I think practice takes care of [getting better]. We still have a lot of improvement to get done from the game on Saturday night in all phases offense, defense and the kicking game. We have a lot to cover with them. You congratulate them on the win, but you also remind them that we have to improve in certain areas if we are going to beat teams throughout the season. I thought it was a good first game as far as execution was concerned. We were consistent in a lot of areas, but there are a bunch of areas we need to improve on.
On N.C. State quarterback Russell Wilson:
He is obviously a great quarterback and good athlete. He is a baseball player too. He was impressive in the first game against Western Carolina. He threw for over 300 yards and has a good feel and good poise back there. He has some good pretty good receivers to throw to - a lot of deep balls and a lot of rangy receivers that are long. We will have our work cut out for us in the secondary and obviously containing him with his foot speed and the running game.
On games against automatic-qualifying BCS schools:
In Conference USA we schedule a lot. We have four non-conference games for each team that's in the conference. Conference play is extremely important because it dictates where you are going. Recognition in the country comes from your non-conference wins and I address that with our staff and our players that you got to win the non-conference wins. The way the schedule falls out this year, the month of September is all non-conference games. The schedule worked out well that way and then we tee it up with the conference games. It is extremely important. If Conference USA wants to get any recognition as a conference they got to win these games and not just schedule good opponents.
On a lot of running backs and receivers touching the ball against South Dakota:
I like to keep fresh legs on the field if we can. Obviously the score dictated a lot of that last weekend. This weekend North Carolina State looked very good against Western Carolina offensively, defensively and in the kicking game. We are going to have our work cut out for us and we are going to have to shore up some of the areas that we really need to improve on from last game.
On areas that need improvement as seen on the film of the South Dakota game:
Offense and defense and the kicking game. There are a bunch of things in those areas we need to improve on. The biggest thing was consistency as far as finishing some plays defensively. We were sticking our nose where it didn't belong instead of playing the call. We have always been a very good, accountable defense and I thought we had some situations where guys were where they shouldn't be. We corrected that at halftime. The second half we went out and sixty of the seventy-nine yards were in the last eight minutes with the two's and three's in the game. They turned it up a notch second-half and understood to play the call. They hit the play right [South Dakota] and the kid was a good bounce runner, twenty, and he was running to the end and no one was out there so we had to get that corrected.
On Josh Linam's first start last week:
There was competition during preseason and they [the linebackers] were great every day, they all are. He [Josh Linam] beat out [Chance] Henderson but they both play and it's a long season. One game is a game that you go out and see if they follow the game plan and get things done right. You are only as good as you are two-deep, I have always believed that, and we are getting better two-deep as far as depth is concerned. That's what is really important thing about a football team is a bunch of guys that we can put on the field. We are not losing a lot as far as with them [the backups] on the field. That is what the difference is this year as compared to some of the past years where we may have had seventeen or eighteen kids I felt comfortable putting on the field. Now for the most part we have enough depth to put in a replacement and get some good downs out of them.
Is confidence a big thing with Rob Calabrese?
It's a big thing with any athlete. I thought the key to Rob was that he went out and was very efficient and very consistent and that is what he needed. That's what the doctor ordered. I was happy for him. I get a little disturbed at some of our student body before the game when announcing the starting lineup we got students booing your starting quarterback. I turned around and they saw me looking and stopped. That's not how that kid should be treated. He went out and did a great job as far as getting things done and really managing the game. Every time he was out there he moved the chains and for the most part scored almost all the time he was on the field with the unit. I was happy for him. He knows he made a couple different mistakes that he would like to improve on. That's what I have been seeing in preseason.
Do you think N.C. State will come after him more with blitzes?
I would come after any quarterback. I think quarterbacks are too good and the receivers are too good to sit and let them sit back there unless you got four war daddies up front that can get to the quarterback. That is what is important. If you can do that then you can play coverage. Everybody mixes it up between the blitz and regular rush. The passing game, everybody has got so much better at it. They [North Carolina State] have a kid that has poise back there and he has some good receivers to throw to that have some range to them 6-foot-4, 6-foot-3 guys. They throw a lot of deep balls so we are going to have to get some heat on the quarterback and ideally you would like to not have to blitz to do it. Last year, we did not do as much because we had some guys that could get after the quarterback. This year, I think in certain situations you have the right combination on the field.
On Latavius Murray:
He came in because he was playing H-Back for us and really a posse tight end that can get vertical on third down. He is back at running back. He is a 6-foot-3, 224-pound guy that really I am looking to get more out of as far as getting more things done. I talked to him about that. Sometimes, as I told our team, even if you are with special teams there are 44 players in the four units say kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return, and 10 of them are starters. Only 10 players that start on offense or defense are a part of the 44 man unit. I am always on that other 34, if you take the kickers out it is 32, we need to get more out of them as far as contributing.