NC State head coach Tom O'Brien talked with the media via the ACC teleconference Wednesday, and he admits that is happy to be in a bye week. He also updates the status of freshman cornerback Rashard Smith's knee injury.
A transcript of the teleconference is provided below:
Well we certainly need to get back on the practice field this week. There's a lot of things after the last two weeks we have to get corrected. We have to go back and spend a lot of time on fundamentals and base offense, base defense, base kicking game, and see if we can come out of this Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday three days as a better football team.
Is Rashard Smith injury similar to Russell's where it's a non-surgery but rest and rehab deal and who are you looking for to step up in the secondary while he's gone?
It's exactly the same injury. His knee drove into the turf in the second quarter when he knocked the ball down on the deep pass. He actually played the rest of the game with it and didn't tell anybody which jeopardized his whole knee. It's a 12-month rehab period that he will go through. Hopefully he will be back and be ready for spring practice.
Certainly it's a setback for us. We finally after starting six different secondary groups in seven games thought we would be locked in here. It's a part of the thing Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we have to work through now isfind out where we are going to go, what we're going to do with the secondary.
You said 12 months, did you mean 12 weeks?
Twelve weeks, yes, sorry, my bad.
With the open date, with the few days off is that more important for them mentally as it is physically?
It certainly is, and there are a few guys we'll have to not get on the field this week because of bumps and bruises but hope to get back by the time we start. Certainly they have to I think the mental part is big right now for this football team. We haven't had the same type of play for the last two weeks that we did the first five weeks.
So it's something we have to get back as coaches and I have to get back, get them back flying around and doing things. We've had effort, but it doesn't seem to be a spark. Mentally it's get away from it and we'll come back and start our second season on Sunday as we prepare for Florida State.
Do you like taking a day off as a coaching staff and is that important, too?
They've been recruiting Monday, Tuesday and we'll recruit again Friday. They will get a day off on Saturday. The same thing for them, we understand the situation we're in and know we got to get this thing headed in the right direction and the work we have to do. As you said, I think it's important that they get some time off, too. Spend some time your family and come back refreshed on Sunday and see what we can do the second half of the year.
Do you think there is a reason why you have won your last three games after a bye?
I don't know. Hopefully we do a good job going back and doing fundamentals and getting things structured. Every year is different. BC we were an established football program. Here we are still in flux and trying to get things more solidified consistently and it's hurt us more than anything for the past the last two years. I don't have an answer, but I hope it holds true now.
As a preparations guy, do you look forward to that bye week?
Yeah, I think generally when it comes this time of the year. Just going to the three years here, our first year we didn't know what we were, the personnel, and we were trying to put square pegs in round holes. We changed it that week in it.
Last year it was a question of we were getting guys healthy again, to get them back in, plus we coached the freshmen the same that we coached the starters this week. We give everybody equal opportunity because the philosophy always is you play for the day but you're playing for the future every time you go on the practice field and anything you do in the program.
The situation we run into this year with the injury situation is now we have guys getting hurt. Instead of guys coming back, we're losing guys. You never suspected after all the guys we lost last, we'd be sitting here with nine guys out for the season, of which five guys could really be helping this football program. You couple that with the two guys we lost after spring practice that left the program this summer especially in the secondary. One was projected starter that could really helped solidify and give us the consistency we need. It's even more important this year because we're going to have to find new players to play positions for us the last five games of the year.
You mentioned the recruiting, how big and important is an open date to recruiting and do you focus on juniors or seniors?
We're going on this year's class. I don't know what we can say about anything recruiting, but we're really excited about the direction of recruiting and where it's going right now, but there's still some other guys, that holes we have to fill on this football team. A lot of times in this off week it becomes apparent, you spend time on that aspect of it, where we have to go and what we have to finish up to have another excellent recruiting year to put three classes back together that will be the future of this football program.