O'Brien: Line Play is the Key

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media following Tuesday morning's practice.

Tom O'Brien

Are you guys going to practice tomorrow?
No, when we get together tonight at staff meeting we'll figure out what we're going to do. Probably not, we'll probably walk-through like we normally do the day before the game.

Thoughts on Cincinnati QB Zach Collaros:
He's very elusive. He's thrown for a very high percentage the last year, great completion percentage, and his passing efficiency was off the charts last year... it looks like it's continued this year.

He's similar to what we saw last week in Godfrey, and he's similar to Russell. He can beat you with his legs and he can beat you with his arm. He's a very confident kid. He runs around and makes a lot of plays.

How much better do you feel today about getting ready for Thursday's game than you did yesterday afternoon?
I didn't feel bad yesterday afternoon. It is what it is. The game is scheduled. We're going to do the best job we can to get out there and put our best foot forward so we can have a great game Thursday night.

What have you see from special teams on kick coverage?
We were better until Saturday night when we gave up the touchdown. Other than that, I think we've got to continue to work and work hard.

Special teams is a lot about individual effort. That's more where individuals can show up and outwork the guy across from them.

We're better athletically I think on special teams this year than last year so I think we've just got to continue to get better.

Thoughts on freshmen contributing on special teams:
Sometimes freshmen make mistakes, but they overcome it with their enthusiasm and athletic ability. As they continue to play they will continue to get better.

How important is it to you that NC State has Military Appreciation every year?
I think it's huge. I don't think anybody can do enough for the men and women who serve our country... who put themselves in harm's way for us. Anything we can do and any token of appreciation that we can show is tremendous.

I'm fortunate to be at a school that does it and really takes it serious because of the history of a lot of our graduates. Last night I got another flag that was flown over Iraq or Afghanistan, the second one this year, NC State grads are over there watching us and thinking about us, and appreciate the support that we give them.

The reverse pass from the UCF game, is that a play that might have fooled you guys last year?
Might have? It would have. Absolutely.

Thoughts on Cincinnati's run defense:
They are very solid up front. They've changed back to four-down linemen, and the two tackles are really excellent inside. They play with three really good linebackers who have great speed and play downhill fast. That all contributes to them being able to stop the run.

The amazing thing is seeing a team like Fresno State that has run the ball well over the years, they shut them down too.

Is that maybe the biggest test for you guys... your offensive line against their front?
Certainly it will be.

Can you talk about how good it was to see the team kind of bail Russell out after he's done that so many times in the past couple of years?
I don't think they had to bail Russell out, we played a football game. Guys contributed on both sides of the ball and we've got to get contributions in all three phases of the game.

That's what we're waiting for. That's the game we have to put together. To get all three of them to play the best game they can play.

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