Excited to get a shutout win last week. Offensively started a little slow, missed on a couple throws, and then got in a good rhythm and were able to get some explosive plays on offense and then get our running game going in the second half. I think we continue to do a nice job of spreading the ball around and making people play 53 yards of the field.
Defensively it was as good as we've tackled and minimized plays over 10 yards in the game. There was only three against us. Our punter Wil Baumann really had a nice day.
It's good to be 4-0 and excited to start conference play and obviously have a great challenge with Florida State at home. Very, very good football team, they haven't lost a game in a long time, so we know we're going to have to be really good to play with these guys, and looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity in front of us.
Obviously you talked about the 4-0 start and being happy to be there. What are some of the key areas that you really think this NC State team different from last year has been able to do to have so much success to start the season?
Our quarterback play is one. We've been very consistent there with Jacoby. He's completing balls, he's making a lot of timing throws where people can't get to him, ball is getting out.
And the second thing is the production in our run game. We've had balance. We're averaging over six yards a carry with three different guys. And the third thing is our offensive line. We didn't have Joe Thuney last week, but we've been rotating six guys through the five spots for the four games, and that's helped us just having some guys playing together and building that chemistry.
And then when you look at Florida State, what are you seeing on film of them? Obviously they had a comeback win with their backup quarterback last week. A little different this week when they come in and see you at home, but what can you say about them?
Well, they're a great team. On offense, the No. 1 receiver probably in college football there, and as many good receivers as Florida State has had, Greene is potentially going to be the only guy ever to be their leading receiver for four years in a row, which says a lot about him. Nick O'Leary, the tight end, I mean, those two guys are weapons. Obviously Jameis is hard to deal with and a very, very accurate player. They have five seniors on their O-line. They did lose two great receivers a year ago, so you see where the ball is going a little bit more with the tight end in Greene.
But on defense there's a lot of new faces in there. A lot has been said about Eddie Goldman. I think he's a great defensive tackle and does a tremendous job two-gapping people and penetrating and causing disruption on the defensive side of the ball.
But they're a very good team.
I was wondering what the impact of Jerod Fernandez's development has had on your overall defense.
Jerod Fernandez? I wouldn't say he's had an impact. I mean, he's playing really hard. Last year Robert Caldwell led our team in tackles there, so Jerod has stepped into that position.
He's young. He plays really hard, and because of that effort, he makes plays. He's got a lot to learn still as a young player, and I love how hard he plays. I think that's the biggest thing that you see. It's really important to him.
But he's a freshman; he's got a lot of room to grow still.
When you look at film of the FSU-Clemson game last week, was some of the success that Clemson's defensive line was able to have against Florida State's offensive line, was that due to personnel or schemes that they were in?
Well, Clemson did a nice job with their blitz package. They showed a lot of different things to Florida State. You can tell they spent a lot of time getting that 3rd down package and obviously having a first-time quarterback having to face it made it easier for Clemson.
But I think Clemson's defensive end just ran by them a couple times, and he does that to a lot of people. He's really good.
I just think that some of the looks that they were giving, I don't know if they out-schemed them per se, but they were difficult looks. A quarterback seeing that for the first time, I'm sure that wasn't on film for him to study. That's hard in your first start, and for the most part he handled it well. He threw for 300 yards.
The only other thing I had, do you see any differences in Florida State's offensive line this year on film compared to last year? I know they have four guys back from a year ago.
I mean, their center last year was as good as they get, so regardless of who replaces him, he had big shoes to fill. In my opinion I thought that guy was really good. So yeah, I mean, you do see a difference at center, but it's not like the guy in there is not a great player. He's just replacing a guy that was one of the best in the country.
Obviously you're 4-0. Considering who you've played so far and who you've got coming up on Saturday, how much are you still kind of curious about your team and how much will this game really tell you about your team?
Well, I mean, every game tells us something, and unlike you, I'm not going to discount any win. Being 4-0, I'll take it any day. I'm proud to be in that position.
Every game we play we learn something about our football team, and when you play a team with the nation's longest winning streak, it's a really good measuring stick.
Have you noticed a difference at all this week heading into-- obviously Florida State is an ACC team, so does that add a little bit more for your postseason hopes or what have you? Also being the No. 1 team in the country, have you noticed an uptick in energy in practice this week heading into that game?
Well, yeah, any time you're playing the No. 1 team in the nation, you're going to have a rise in your energy level at practice. I think that's normal. The guys are excited for an opportunity to play at home against such a great team, and this game means a lot for a lot of reasons, and one of our goals is to be undefeated at home.
There's no doubt, and this is one of the teams we play at home. It's a huge challenge to meet that goal, and looking forward to seeing our guys go out and try to get it.
With Florida State, obviously now one of their big defensive tackles is out for the year in the Lawrence-Sample kid. I know you've talked about Eddie Goldman being really good, as well, but how much does it help to have three or four different guys to run out there, running backs, so you always have fresh legs going against that defense?
Yeah, it helps a lot, it really does. A lot of people would miss a player like the one they lost, but they've got five other D-tackles that they rotate, so their depth there is pretty good. But having three backs for us is big.
I wanted to ask you about the mental aspect of playing a team like Florida State with, as you say, the longest winning stream in the country, defending national champs. They've been very overpowering, yet you have guys on your team that beat them two years ago.
Yes, we do.
I just wonder if that can carry any kind of confidence or give you a mental boost going into this game.
Yeah, possibly. Obviously the kids that played in that game, and there's a couple of them, Brian Underwood is still here, and Tyson Chandler and Rob Crisp, so there's some guys that were a part of that, too, McGill, and I know that'll always be with them, that confidence that you have from beating a team, and it was a comeback win.
I don't know how that doesn't help you. I think we're the last team to beat them, and I'm sure that's something they talk about, too. I know they want to keep their streak alive, and just like everybody that plays them, we want to be the one that ends it. We've got a big challenge in front of us to get that done.
I know even though last year you didn't have a great year, one of your really great showings was against Clemson on a primetime night game at home. I just wonder if the fact you're playing at home, you've got to have confidence even against a big-time team; is that fair?
Yeah, I mean, I don't think you beat anyone if you don't have confidence. The first thing I said to our team when we met Sunday is you've got to play with confidence and trust the plan and play loose.
It doesn't matter who we're playing. You can't get all tight because it's Florida State. You've got to play loose and trust the plan have faith in the players and the plan and the coaches and the process, and if you do that and you play with extreme effort, then you have a chance to win every game, and that's what we need to find out if we can do.
Just wanted to ask you a little bit about what you learned about Florida State and their ability to win without Jameis Winston at quarterback and how does his presence now in this game change the complexion of how you prepare for them?
Well, it was an impressive win. Clemson missed two field goals and fumbles the ball away and has a high snap on the 1-yard line going in, so there was a lot of miscues by Clemson.
Florida State forced a key fumble there at the end which won the game for them. They found a way to win, and at the end of the day, that's what matters more than anything in football. It says a lot about the resolve of their players and the way they were able to stick with their QB and their coaches.
Jameis obviously creates a different problem. The guy hasn't lost a game in a long time, and he's one of the most accurate players in the country when it comes to throwing the ball, with or without blitzes. We've got a huge challenge with him in there, and the confidence in our group that no matter what they think they can win. So I'm excited to go out there against a team like that.
I think that's what you always look forward to as a coach and the players is playing against a great team like that.