Head coach Tom O'Brien said during Monday's weekly press conference that a team should be competitive during its fourth year under a new coach.
NC State is not only competitive, they can win the Atlantic Division of the ACC conference Saturday if they win at Maryland.
O'Brien said that is not going to be easy. Although Maryland was eliminated from Atlantic Division contention last Saturday with a home loss to Florida State, the Terps still have plenty to play for, especially since its senior day for them.
O'Brien is also impressed with Maryland team that he said is similar to NC State in that they have been healthier and more confident this year. O'Brien is impressed with Maryland redshirt freshman quarterback Danny O'Brien, and O'Brien was complimentary about the Terrapins skill position players. O'Brien is also a big admirer of Maryland senior middle linebacker Alex Wujciak, whom O'Brien joked has been leading the conference in tackles since he has entered the league.
Here are some other tidbits from Monday's press conference:
- O'Brien expects that fifth-year senior receiver Jarvis Williams to play Saturday against Maryland. Williams was ejected against UNC for an altercation with UNC sophomore linebacker Kevin Reddick, but O'Brien said he was told by the officials at the game it was a flagrant foul. A flagrant foul does not carry a suspension into the next game.
O'Brien added that he has not heard from the ACC about Williams and does not expect to. Replays showed that Reddick punched Williams after the play. O'Brien did not seem interested in pursuing the matter with the ACC over Reddick's punch.
O'Brien was proud of the fact that Williams did not retaliate to the punch. He noted this is the second straight year a UNC player punched an NC State player and the Wolfpacker showed good discipline and did not retaliate. Last year UNC defensive end Donte Paige-Moss punched NC State linebacker Sterling Lucas after the game.
- O'Brien said that they did not recruit Maryland quarterback Danny O'Brien even though he hailed from East Forsyth High in Kernersville, N.C., and despite the fact he shared the same name as the Wolfpack coach's son.
- NC State will be practicing Tuesday morning as regularly scheduled, but Wednesday and Thursday's practices will be later in the day. The team will celebrate Thanksgiving dinner at the Angus Barn restaurant.
O'Brien thinks it's a blessing in disguise that students will be off for Thanksgiving break this week. He believes it will allow his team to be free of some distractions.
Click on the link to listen to O'Brien's weekly press conference: