Gottfried: "We Have To Play Well"

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried talks with the media with the Wolfpack preparing to play Wake Forest.

Opening Statement:
I think for us it's important to have a good quick turnaround. We have to play well in a short amount of time from a Sunday night game to a Tuesday night game. So I think that's going to be important for us is how we respond. We've got to get our legs back underneath us.

Get ready to go on the road and play a very good Wake Forest team who is a lot better than I think they were a year ago. They've got a lot of good, young freshmen. We have to play Harris and McKie, two great players in the ACC.

What are the ingredients that go into making Richard Howell such a rebounding machine, in essence?
I think he has great desire to get a rebound. That is half of the battle. He tries to get every single one. Then I think he understands how to rebound, how to get good position. He's got great hands. But I think more than anything it's his determination to do that.

Does the fact that he's concentrating so much on getting rebounds, does that detract from his offense at all? Because he's been real up and down offensively through much of his career. Does that impact other parts of the game, I guess, is what I'm asking?
I don't think so. I don't think in any kind of negative way. I think there are some games he's gotten a good offensive flow, and some he hasn't. But he's a good offensive player.

He's one of those guys that will score a lot of baskets offensive rebounds. So I don't think it detracts away from anything.

You mentioned the turnaround there. Do you guys do anything different in terms of practice? Do you give them more time off? Go up lighter? How do you handle that situation?
Yeah, we've got to go a bit lighter. I think most teams when they're in that situation and you've got a two-day turn around, there is not a lot you can do the day in between. We'll prepare as much as we can for Wake Forest, make sure our guys know all the things that we want to emphasize.

But at the same time, I think you have to be careful that you don't hurt your guys from doing too much today. So we'll go a little bit lighter.

Wanted to ask you, your cousins are the talk of the sports world right now. Does it make you shake your head this morning, or did you see this coming sooner or later that these guys were going to be going at each other on football's biggest stage? How exactly on the family tree are you related to them?
Well, the exact, I don't know if the definition of second cousins or whatever. But our grandmothers are sisters. My dad and Jim and John's dad, Jack, are first cousins. Their moms are sisters.

So when you're younger growing up, you don't really get into the seconds and third cousins. We're all just cousins. Everybody's just related one way or another. So I'm really proud of them. I know Jack and Jackie have got to be tremendously proud and excited. It's unbelievable, really.

Did you see much of them growing up? Do you keep in touch with them now, I guess? I don't know how much contact you've had with them over the years and today or not?
Well, my oldest son is a football player at Stanford. So, obviously, he went out there with Jim. Then John, I had just taken my four boys, my sons up to the Ravens and Giants game here adjust a couple weeks ago. So we went up and watched them play for a day.

We do some, not a lot, because obviously they're swamped in their years. I mean, they're obviously as busy as I am. So not as much as maybe we'd like.

Any insight into how is it these two guys first time ever two brothers are coaching against each other in the Super Bowl. What insight do you have on how these guys have pulled this off?
Well, they're both obviously very good. Being the sons of a coach, they grew up around the game. They grew up around coaching and watched their dad. My uncle Mike was the head football coach at Kansas and Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. I know John was with my uncle at one time as was Jack, his dad.

They've just grown up around it. They've watched it, and they're both very good, obviously. They're both very competitive. They've always been that way.

Your two freshmen are making big contributions as offensive players. Can you talk about the rest of the game? Are they doing what you're hoping on the defense, as play makers, ball handlers? The numbers say offense, but I'm sure there are other aspects to the game.
Well, they have made good contributions in a lot of other areas than just scoring the basketball. We've asked Rodney to defend our opponent's best perimeter offensive player a number of times. T.J. has done that as well.

So, I think from a rebounding standpoint, last night P.J. had six rebounds. So lot of times, young players see their value with their offense. In reality, it's not always with their offense. It's a lot of other parts of the game. And I think those two guys have done very well.

I wanted to ask you something different, if I could. I wanted to ask you about the State program in terms of the basics of the program. You've been at everything from UCLA to mid-majors in your career. When you get to N.C. State and see N.C. State in terms of everything about the history, the passion of the fans, the facilities, where does N.C. State rank as a program?
As far as what?

Is it good? Is there something they need to improve to be at the very top level? The record hasn't been good for 20 years, but there is still a lot of passion, support. You guys have obviously been successful in the last year or two. I'm just saying, when you look at the program, is there one area or any area where you think State needs to make some strides to be at the very top level of college basketball?
Well, I think there are a lot of great things about N.C. State to sell to young people. From our passionate fans to this institution, to our facilities. I mean, a lot of schools don't have what we have to sell.

I wasn't here for a lot of the years when N.C. State wasn't really good. I don't know all that was going on. We feel that we can become a very good team. We're trying to improve the program as we speak, since we've been here.

But I don't see a lot of negatives within this program. I see a lot more positives than negatives.

It's an interesting situation, the ACC, that North Carolina and Duke have been so successful, to compete for the top of this league, you have to compete for the top of the nation, right?
Well, you do, and I've said many times that some of the programs, the traditional college basketball powers, like UCLA and Indiana and Kentucky and Kansas, and over a 20, 25-year period, they've taken some dips. Where at North Carolina and Duke, they really have not.

They have been consistently very good. So you're constantly fighting that. They're good. It's also a motivator to make you do better. You're competing with the very best, and two programs, two coaches, being Hall of Famers, I mean, it's right here beside you, so I think it makes everybody compete harder.

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