O'Brien: "Guys Are Fighting For Jobs"

RALEIGH, NC -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media today to discuss spring practice.

Tom O'Brien

Thoughts on Audie Cole's transition to middle linebacker:
Everything is different for [Audie Cole] right now, but he's smart enough to figure it out and a good enough athlete the more reps he gets the better he'll be."

Is Cole physical enough?
Oh yeah. He'll be fine in there. That's not a problem. It's just a question of reps and seeing things.

When you're on the perimeter you see everything coming at you. Everything is in front of you and you have time to react. Things move a lot quicker in the box, and sometimes you don't know where they are coming at you from.

He's just got to get used to that aspect of it.

How is the D.J. Green experiment going?
It's the same thing [as Audie Cole]. He played a little bit of nickel back, which is the same thing so there's not as much learning curve other than he's a young, inexperienced guy.

He's just got to get in the games, get reps, things like that. He's got enough ability, he'll see things out there. There's a little more time to see and react.

He's working hard just like everybody is, and he's starting to get a little better. The more he understands the faster he'll play.

How is Mike Glennon progressing?
He's been fine. I haven't seen a problem with him at all. He can still make all the throws, and he has a good command of the offense. He understands what we're trying to do.

The receivers have to get on the same page as him. That's where things are lacking in the passing game. It isn't the quarterback, it's the receivers.

What have been your impressions of Rashard Smith since he's returned from injury?
I think he and Jarvis Byrd have both returned thinking they should be the starting cornerbacks. That's helped us. We've created competition, and competition is good.

Guys are fighting for jobs, and they are hungry right now. They want to be a part of the football team. It's tough to sit out a year and watch, especially a year when you are having success.

Are they showing signs of being able to start?
Not right now, they've still got to go through. They both had pretty severe injuries and we're kind of watching both of them.

We don't want to overstress them and have them with a setback injury-wise. The most important thing is to get them through the fifteen days of spring.

Do you expect this team to be better than last year?
I expect us to be competitive. We're at that stage where we should be able to compete and be in every game.

It's just a question of if we coach them well enough and they play well enough to win.

What do you like about this group?
We're more mature than where we've been at this point. We kind of understand where we're supposed to be and what we're supposed to do.

There is more experience out there so there is not as much indecision, there are not as many missed assignments, not as many goof-ups.

They know where they are supposed to be. Now it's a question of if we can get there and get there fast enough to be a good football team.


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