't think we're going to see him run the quarterback sweep and those types of things, especially with the knee injury's he got. I think that the game is going to be a little bit different in that respect but they've got good athletes outside. Chris Givens is outstanding, No. 3 Michael Campanaro was the tailback last year and had seven catches; those two guys had 14 catches against us between the two of them. We've got to be aware of where they are but it's going to be a typical ACC game and it's on the road so we have to be ready to play.
Can you talk about how you thought Audie Cole did for his first game in the middle?
Audie was fine, Audie did a good job of setting the defenses, making the calls. He did a good job, he was very active - he had 10 tackles and you expect your Mike linebacker to be involved there. He was involved in some game-turning plays, he recovered the fumble, so we were pleased with what he did.
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