Gottfried: "We Have To Bounce Back"

NC State head coach Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media on his weekly teleconference.

Opening Statement:
Obviously we have to bounce back. We had a very difficult first half at North Carolina, and we are going to play against a team that's very difficult for us to play against in Miami. They've done a great job with their zone defense and how they utilize ball screens.

We've got a week. We don't have a mid-week game which is good for us and gives us some time to really work on some things and get ready to play the road on Saturday.

Thoughts on tempo in the ACC and if he has a preference on how to play...
Well, we would prefer to play a lot faster and score in the high 70s and 80s, but you don't always get to. The other teams, they practice too and get good at what they are trying to do.

Miami is one of those teams. They aren't going to play fast, they aren't going to take a quick shot. The way they play offensively dictates a lot how many possessions are in the game.

Every team in our league is different. You just have to be ready to be a good team against any kind of style.

Is it harder to speed a team up or slow them down?
I think sometimes it's harder to speed one up. They have the ball, and they are going to dictate the speed of the game and how quick they shoot.

If they are taking 25 seconds off the clock and you are taking 10 you better score or you're going to spend a lot of time defending.

Thoughts on the bye week and its impact...
When you get to the end of the season you always look back to if you've had an off weekday or a weekend. Everybody needs that... each team. It depends on how your team is playing, whether or not it comes at the right time.

It's good for our guys academically. We have a week where if they've fallen behind they can catch up and try to get ahead. If there is work they need to do because we don't have a mid-week game.

As far as our team, it's just part of it. I don't know if there is anything you can pull away from it. Whether that's good or bad, it kind of depends on where your team is at that point.

Thoughts on the strength of the ACC...
I think our league is much better than it's perceived right now. For example, I look at Miami. They've played Syracuse twice, and we all have great respect for Syracuse. They've been right there with an opportunity to win twice. You look at Virginia and what they are doing.

I listen to the national commentators, and I was one so I'm sensitive to this. Northwestern beats Wisconsin at Wisconsin and I hear how great the Big Ten is, instead of... if that's in our league its as if the league isn't very good because one of the teams that isn't very good went in there and beat a good team.

I think it's perception. I think our league from top-to-bottom is very good. We're halfway through the league right now and four teams have pushed out front, but there's not a lot of room for them to relax because there are a lot of capable teams in our league.

Kyle Washington is coming of a tough game. How do you approach him?
With me, the No. 1 thing is to love on him. He's a guy that wants to do well, practices hard, and plays hard. He had a tough game, which every player that has ever played has.

He didn't play poorly because he wanted to play poorly, it's just a part of the process of being a player and growing up. He's young.

For me, I'm going to love on him, we're going to teach him, talk to him, and show him some clips on tape.

After that, you move on and you get yourself ready mentally to play the next game.

There are a bunch of freshmen point guards in the league. Can you talk about the growing process with handing the ball to a freshman and letting him lead your team?
It's difficult because you're asking a lot more of that guy than some of the other freshmen. You want him to be a leader, think the game, you want him to be two steps ahead of everyone else mentally throughout the game.

That is a difficult thing for a young freshman, but it is kind of where we are and there are a lot of teams in the league playing a freshman point guard. It does make it much harder.

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