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October 4, 2012
Tom O'Brien Q&A: Pack finalizes prep for FSU
NC State coach Tom O'Brien met with reporters for the final time before Saturday's primetime contest with Florida State. A full transcript of what the coach had to say after practice is below:
How has the team's response been to the loss been this week in practice?
Sluggish to start the week, we were real tired and slow on Tuesday. I think as the week progressed, we did a little better yesterday and much better today. I think that the weather helped a little bit. I think the distance of the last game and the proximity of the next game has helped, too.
We were just tired, legs were tired. That was my biggest concern. It wasn't the mental aspect of it, it was the physical aspect of being four hours in the sun [against Miami], 90 degree weather - it can take so much out of you, it takes a while to get yourself back and get yourself going. Certainly, we're going to have to play fast on Saturday night. If we're not at 100 percent, then we're going to have problems. I think as the week went on, guys took care of themselves. I think without classes today and tomorrow, they can get themselves rested and ready to go on Saturday night. Certainly, the crowd can bring a lot of energy, too - let's say we're lacking in the tank, it has to be filled up by the enthusiasm of our fans come Saturday night.
Did you lighten the load?
Absolutely, all week.
How confident are you that some of the problems on defense can be fixed or are being fixed?
I'm confident because the problems we've had on defense have been guys that have done it in the past. They just have to get their act together and start playing the way they're capable of playing.
The linebackers are still growing, we knew that was going to be a problem. Coaching-wise, you can compensate for those things, but when the other pieces around them aren't performing, then it's tough for them to be successful, too.
How has David been in practice?
He's been fine.
Did you spend some time with him?
We've had a little conversation.
Do you think he's distracted at all?
I absolutely do. I think there's too many going on outside. He leaves here at 11 a.m. and we don't see him again until 6 tomorrow morning. The way social media is and everything today, there's so many things going on now that weren't going on five years ago. It takes a lot of maturity. I think he's a mature individual, but there's some things that he's got to get focused on, and that's playing the way he can play.
Can you talk about the challenge of that offensive line going through so many changes?
The second half, we were not playing one guy in the position that we wanted them to be in when we came out of preseason camp. It's going to be a challenge, especially against this defensive front. It's going to be a great, big challenge, especially on offense with the offensive line against arguably the best defensive line in the conference.
How did those guys like redshirt freshmen Joe Thuney and redshirt sophomore Cameron Fordham respond to getting in the game against Miami?
I think they did really well. You can't have all the yards on offense that we had and not have some production from the guys up front. It changes, though, because when injuries happen guys play in the heat of the game. This will be a big challenge for them because now it's been a week and the opponents see who they are what they are. There are different things you can gameplan for when you've got a week to get ready for it.
What makes FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel so tough to deal with?
He has the ability to pull the ball down and run. He's one of those guys that will run it. Last week, we talked about [Miami quarterback Stephen] Morris wanted to throw it first, it's a jump ball with [Manuel] whether he's going to take off and run. You've got to keep him in the pocket - he's a good pocket passer, but it's still better to have him in the pocket than running around and have the coverage break down behind you. He can take off, but like I said after watching him last year, he's a lot like Donovan McNabb was when he was at Syracuse.
Last year's game against them was such a wipe out, is there anything to learn from that? Have you looked at it this week?
Certainly, we always go back and look. The staff has been there for a couple of years, so you always go back and try to figure out [what they do]. You always make notes. After the game last year, that's part of what Sundays is after you review the film. When you play in a conference and you play the same team, you make notes on what was right and what was wrong. You go back and review them, look at them and try to be better this year.
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