O'Brien: "This Is A Key Game"

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Belk Bowl Media Day was held at Fuel Pizza today, and NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media to discuss Tuesday's matchup with Louisville.

Tom O'Brien

"You look at both teams, at a point in the season... nobody expected the two of us to be here. It will probably be one of those games that will go down to the last play, and I'm sure the bowl will be happy with that one."

"Coach Cowher has come and talked to the team a couple of times... he said adversity doesn't build it character, it reveals character. I think what it did is reveal the character of this program right now. I think that's a good thing going forward."

"There was never any quit in these kids. They knew they had been dealt a tough hand early in the year with all the injuries."

"We kind of had to rebuild the defense, they did that. After that fifth game we were 11th in the conference on defense, and we ended up fourth in the conference on defense. They made a great move those final seven games of the year."

"I think it's really rewarding as a coach when you have the opportunity to be around kids like that... they never give up."

"I think our quarterback did a great job the last two games of the year."

"As we told him in the halftime [of Maryland game]... bullets are cheap. Keep firing... we're not going to run out of bullets. He kept firing."

"I've run into a lot of people over the holidays who honestly admitted they had left but came running back in for the fourth quarter."

"This is a key game for this football team. They fought so hard. What you don't want to have happen is just be happy to be here... happy to have won seven games."

"You want to be hungry. Bowl games are won by teams that are hungry. Teams that want to win football games."

"I think both of us are very resilient. I think both teams have shown that."

"Just keep playing the game and sooner or later someone will tell you it's over... hopefully you've got one more point than the other team does."

"It's a game here in our state. We are the state university, not to be confused with anyone else."

"Our fans are here and they are excited. When Wolfpack Nation gets excited that's a good thing."

"We played [Amerson] as a true freshman because he was so athletic. I think what he has figured out now is how to study the game... he's always had real good anticipation with his talent. By being more experienced and with the confidence he has, he's been able to make a lot of plays."

"[Glennon] learned a lot as the year went on, and you would expect that. He studies the game, he works at it."

"He has talent like [Matt Ryan]. That extra something inside, he still has to prove that he can do it. But, coming back at Maryland, doing some of those things, his starting point next year will be a lot higher than this year."

"I'm looking forward to seeing how he does this game because he's had an opportunity to go back, he went through the tape... he's got the opportunity to get better."

"We never got flustered. They bought into the, 'don't look at the scoreboard, just play the game.' They learned how to do that."

"We've got to contain [Teddy Bridgewater]. He's such a talented guy with his legs. He's got a great arm, he can throw the ball."

"All freshmen, by about the six-game mark, are no longer freshmen. They move on."

"The injuries decimated us so much through the Cincinnati-Georgia Tech games."

"Once we won the Virginia game, there was a sense that, Okay, now we are. We've got a chance at this thing."

"I give that to the coaching staff... the key to that is you've got to give them a plan on how to win. The coaches did that."

"We gave them a plan of what they had to do to win, and they followed the plan."

"We always thought [Amerson] was capable of playing like that, but to see that happen so quickly as a sophomore, people tried to pick on him. He figured it out. He made them pay."

"Anything in the kicking game is a big game-changer."

"Big East teams are much more physical teams. Their style of play is much more physical than the ACC."

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