O'Brien: 'They Are As Good As They've Been'

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tom O'Brien met the media following Thursday's practice and discussed his special teams with the season opener just a couple of days away.

Tom O'Brien Audio

"I think [Niklas Sade] has been fine. It's going to be interesting to see what happens on Saturday night the first time he kicks off. He's been good enough in practice, he's got enough elevation, he's got enough depth on the ball."

"Once again, the whole kicking game depends on how they react once the lights come on Saturday night."

"It's not been under the radar at all... we're dependent on three freshmen to perform. That's a lot to put on their backs, but they seem to be great and seem to have accepted the challenge."

"There are going to be a few other guys who haven't been out there."

"What he has to do is execute the offense. It's not all on his back. He's a part of a team. There are 11 guys out there that have got to do their jobs. He's got to do his job. He can't do any more or any less then is expected of him as a starting quarterback on a major college team that wants to challenge for a conference championship."

"[The returners] are as good as they've ever been. You've got the 2,4,6,80 combination back there. That's what it looks like as they stand back there, the four of them. They have all returned kicks and worked hard at it. It gives you some chances and possibilities that if someone is nicked up or not doing what they are supposed to we can go to someone else."

"You can't, it's impossible to do that in practice because we don't have skills that they have. Their quarterback is a lot like the kid at Central Florida last year, Godfrey, who came in and kind of embarrassed us a little bit running around with his quickness... you harp on contain, you harp on keeping him within the structure of the defense."

"I think we have enough quickness, I think we have enough experience now. We're still not an old team. We only have three seniors on defense and five seniors starting on offense. We're a young, experienced team. That's still good for the future but we'll see how good it is starting Saturday night."

"Some guys are offensive players and that's what [Rashard Smith] was coming in here. We had to put him on defense because we didn't have any corners to play with in those days. He has a great feel for the game, he understands the game... he really studies the game. That has impressed coach Bible the most, the effort and work he has put in because it is not an easy offense to figure out... in a relatively short time he's done a great job which tends to make you think that's more of where he is suited to play."

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