O'Brien: "He's Had An Excellent Year"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien discusses the Wolfpack's schedule for Christmas, Louisville, and linebacker Terrell Mannning with the media.

Tom O'Brien

Thoughts on Mike Glennon:
The best thing he did is focus on himself and what he had to do each and every week to get better. We knew he would get better because he works so hard and he's a talented kid.

What is your schedule for Christmas?
Christmas Eve we practice, but we practice on Christmas too. We'll get up that morning, and we'll have church service right there in the hotel. We'll have a brunch, go to meetings, go to practice and then have the world famous Christmas dinner that night.

We spend a lot of time in hotels during Christmas time so we know how to do this. We make it as much about family as we can. One of the kids will be Santa Claus, last year it was Tyson Chandler. I don't know who we'll elect this year to be Santa Claus... we have to travel with a lot of little kids and we give them gifts.

We then finish up with the world famous 12 Days of Christmas.

What does it take to be Santa?
Hefty. It takes somebody to look like Santa and fit into the suit. We have a problem getting guys into suits too.

Could Alex Barr be in the running?
He could be as a freshman... he might make it. That's a good candidate.

Do you know if Mustafa [Greene] will be back for spring practice?
I haven't asked. When we took him out for the rest of the year from my understanding he would be back for spring practice, but I haven't checked on his rehab lately.

Have you been pleased with the backs, James Washington and Tony Creecy?
Yes, Tony Creecy has really improved as the year has gone on and helped that position immensely. James [Washington], coming into last year he was going to be the back until he hurt himself in preseason camp with an ankle and really didn't get healthy until the last month of the year.

Mustafa really burst on the scene and had a great year.

I think Tony has done a great job. He's grown up a lot during the year and has played better as the season has gone on.

Can you talk about why you believe Louisville improved as the season went on?
They grew up. They played all those freshmen, so many freshmen at key positions.... quarterback, wide receiver, they've got a freshman int he offensive line. They've got guys on defense that are freshmen. I think it's a matter of them growing up.

They've surrounded them with some really good senior players that they've got on their roster, but I think their skill players have really grown up and it's helped them on offense.

Do they run the wildcat more than most teams?
Fortunately, starting with BC we've seen a lot of the wildcat, different formations through Boston College, through Clemson, and through Maryland.

It's something where you've got to recognize formations, you've got to recognize the personnel in the game, you've got to recognize if you've got a two, three, or four-man surface... you've got to do all that quickly.

That's the advantage... to try and get you back on your heels. The defense, we've worked these past two days on Louisville and we'll do it again tomorrow. That's the focus, making sure you get lined up right because if you don't that's where you have problems.

Can you talk about the season Terrell Manning had?
I think he's had an excellent year. He got hurt here I think in the South Alabama game and missed those two games. He came back early, but it was crucial and we ended up beating Central Michigan.

The second half of the year when we got those kids in front of him healthy it really helped him a lot because it kept him clean and running.

I think he can be better and get better. Certainly he can be a leader for this football team next year. He's got the capabilities. He's been around, and he's played enough.

We didn't get Nate-type of leadership out of these kids this year, but he's got that type of ability to be that type of leader for this football team going forward.


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