NC State head coach Tom O'Brien had a couple of important points to get across to his football team during the bye week.
One dealt with on the field play. He noted that in State's two losses, they had 10 turnovers, and in the four wins the Pack had just four turnovers. O'Brien also detailed how State had given up twice as many big plays on defense in the losses than the wins.
Secondly, O'Brien told the team that just as all the things the players heard after the Miami game were not true, neither is the stuff they were hearing after the Florida State win.
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"We're trying hard to just go back to concentrating one day at a time and one game at a time," O'Brien stated. "That's all we control. We'll figure out today who we have to practice tomorrow and try to have a great practice tomorrow, try to have a great practice Wednesday and Thursday not listen to everything on the outside."
That's why NC State's bye week may have come at the absolute perfect time for the Wolfpack.
"I think we've handled adversity much better than we've handled success. It gives us a week to kind of feel good about ourselves, and then certainly it's over with," O'Brien said.
"Looking at the challenge that Maryland presents it'll certainly get our attention very quick once we get ready to go this week."
O'Brien noted that the Maryland defense is ranked second in almost every important defensive statistical category in the ACC except scoring, where they are third. He also praised Terrapin freshman receiver/kick returner Stefon Diggs, whom O'Brien noted "beat Virginia last week by himself."
"They are being really creative getting the ball to Diggs," O'Brien stated. "He's a dynamic guy, and they find ways to get him the ball."
Last year State memorably rallied from a 41-14 deficit in the third quarter to top Maryland 56-41.
"They were 2-9 at that point, and now they are 4-2, and they've won two in a row," O'Brien pointed out. "It's going to be a whole different attitude going up there, and going to College Park has been a tough place to play."
Maryland has won eight of the last 12 games against NC State, including six of the last seven in College Park. O'Brien has yet to beat Maryland at Byrd Stadium, part of a stat that will likely be repeated often this week: NC State is 0-13 in Atlantic Division road games under O'Brien, and going back further State has lost 16 straight divisional road contests.
"Just means I am a bad coach against opponents in our conference on the road," O'Brien said. "It's my fault when we lose. I'll try to be a better coach this week."
Click on the video module to watch O'Brien's Monday press conference.
- O'Brien said that starting offensive tackles Rob Crisp, a junior, and Andrew Wallace, a fifth-year senior, did not practice during the bye week.
"We'll see what they can do this week," O'Brien stated. "If they can practice and practice enough to be effective, then they'll play. If not then they'll show up Thursday on the injury report."
- How good was the fourth down and 10 pass to Quintin Payton late in the fourth quarter against FSU? O'Brien said that "might have been the single best throw [Mike Glennon has] made since he's been here."
"He made that throw and got crushed," O'Brien said. "You look at that game and then you look at Miami, he's put together two pretty good back-to-back games."
Glennon completed 54 of 92 passes for 699 yards and six touchdowns with three picks in those two contests.
- FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher apparently stated that the Noles still controlled their own destiny in the ACC, which is technically not true. If the Pack wins out, they would win the Atlantic Division.
O'Brien repeated the goal for NCSU was and remains to win the ACC.
"That's why it was so devastating the loss at Miami, the way we played and came back," O'Brien said. "And then we're back on track now. However it worked out, it worked out fine. In the scheme of things, it was much better to beat Florida State than Miami if you're going to be 1-1 in those games.
"We picked the right one to win for us being able to get to Charlotte. So now we have to continue to win. Any loss by us, Florida State probably does go back in the driver's seat. I guess [Fisher] is counting on us losing."