Coming off of a very emotional, great football game at Florida State, a lot of really good plays made by both teams. Hard fought four quarter football game. Proud of our guys for the way they prepared. Just got to find a way to make more plays in the fourth quarter. Hats off to Florida State for finding a way to win on the road. Says a lot about the leadership of their team.
We move on to a really good Clemson team. They've had two tough losses against two great opponents and a senior class that is 21-2 at home, 21-5 as a senior class. A really impressive group of leaders at Clemson and a freshman quarterback that's lighting it up against a defense that has a bunch of seniors and graduate students on it.
It's going to be a great challenge. It's an awesome atmosphere, I've been told, to play in. For us to have to play in the top two teams in our league back to back, it's going to be a great challenge for our football team this week. Look forward to the opportunity.
Going up against Clemson, you come off an emotional game against Florida State. What did your team learn from that loss, and being able to score 41 points against Florida State despite the loss, what did they take away from that heading into Clemson.
I believe we can beat anybody, and that game showed. There were so many plays... even with the 41 points, our offensive guys will tell you, we turned it over twice, and one of them was in the red zone going in to score. We know that we can score on anybody. We have that confidence.
I think now we've had to deal with the crowd noise that we're going to get at Clemson, but I think it was a confidence builder.
Like I told the guys after the game, we're way better than we were, but we're not as good as we can be. So we've got to keep fighting and scratching to move and close the gap that existed between us and where we were last year.
When you look at that gap from last year to this year, what's going on that you're having maybe some difficulty in closing that gap? I mean, obviously, you had a 4-0 start, but against Florida State, what are some of the those things that you still need to address to get to where you really want to be?
We're the third youngest team in college football. That's the problem. We're just young.
We're playing teams like Clemson with seniors and graduate students, and freshmen and sophomores on our side. We're a really young football team.
We're playing hard. We're playing with passion. We're practicing hard. We just don't have the experience or the years in the weight room that our competitors do in some areas.
We tell our guys, we've got to be great technicians. We've got to play above our heads from an effort standpoint to meet up with the two and three differential on the teams we're playing. That's all it is. It's just a youth thing. We've got 51 freshmen and sophomores and 15 true freshmen that are playing. It's a lot different than Florida State and Clemson's lineup.
What challenges does Watson pose for you this week? What's going to be the message to the pass rush or the pass defense for how to contain that Clemson passing game?
Similar to playing Florida State, he'll run. He's one of the best spread runners in the country coming out. Right now he's throwing the ball really well, one interception and ten touchdowns, I believe.
His receivers are strong. They'll go up and get the football. They play with confidence. We're going to have to have tight coverage. We're going to have to be able to go up and play jump balls, and our pass rush lanes and our pressures are going to have to be disciplined.
I'm just moving away from the game on Saturday and just discuss a hot topic in sports, in particular, football-- concussions. Clearly, there were some mistakes made through some miscommunications with Michigan dealing with the head injury of the quarterback, Shane Morris. What's in place at NC State that would prevent this from happening during the game?
Well, any time there's an injury, whether it's a head injury or a bodily issue of the player, our training staff will take that student-athlete to our team physicians that are at the game.
Once they have a diagnosis, they'll report to me. Hey, Coach, he's out, he's concussed. Hey, Coach, he sprained his knee. We're going to see if we can get him back. Hey, Coach, he sprained his ankle. He's going to be all right. We'll re-tape him.
They give me the information, and I really have no say-so at that point. They're just going to tell me so I can get on the headphones with offense, defense, and special teams coaches and let them know that so and so is out for a while or so and so is out for the game.
I know after the Florida State game you mentioned that you guys really liked the matchup you had with Bo Hines. He's played really well and had a really good start to the season. What kind of makes him so good? I know he took advantage of a guy who's a freshman All-American in James Ramsey last week a little bit. Wonder what you guys have seen to give you so much confidence in him.
Just watching the film, we felt like there were certain routes that that guy struggled against, and he's really good. There's no question. He's on an island the whole game, playing man to man. When you play in the slot, it's not easy. Bo is such a good route runner with good timing, we felt there were things we could take advantage of. Sometimes we did, and sometimes we didn't. He won some, and we won some.
Some of the routes that Coach Canada came up with just worked against the leverage he was playing, and I think that's the biggest thing. When you're man to man, you can't play head up. You're either inside or outside, just trying to take advantage of leverage.
With an offense like you guys, you mentioned you guys have a lot of young guys, certainly the case especially with Bo. For him, I think he's pulling in something like four or five catches a game. He's among the ACC leaders in just receptions. How impressive is that for a freshman to come in and be that reliable, be that kind of player?
It's impressive. Bo came in early, so he was benefited from going through spring ball with us, and I think that's a big part of why he's playing so fast.
He's different. Just his dad was an NFL player. He played in a great football program at Charlotte Christian. He was well coached. He's one of those guys that football is not hard for him to learn. You say it once, and he gets it, and he has great effort when he plays.
Coach, maybe the most impressive stat among the good ones that Jacoby Brissett has put up, 13 touchdowns and just one interception.
Let's knock on some wood right there.
What does that say about his judgment and that sort of thing?
I think Jacoby is managing the game. We've really worked hard with him because he is so good, just trying to make every throw. If it's not good and it's not there, just throw it away and run. He's been able to do that, extend some drives and scrambles, and third and seven, if everybody's covered, run for eight. He's been able to do that.
And some quarterbacks will stand there and stand there and stand there, throw it away or get hit late and fumble, which happened to him a couple of times in the game. He's really smart. He learns from his mistakes. He has a great understanding of what Coach Canada wants him to do from a timing standpoint.
Just got to keep working it and keep working it because we saw a great pass rush last week. He threw the ball extremely well and probably held it too long one time. This week he's going to see maybe even a better pass rush with Beasley.
His poise seems to be one of the best things about him too.
He's super competitive. He loves the spotlight-- not the look at me part of it, but the competition part of it. He just loves competing and being on that stage and seeing if he's better than anybody. He loves that.