O'Brien Talks North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien met with the media today to discuss North Carolina. He talked about the rivalry, UNC tailback Gio Bernard, and much more.

Tom O'Brien

"[Gio Bernard] is a great back. He's tough to bring down and he has a very powerful lower body with great quickness and speed, but it's their offensive line. They've got three seniors up there and a junior at left tackle."

"In the past, they've been kind of like us, we were starting our fifth different offensive line in seven games. They've had that situation over there. They've had a lot of moving parts, but they've been consistent up front. You look at Cooper at left guard and he might be a first-round guy."

"Not to take anything away from [Bernard] because he is a great back in his own right, but certainly this is the best offensive line we're going to play this year."

"I think they've been beat up, banged up when we played them. They have different parts in there then they have had in the past. These guys have played every game thus far this year. That's the key to having a good offensive line, other than having good players that they have, is to be cohesive and playing with the same guys week in and week out. They are the least-sacked team in the conference today."

"[UNC's offense] is similar to what Clemson is doing and it's similar to what we saw in the second half at Maryland. It's the Rich Rodriguez offense. It's what he started back at Tulane, to Clemson, and to West Virginia. It's very similar to that."

"We didn't tackle particularly well there in the second half. I think some of it was apprehension on our part due to some of the thing things going on. As I said to the team, I'm going to treat it like it was an opening game after the break and we need to get much better between the first and second game here in the second half of the season if we're going to have any success."

"A lot of people are in tight games."

"You have to be able to have success in [late-game] situations and I think then the whole team has confidence in the quarterback."

"We thought [Niklas Sade] was special the day that we signed him. That he would be able to handle those situations and kick them from anywhere on the field. for him to be able to do that should be a big step forward for him too."

"[When told that in all the wins UNC has had better players and teams] Geez, you keep dissing my team."

"That's a perception problem. I don't deal with perceptions, I deal with realities."

"[T.Y. McGill] is getting better each and every week. He was forced into action last year which was a good thing for us. He exposed himself in the spring game when he ran Asa Watson down from behind on that long pass... he's still learning the position and he has a ways to go but certainly there are flashes of him making plays."

"[McGill] has a great personality. He loves to play the game... he understands."

"[The winning streak] is certainly brought up, but that's the way rivalries are."

"I think the [win at home vs. UNC] when Dana was sick and missed the game [was the most special]. The week before we had to go to Blacksburg and we had one week to get organized on offense and try to win the game. What a great job the team did, and Russell did and everybody that day, coming back in the second half... because of the circumstances of the game."

"Russell said after the game he threw the ball in the stands and then he had to go up in the stands and get it to give it to Dana. He had to find the person he threw it to and give him another. I think that one was probably a little more special than the others for those reasons."

"It's hard to play this game and not know about it. There are certain games that are special because of all the influence on the outside looking in, no matter where you go or what you do."

"We're going to have trouble sacking him. He's only been sacked five times all year. They love to get rid of the ball quick. He loves to throw the ball to the tight end. He's a tough matchup for anybody because half the time he is flexed and almost a wideout. He and Highsmith are generally together. They are both two big guys."

"I wasn't over there. I was flying back. I don't know who [put State paper clippings in North Carolina's locker room."

"If you have a problem with something you make sure it gets corrected."

"We still have to do what we do best."

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