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December 21, 2011
On a wet but mild Wednesday afternoon, NC State had its final bowl practice in Raleigh. The team will travel to Charlotte Thursday to begin a six-day stay at the Belk Bowl site. Here is head coach Tom O'Brien's post-practice Q&A with the media.
How is this game different for the older guys like Audie Cole?
"It's there last game, last chance to be a part of this football team, be a part of this program. It's not unlike senior day all over again. This is the last time they are going to be able to wear this uniform and the last time this football team is going to be together. As an upperclassman, there's finality to this whole game."
Do you think back about those older guys and where they started?
"You mean how bad they really were at one point? (laughs) How fast they had to learn?
"I think that's true. The best thing that we've done in this is that the older guys coach the younger guys, gives them a better understanding of what it's like to be coaching, too. Trying to get guys what they are supposed to be doing and recognize things and it also helps them understand the defense and everything we're doing more."
Have you had anybody ask the NFL Draft Advisory Board for a draft grade?
"[Terrell] Manning has, he's the only one."
What does Louisville do offensively that concerns you?
"Their quarterback. He's a dual-threat. He's really talented. He can run, he can throw the ball. He can beat you with his legs and beat you with his arm. It's important that we contain him and keep him in the pocket. He's stepped up a lot, takes off and he can really kill you with his legs. He's the guy that makes their whole offense goes."
Audie Cole said that he doesn't always look to run first but he's one of those that's forced to he will.
"Oh yeah, he's really capable of taking off and running the ball. As the protection breaks down and quarterback starts running around, then you worry about your defense breaking down. That's where you have to keep your discipline, you have to stay back and you have to keep everybody in front of you and know where their receivers are."
Who is he most familiar with you have played this year?
"He's be along the lines of the kid at Clemson, the kid at Florida State, those types of guys, strong-armed guys that can run around with the football."
You said wet practices are usually good, was that the same today?
"Well this wasn't really wet, but this was the last one so they were happy to get it over with and get out of here."
What's the schedule tomorrow?
"We're taking the bus to Charlotte."
So no practices?
How excited are you about not getting on a plane?
"To me that's great. It's nice to be able to just take a bus ride and you don't have to go through airport security and everything else and get on another bus and go. You just throw it under the bus, you go, you get off the bus and you're there.
"We'll go there tomorrow, we'll have meetings. Basically we're going to meet just to know where the meetings are so when we start the next morning we'll be able to go."
What were the best things to happen in last year's game?
"Last year we played great defense against a very explosive West Virginia football team. I think the defense played as well as it had all year. We had a game plan offensively. We didn't turn the football over. Other than one touchdown pass for them it was a heck of a game for us."
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