PINEHURST — North Carolina State coach Tom O'Brien might be new to Wolfpack fans, but he isn't a stranger to his ACC coaching peers.
Discipline, meticulous and a proven winner were some of the descriptions given to O'Brien by his fellow conference coaches.
O'Brien, North Carolina's Butch Davis, Boston College's Jeff Jagodzinski and Miami's Randy Shannon, have been fairly or unfairly, are linked together as the new class of coaches in the ACC.
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has coached against O'Brien-led teams the longest among ACC coaches, dating back to their Big East days.
Beamer has recruited against O'Brien for top Virginia prep prospects for the last two decades, as O'Brien formerly was an assistant coach at the University of Virginia.
"He'll be a solid football coach and be consistent," Beamer said. "They don't beat themselves. You have to beat them. He'll bring a disciplined program. They've been very steady through the years, as that is who he is. He's a very good football coach."
It might take some time for O'Brien to contend for an ACC title, but no one would bet against it.
"There are some quality coaches taking over these teams," Virginia coach Al Groh said. "I'm sure they (NCSU) will be well-coached. Tom's teams have always been very précised and disciplined."
Groh's son, Mike, played for Virginia in the early 1990s when O'Brien was an assistant coach for the Cavaliers. Mike Groh is now the offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach at UVA.
"My awareness of Tom is observing his teams," Al Groh said. "Mike always remarked how meticulous Tom was and his attention to detail. How explicit he was in his instruction."
Davis, O'Brien and Duke coach Ted Roof were able to play some golf together this week, with the coaches praising Davis' game.
"They are both proven winners and are quality people," Roof said. "I think they'll both do a great job."
Beamer said the shakeup at the four ACC colleges would make it harder for teams to know the tendencies of NC State, Miami, Boston College and North Carolina.
The coaches at least know what to expect with O'Brien's offense, but aren't sure what the defense will feature with new defensive coordinator Mike Archer, who came to the Wolfpack from Kentucky.
O'Brien and Beamer have coached against Davis when he was at Miami, and Shannon worked under him. Plus, Shannon's defense won't change with the Hurricanes, and the offense won't be too unknown because new Miami offensive coordinator Patrick Nix was hired from Georgia Tech.
Even new B.C. coach Jagodzinski has some ties to his coaching peers because he used to be the Eagles' offensive coordinator under O'Brien.
"It will always be work in this conference, whether coaches leave or not," Shannon said. "It's going to be a great conference because of the coaches in it. You have a lot of experience and knowledge in this conference.
"I don't know if there will be a dominating team in the ACC (because of the quality of the coaches). I hope we can win five or six conference championships, but it is going to be difficult and it will be tough."