Obviously we're excited for the opportunity to coach and play against a great team like Clemson on a national stage, and these are the kind of games that players and coaches alike all joined up to do these things because of this kind of opportunity.
Look forward to seeing the guys compete.
We play a great team in Clemson that returns a lot of very good players, experienced players, and a staff that has continuity against a young team that has a new staff, so a lot of challenges for us, but we do have a great home field advantage in Carter-Finley and our fans, so anything can happen on a day, and that's why you play the games. I know our guys are excited to get out there and compete with them.
I was just curious if you or your staff
had gone back and watched the 2011 game the last time Clemson played there when NC State
was able to handle them pretty handily.
Yeah, we didn't. A lot of our players were in that game and have talked about it, but they're a lot different team than they were two years ago. They were a young team at that point in time, and it was a different staff here. We've watched every game they played last season and their bowl game and first two games of the year. I think that's enough.
In watching that then, you've
obviously had your fill of the tape. What is the
biggest challenge that they present on
Well, they're an extremely good talent. I think schematically they're very sound.
They do a good job with misdirection and tempo. They have players that make plays when they have the ball in their hands, and they have a lot of them. It's just the depth and the continuity of their offensive line. There's not really a weak spot you look at. Anytime you play a team with a three-year starter quarterback, they're going to be able to do a lot of things with their system.
There's so many different things you have to defend, guys just have to leverage the ball and tackle well and stay on top of receivers and play with great effort.
You mentioned the great home field
advantage in Raleigh. I just wonder is it greater
on a Thursday night game? I know in your
experience in the MAC, didn't you have a lot of
Friday night games? Am I correct?
I wish. We played on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Friday would have been great for what we had to deal with. You know, I think it just depends on where you're at.
I haven't been here for a Thursday night game, but from what I understand the people really pack it in. I'm looking forward to -- everyone has been talking about it in town here for the last 10 days, so I know the people are excited to be here and support the team.
As a coach in terms of perception of
a program and recruiting, Thursday night offers
you the spotlight as opposed to Saturday
afternoon when there's 200 games going on.
Can you talk about the advantage you hope to
reap from a game like this?
Well, certainly you enjoy the opportunity to showcase not just the game but both universities I know have a lot of media during commercials talking about their different programs. You have two great schools competing against each other that are great universities.
It's a great opportunity, and I think -- I told our players yesterday, how many times do you get to play where you're one of the only games on TV in front of a sold-out crowd against a top ten team.
I mean, just relish the moment, enjoy the moment, and really understand how lucky you are to be in that situation and go out there and give everything you have.
Last year you faced of course E.J.
Manuel in the Orange Bowl, Florida State. This
week you've got Tajh Boyd. Are there any
similarities between the two? Do they remind
you of each other at all, or what are your
impressions of Tajh?
I'll be honest with you, I didn't coach in the Orange Bowl so I didn't face him. I didn't watch film preparing for Florida State.
I was on the road recruiting for North Carolina State. I mean, he was a tremendous quarterback and so is Tajh, and any time you play against a three-year starter that has the accolades that Tajh Boyd does, there's not a whole lot of film you can pull up where you say, okay, we've got this guy. He's a really good player.
What are his best attributes?
Well, he's accurate.
His completion rate is high. This year he hasn't thrown a pick yet, and he can get out of trouble with his feet, and he's a strong runner. When they ask him to run, he's not just falling forward, he's knocking people back. To be out there for three years and have 36 plus games of just learning as a QB, there's not going to be a lot of coverages or blitzes that you show him that he hasn't already seen.
What are some things you feel like
you guys have to do in order to have a chance
at the upset?
Well, we can't beat ourselves. We can't be a team that turns the ball over and has a lot of penalties and feel like we're going to be okay.
We got away with it a week ago, but it won't work against a team like Clemson. We've got to have a good start, want to get the crowd into the game early.
They score a lot early in games and kind of separate themselves by halftime, and that can't happen. We've got to stay in the game and play with some good momentum and keep it going. Those two things are pretty critical.
Defensively it's going all to be about not letting them have explosive plays for touchdowns. If you can just make them earn it and tackle well and force some turnovers, get the ball back for your offense, then you've got a chance.