O'Brien: 'They Have Great Fans'

N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien discussed this week's game against Boston College in his weekly teleconference. O'Brien talked about the weapons he has on offense and East Carolina's home crowd, among other topics.

Opening Statement:
Well, we're working extremely hard before we head down to play East Carolina. We know how important this football game is within our state here.

Certainly they're coming off a great victory Saturday night down in Hattiesburg. So look forward to a tough game, and hopefully we'll be able to hang in there with them.

I wanted to ask about their offense. Coach Ruffin comes in from Texas Tech. Is this essentially the Mike Leach offense that put up such huge numbers down there, or is there much difference?
No, I think it's the Mike Leach offense. Their coordinator was on the staff down there. He actually called the game in the bowl game and followed the plan that Coach Leach had in place there last year.

I'm sure with anything, you fit certain things to your personnel but it's the point a minute offense or whatever they call it.

I also wondered about the site of the game played down there. We wonder about home field in various sports. Obviously in basketball it's a huge advantage play. How much difference does it make in football to play on your home field or on the road?
Well, I think home field should be an advantage, especially if you have great fans, and they have great fans down in Greenville. It's a packed house, a tough ticket to get. Last time we were there it was wild and raucous, and I expect it to be the same when we show up on Saturday.

I believe it's three times this season that Russ has completed passes to ten or more receivers in a game. How important is it to have that kind of an array of options?
I think when the defense is down and says who do we have to stop? They say the quarterback, number one, then number two, who is he throwing it to? Well, he's throwing to 10 or 11 different guys. It's kind of tough to single out one guy here or anywhere else.

It's an advantage for us because all of our players know that they better be running the routes where they're supposed to be, and be there when they're supposed to be there, because they're liable to get the ball because he's going to throw it to them.

It makes it better for practice for us, because everybody's engaged. They know if they practice they get their opportunities on the field.

Somebody's going to throw them the football, and they'll have a chance to make the play.

Did you know coming into the season you were going to be this deep at the receiver positions or was this something of a surprise?
No, we knew that coming in. That was our strongest position coming in, and it was our most experienced position coming in. Basically we're playing three seniors, three juniors, and one red shirt freshman. So a lot of experience there.

Just wondered what your impressions were of Dominick Davis? Did you recruit him at all during your time at B.C.
No, we didn't recruit him. The staff behind us recruited him. I think he does a great job in their offense. It's suited for his skills. No better example of what he did a week ago.

They're ahead, and he throws an interception with eight minutes left to go in the game. Southern Miss goes up and he comes right back down the field to complete the fourth down pass to win the football game.

Obviously, it suits him. He's comfortable in the offense. He's won one game on the last play of the game throwing the Hail Mary up. So it's very dangerous, and a very dangerous offense.

Other thing is, you're stepping out of conference here in the middle of the season. But you're staying in the state. Does this have the feel of a rivalry-type game?
It certainly does. It has since we've been here. We've had great games with East Carolina. This is the third time I've played them in four years.

Having been there one time already, we know how difficult a place is to play in. How difficult a place it is to try to get a victory in.

To follow up on playing down in Greenville, you're talking about what a tough place it is to play. What makes it tough? What do you remember about being down there?
The fans. They have great fans. They're loud, enthusiastic. I think the game itself, we go down there with the big bullseye on our chest. So the whole atmosphere is whatever it takes to beat State.

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