NC State's football team had little time to celebrate the 28-21 win at Central Florida Saturday night, especially the defensive coaching staff. That's because Thursday night Cincinnati, two-time defending Big East champs, come to town with their vaunted spread attack.
"That's the new thing in college football, spread you out, get one on one and hope their athlete is better," Wolfpack defensive coordinator Mike Archer said. "You got to gang tackle, you got to get people at the quarterback. Central Florida tried to spread us some times in the run game and most of the time we did a good job, but these guys if you miss one tackle, they'll take it to the house."
The Pack started their preparations by looking at game film from the Central Florida win Sunday and then practicing Monday morning.
"We tried to come in early yesterday morning and look at that film because there were a lot of things we had to get corrected," Archer noted. "As well as we played early in the game in the fourth quarter we didn't finish some things. We had to get those things corrected which we did and then moved on to this team.
"It's a quick turnaround in the morning but I thought our guys had focused well this morning. The players have to help us by staying off their feet and rehydrating and eating right because Thursday night is going to be here quick."
One thing the game film probably revealed was a much improve defense that for three quarters dominated Central Florida. Then the Knights put in athletic freshman quarterback Jeffrey Godfrey, and UCF rallied. Cincinnati junior quarterback Zach Collaros can also move around.
"He's similar to what Godfrey did Saturday night, so they are going to look at that film and feel like they can exploit us some on the perimeter as he did in the fourth quarter," Archer said. "We've got to work hard on stopping the quarterback. You can't focus on him solely because their running game is good."
Archer noted that Cincinnati likes to use three running backs and have good experience on both the offensive line and at tight end. He also has great respect for their receiving corps.
"The athletes they have on the perimeter, their receivers are all big, strong guys that can catch it," Archer said. "They can go vertical. They throw the ball deep."
NC State's defense will need another strong performance from its linebacker corps. Redshirt sophomore Terrell Manning had 10 tackles in the season opener against Western Carolina. Redshirt junior Audie Cole had 12 tackles, including 3.5 for loss and a sack, and an interception in the win over Cincinnati.
"I think [Cole's] got a chance to be an outstanding football player," Archer noted. "He has the ability to dominate a game, and he did that Saturday night. Hopefully he can continue to do those things. We ask a lot of him both in our base package and our sub package because he can force in the blitz, and he can be very good in coverage. He does a lot of things. He sacked the quarterback, made an interception and made tackles for loss. We tried to build this thing around him and some of our other guys, and they were very productive Saturday."