PACK PRIDE Q&A: Dave Huxtable

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable talks with Pack Pride with the Wolfpack set to face Clemson this Saturday.

NC State defensive coordinator Dave Huxtable talks with Pack Pride with the Wolfpack set to face Clemson this Saturday.


After watching the Florida State film, what things did you see?
We've got a lot of things we've got to work on to get better.  We got them third and 20 on the first series... we had a bust in coverage. We should be off the field no points.

Just the discipline in our eyes, we need more discipline with reading our keys. We didn’t tackle very well in that game.

So we have come out on the practice field... we have got to put a premium on practice and every rep that we take is an opportunity to get better as a football player and a defense.

What are some positives from the FSU game that you want to see continue?
They did play hard. We created three takeaways, so that is a positive. We have got to continue to do those things to get the ball back to our offense.

Talk about what you saw from Jerod Fernandez?
Jerod is a redshirt freshman, he has played in five games,and he has been a consistent player for us. Some people don’t get the luxury of being to sit and be able to watch the film.

[He] plays hard every snap. He is a guy that has gone out and played five games, and we are asking him to do a lot. I think he has done an outstanding job. I am very proud of what he has done.

Is there a struggle with balancing the fact that NC State played well against Florida State but also being disappointed that the Wolfpack lost?
There is no doubt about it. I hate to lose more than I love to win. I am a bad, bad loser.

Our offense did a great job of putting points on the board, and we didn’t get it done on our side of the ball. That is disappointing.

That was then, this is now. We have got to ready for Clemson.

What do you see when you look at Clemson’s offense?
They have got a lot of good athletes. They are very good. The quarterback is young, but he has gotten better in every game. He is a very skilled player, running the football and throwing the football.

They are very multiple in their offensive formations. There is a lot of movement and a lot of misdirection. They have a very good offensive package and their skilled players are very good.

There is not one guy that you can say ‘Hey, we’ve got to take him out of the game.’ We have got to be able to cover them all. We have got to get pressure on the quarterback.

Is it helpful to prepare for Clemson’s diverse offense by practicing against what the Wolfpack does?
It is. Our offense is also multiple in the things they do. They do a lot of Jet motions and Orbit motions, so all the reps we have had in the spring and fall does help.

What things stand out in the South Florida and Presbyterian games that you did not see in the other three?
Against South Florida the guys went down there and played really hard and played well. We gave up one big, explosive play. We are just giving up too many explosive plays.

We have to make people try to grind it out and take the ball down the field. Against South Florida and Presbyterian are guys playing hard and gave a great effort... I am not saying they didn’t against Florida State, but we didn’t play smart. We have got to make them go the long haul and then somewhere a playmaker on our side of the ball has got to make a play.

How much defensive growth have you seen from the Wolfpack from last season’s game in Tallahassee to this season?
I think we have grown. I think we are better than a year ago. A year ago down there we didn’t compete. We were in it for four quarters [this year]. I think we are a better football team all around.

Are we where we want to be yet? No. We have to grind, keep going forward and keep building momentum.

NC State had a top-20 recruiting class last season and several top prospects were at the Florida State game. Do you think high school players, particularly those in-state players, like what they are seeing from the Wolfpack?
I don’t know how they could not. It was an exciting atmosphere on Saturday. We are competing in every game. We were in that game all the way.

The fan support was just phenomenal. It was an incredible atmosphere. So, if I am a recruit I would have got to be pretty excited about what I saw.

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