O'Brien: "There Is A Lot To Play For"

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

Tom O'Brien

"It was good that we had last week off. We've handled adversity much better than we've handled success, so it gives us a week to feel good about ourselves. It's over with, and looking at the challenge Maryland presents will certainly get our attention once we get ready to go this week."

"When you look at the past, we've had to restructure teams, we've gotten people back from injury. That's not really the case, we lost Forrest West the other night, but certainly there is a lot to play for with this football team. You've got six conference games, you have to go to Maryland, who is second to Florida State in every defensive category in the conference with the exception of scoring defense. They are second in total defense, ninth nationally, playing really well. The front seven is formidable."

"On offense, they are being really creative getting the ball to Diggs. He beat Virginia last week by himself. He's a dynamic guy and they are finding ways to get him the ball. The quarterback, they are managing, he's a freshman. He was a high school wrestling champion, and when he takes off and runs it looks like he isn't going to avoid you, it looks like he is going to run you over. This will be a big challenge."

"Rob Crisp and Andrew Wallace didn't practice at all, but we'll see what they can do this week. If they can practice and practice enough to be effective, they might play. If not, they'll show up Thursday on the injury report."

"[Not winning Atlantic Division road games] just means I'm a bad coach against opponents in our conference on the road. It's my fault when we lose, try to be a better coach this week."

"It was a remarkable performance, and you have to give the offensive line and Mike Glennon a lot of credit. He learned a lot from the game a year ago when we got sacked on a regular basis at FSU. He got rid of the ball a couple of times. The 4th down throw he made to Quintin Payton may be the single best throw he's made since he's been here. He made that throw and got crushed, and that was a heck of a catch. The three 4th down conversions was pretty solid. The line did what they had to do. Twice we gave up holding penalties, which was probably right because we might have lost our quarterback if we hadn't tackled those ends. We'll take those to keep him upright."

"We did a really good job at halftime adjusting to the run. We didn't quite get it communicated on the sideline in the first half. We got it drawn up at halftime, they understood and we did a much better job against the run. Sacking the quarterback helped us."

"There are two things I told the team yesterday that are pretty apparent. In the two losses, we've turned it over 10 times. In the four wins, we've turned the ball over four times. In the two losses compared to the four wins, the number of big plays on defense are twice as many in the losses as they have been in the four wins. Cut down the big plays on defense and it makes a heck of a difference."

"[Winning the Atlantic Division] is still a goal, that's why the loss to Miami was so devastating. We're back on track now, however it worked out it worked out fine. It was much better to beat FSU than it was Miami, if they said you were going to be 1-1 in those two games. We picked the right one to win, and now we have to continue to win."

"All the things being said about them after Miami aren't true and all the things being said about them after FSU aren't true. They have to concentrate one day at a time, be the best they can. After six weeks, we'll add it up and see if we're in Charlotte."

"Stefon Diggs will have the same impact on the league as Sammy Watkins had a year ago, as far as a skilled freshman coming into the conference."

"We've done a pretty good job in special teams the last two weeks against pretty good returners. This is three weeks in a row, it doesn't mean we're going to contain him, but we've worked hard on it the last two weeks. That is one of the things we've done a pretty good job of kicking the ball."

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