Olsen Ready For Challenge

Sophomore tight end Greg Olsen leads the team with 24 receptions. He also has 348 yards and three touchdowns on the season. Olsen looks forward to the challenge of the Virginia Tech defense on Saturday at 7:45 p.m.

"Practice has been going good," Olsen said. "I think everyone is focused in and knows what we have to do. We just have to approach them like we have the last couple of weeks. Now we have to go out there, execute, and play an all-around game."

Last year the Hokies defeated the Hurricanes 16-10 in the Orange Bowl. Olsen did not play in the game due to an injured wrist, but he remembers the game.

"I just remember it came down to the end," Olsen said. "They made a couple of plays and we didn't make a couple of plays. That was the deciding factor in the game."

Greg Olsen is a major aspect of the Hurricane offense and will need a strong performance to lead the 'Canes to a victory.

Tight ends coach Mario Cristobal thinks Olsen will be ready for the challenge.

"When you play a team like this that has the ability to take away some of your weapons, you have to make sure your weapons are on," Cristobal said. "And he is one of our weapons. It is going to be a hell of a challenge for him because of their linebackers and their safeties. I expect both sides to play hard."

The Virginia Tech defense ranks first in the country in points allowed per game giving up just 9.1 a game.

"They have a good all-around defense," Olsen said. "They have a lot of good players in a lot of different spots, but we feel comfortable with what we are going to do."

Olsen will often go up against a talent trio of linebackers who are the top three tacklers on the team. Vince Hall leads the team with 70 tackles followed by James Anderson (55) and Xavier Adibi (46).

"They have three good linebackers," Olsen said. "They are pretty physical guys. They try to free those guys up and let them run around to make plays."

Olsen recorded 137 yards on eight catches in the season opener at then-#14 Florida State in front of a national TV audience. He looks forward to producing on the big stage again on Saturday.

"Everyone wants that, no matter what position," Olsen said. "Everyone has to go all out and try to do everything they can in their power to help the team win. That is what I am going to do, whether it means I block or catch passes. Whatever I am called on to do I am going to try to do the best I can to help our team win."

Last week the Hurricanes found themselves down 16-7 at halftime against North Carolina, but scored 27 unanswered points in the second half while allowing just 18 total yards on defense.

Does that performance help build momentum heading into this week's game?

"I think so," Olsen said. "That second half, we showed, I don't care who you put out there, that when we fly around and make plays we will be successful."

After playing against five straight non-ranked teams, the Hurricanes and Olsen are looking forward to playing a big game.

"This is why you come play this kind of football," Olsen said. "You don't go to the games when there are 15,000 people. You want to play in the games where the whole country is watching with two top five teams, best two defenses in the country, and we'll see who is the best."

The team has been loose all week. Is this a confident team? Cristobal weighs in with his opinion.

"They know what they are capable of doing," Cristobal said. "They have seen it in flashes and spurts this season. They have been waiting for this game for a long time. They would like to tune out everything that is going on, but it is hard not to pick up a paper and read that everyone in the country thinks this game is a wash. All I can say is that is absolutely fine. Let's keep it that way and we'll see at 7:45 on Saturday."

Christopher Stock is a Senior Writer & Assistant Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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