AUDIO: O'Brien Concerned With Road Matchup

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media to discuss Saturday's game against UCONN.

Tom O'Brien

How has the team been the last couple of days?
I think we've been fine. They are a pretty resilient group. They've had ups-and-downs, and certainly it was a low for them, but I think the extra day helped too. With the extra day, you get away from it, let things go, come back Sunday, and it has got progressively better as the week's gone on.

They are able to put things behind them and focus on what they are able to get done to win this football game. We'll find out come Saturday at 4:00 if we did what we had to do to win it.

How did R.J. Mattes grade out in his first game at left guard?
I think he's done an exceptional job. I think it's a good spot for him and more importantly, I think he feels it's a good spot for him going forward. It helps solidify the middle which we've had trouble with the last couple of years. We've always seemed to be short one but now with those three guys in there we're pretty solid up the middle of the offense.

How did the offensive tackles do?
I think they are still a work in progress. More than the guys inside they are new to the position. It was good for them to play against a bunch like Tennessee, and it's going to be good for them to go against this kid 48 this week. That's the 100-meter champ in Connecticut. He can run and get off the edge.

We'll be challenged this week too with speed off the edge, and that's all good and positive going forward.

UCONN uses the wildcat. How important will it be for your linebackers to be lined up properly?
That's huge. Recognizing personnel in the game, what they do with the personnel because it changes totally from an I, power running, play-action dropback passing game to an option, speed-sweep... everything else.

11 is a good athlete and a good quarterback. 10 in his own right, we don't know much about him as we've only seen him one game as a JC transfer, and they set him up to have success.

It will be a challenge for the defense as it was last week, getting lined up and getting in the right spots.

All six of your guys made NFL rosters. How big is that for you and the program?
It's exciting. You get to watch the game last night, even though our guys lost, we had three State guys and I had three BC guys playing last night for the Giants. When you put six guys in the NFL and they all make NFL-day rosters that says a lot about the coach's evaluations and recruiting the right kids.

Were you surprised by J.R. Sweezy's development as an offensive lineman?
To tell you the truth, as we got through this, we told them both, J.R. and Markus, that they are probably NFL offensive linemen. They are college defensive tackles and it's no different.

It's ironic because R.J.'s dad, Ron, played defensive tackle for us at Virginia and went on to play eight or ten years in Seattle as an offensive linemen. It's deja vu all over again with a guy that I know going out to Seattle and playing on the offensive line.

J.R. works so hard and it's really important to him. He has great leadership abilities, and you know you can count on him in there. I can see where he could be a good offensive lineman going forward.

Thoughts on playing a road game after a tough loss:
You don't want to go on the road after you have a tough loss the way we had a loss. I don't think that... it's going to take a lot for this football team, and it's going to show a lot about the character of this team. How are they going to react to that? Certainly after the game, because of some of the guys that played for the first time, you would like to be at home and play somebody that maybe you can get lined up and use as a practice session or whatever but that isn't the case anymore.

We've got to go on the road and play a BCS team... and a Big East team that's probably mad at an ACC school, which Connecticut has always been.


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