O'Brien: Team Needed Some Time Off

N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien discussed his football team during his weekly teleconference. O'Brien talked about several players, including Robert Crisp and Russell Wilson.

Opening Statement:
We will get on the football field tomorrow for the first time since last Saturday. Gave the fellas a few days off. They were tired and we tried to get them back both mentally and physically ready to prepare for our game with Florida State a week from tomorrow.

Wanted to ask you about Rob Crisp and just your assessment on how he's played and how difficult it is to learn as a freshman up front?
It's very difficult to come in and play as a freshman on the offensive line. Not a lot of people are able to do it or can do it. In most of the cases its by necessity. I think there are a lot of very good prospects or good talented kids coming in, but it's something that you don't want to be in the situation to have happen if you're coaching a football team.

Now he's somewhat of a special young guy, very mature for his age, and has very good physical talent. He did a nice job for us. He's learning each and every week and getting better. He's back in the back-up role now, so he's about where he should be.

Is there an aspect of the game in particular or the players that you think are more difficult for them to understand?
His spot at left tackle is certainly pass protection. All the different intricacies that has to be learned and going with each different protection as they relate to the defense that he's seeing.

Do you believe that the ACC would do better with getting some new blood like they have in the ACC Championship game, or do they need to get teams like Florida State and Miami back in there to have some national relevance to have conferences like the SEC and Big 12?
I think we have to get the best two teams in the conference in the championship game. Doesn't matter what name's on the jersey; it has to be the best two teams to earn the right to get there.

As far as Russell Wilson's game last weekend, was that just a fluke, because he's typically not that bad with the interceptions? Is he going to be focusing on that with the secondary coming up next week?
Well, certainly, I think he focuses each and every week on how to prepare and make sure that we don't turn the football over. One of the throws was at the end of the half, another w s at the end of the game when he was trying to make something happen. Not the overtime period; I'm talking regulation. So with that being the case, sometimes those are going to happen.

I was looking at the numbers of both you and Florida State on third down. It looks like to me third down can be a big down in this game coming up next Thursday night.
I think it's a huge down any game you play the third down.

I wouldn't disagree. It's just the numbers that are dictated here.
Well, we've been pretty good getting off the field this year, which has led to a great improvement on our defense. We've certainly done a pretty good job of staying on the field, which is reflected in our possession time also. So, third down will be a key thing next Thursday night, and hopefully we can continue the way we've been going.

I heard you on 620 here in Raleigh this morning, and I heard your comments about just when you try to talk to the team about staying away from the mentality of the "what could have been" with the close losses to Virginia Tech and ESU. I was just wondering through seven games this season is obviously in the win column and a lot better for you since you've been coaching here at N.C. State. How would you overall assess your performance and your team's performance at the midway point here?
I think we're a much more competitive football team than we've been the past three years. That's due a lot to some of the young kids are growing up, much more experienced. Obviously, the biggest thing is the fact that we haven't suffered the devastating injuries we have the last two years. We said at the start, the best thing for us is to have a normal year like everybody else, and that's what we've had. That, coupled with some of those young kids that have had to play because of injuries the last two years are much more experienced and more mature. Even though we have a long way to go, we've been very competitive. Won five games and lost two games at the end.

From what you've been seeing with Florida State, are they for real now? I know they did not look good in that game against Oklahoma, but obviously no blemishes since then. Have they been as good as you've seen them at N.C. State?
Yeah, they're much more explosive. You watch the Miami game, it's frightening how good they were. So we have a huge challenge, but thank God we got some time to rest, and hopefully we can regroup here and have a great night next Thursday night.


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