O'Brien: "The Goal Is Being Better"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Tom O'Brien spoke to the media following the Pack's first scrimmage of the spring. The Kay Yow Spring Game will be held on April 21st.

Rushing: 31 carries for 170 yards

Passing: 18-of-39 for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions

Kicking: 5 field goals... the shortest was 20 yards, the longest 50 yards

Defense: 15 sacks for 55 yards, 2 interceptions


North Carolina State ran through a 75-play scrimmage Saturday morning that saw offensive highs like two touchdowns and 170 yards rushing, and defensive highs like two interceptions and 12 sacks.

The two touchdown passes and the two interceptions highlight a battle of expected strengths for the Wolfpack as the first-teamers of both units went head-to-head. The NC State secondary, led by David Amerson, was one of the top in the nation last season and are continuing their play in the spring.

"They (the secondary) are operating at a high level of efficiency, which is good for them and our quarterback," said head coach Tom O'Brien. "And they are going against a good quarterback. It's all about making you better which is making you better. It continues to climb."

One of the more surprising takeaways – and pleasantly so for O'Brien – was the contributions by a three-man rotation of running backs on Saturday.

O'Brien said that redshirt sophomore Tony Creecy is pushing senior James Washington who carried much of last year's load. Redshirt senior Brandon Barnes also caught the eye of the coaches during the scrimmage, prompting O'Brien to point out multiple tackles that the 6-foot, 210-pound back was able to break.

"When you have depth, that creates competition, O'Brien said. "When they know there are only X number of plays you can play in a game, you're fighting for that number because you want to be out there. That's a good thing to have. Each of them are different in their own respects."

Barnes carried just three times last season for 10 yards. The team averaged just 104 yards on the ground per game.

O'Brien did not shy away from addressing the inexperience the Wolfpack are seeing at wide receiver and linebacker this spring. While he did not go into detail of specific plays, O'Brien said that spring will not determine the starting linebacker corps and that the wide receivers are not at the level that they need to be at.

"The goal is being better the next time out," O'Brien said. "This is the first test. We only have one more before the spring game. They will be better next week."

O'Brien was not as concerned with the high number of sacks surrendered by the offensive line over the course of 75 plays attributing it to matchups and situations.

The Wolfpack will continue spring workouts next week leading up to their spring game on April 21.

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