Excited to be back in a game week. Definitely had a good bye. Got a lot of guys some rest that needed it. Were able to focus on some fundamentals, really get down to some needed self-scout on all three phases of our team, and also focus on some recruiting things that we needed to do. So it was a good week I think mentally and physically for the staff and the players.
Excited about the opportunity to go to Syracuse, play a football team that plays really hard, forces a lot of turnovers, protects the football, doesn't beat themselves. It's going to be a physical football game. Excited about the opportunity.
What does Rodman Noel bring to your defense?
Rod is a senior player. He's a great preparation guy. Works really hard. Understands the package. Communicates well with guys. He's a good athlete in space. Does a nice job playing out of the box in the different coverage packages.
He was banged up here a little bit the last couple games. Early in the year he was playing really fast for us. This last week gave him a chance to get his legs back. So excited about that for Rod.
Coach Shafer talked about the relationship he has from past coaching experiences with you. Can you talk about your relationship.
I've known Scott since he was the D coordinator at Michigan, I was at Wisconsin at the time. Then when I went to Northern Illinois, Scott obviously has a great history there, was a part of building that program. Some of the coaches I hired onto that staff had either worked with Scott or he had coached. So we just got to know each other through that.
Coming to NC State at the same time that he was promoted, we just had a common relationship. Both guys have a lot of the same friends from the Midwest. A guy that I respect a lot, not just as a person, but professionally, the way he does his business. Both of us being defensive coaches before we were head coaches, just have had a lot of conversations about defensive football before we got to these schools.
Now that you've had the bye week, how much pressure do you feel like your team has now to try and be able to get two wins here out of the last four and get back to a bowl?
No matter what our record is, I'm always going to want to win. Whether we're fighting for bowl-eligibility or not, that's just the world that all competitors I think live in. We're excited to try to go earn a win this week and get one step closer.
Tell me how the bye week was for you in terms of getting a little bit healthier.
It was really good. We've gotten just about everybody back that was a possibility to play this week. Several guys have commented on how they're feeling mentally and physically, just rested. Had a chance for some of them to catch up on school, which was good.
I just think getting the coaches and the players a chance to not just watch the first eight weeks and look at what we did well, things that we want to continue to do that we've done well, things we haven't done.
Here's why it didn't work, either fix that or take it out, kind of hone in on the things we're being successful at. I think it was very positive for staff and players alike.
As a coach, what is the noticeable difference playing indoors compared to outdoors? How will your team need to adjust to playing in the Dome?
Well, I played at the Metrodome one time when I was at Wisconsin. There's an echo in there from a noise standpoint. Depends on how they ventilate, but sometimes the air is pretty stagnant, can get very warm. I've heard different things about the temperature. I know it's going to be colder outside there. I'm not sure how that will work. I've told our players we need to be ready for a warm-climate game even though we're inside. Obviously there's no wind, no breeze. You don't get the ventilation. Other than that, it's a normal football field with a ball on it and you just got to go play.
How much does it help to have Matt Canada on staff, having coached with Coach Shafer?
Yeah, well, Mike Uremovich GA'd for him, Frisman Jackson played for him. There's a lot of guys on my staff, Clayton White worked for him. There's a lot of guys on our staff that know Coach Shafer. There's a familiarity not just from our side, but from his side. We're not working together anymore, so a lot of things have changed, but some things are the same.
At the end of the day your players have to go execute. Sometimes it does help. At the same time you can start thinking about all the things they did eight years ago, it may not always carry over. You know what I mean?
The general basics of how they do what they do I think is probably good for both him and us. Beyond that you got to watch the film from the season and look at how they're using current players and go off of that information.
It's a small sample size, but what do you make of AJ Long through his short career?
He's competing very well. He's athletic. He gets the ball out quick. For a guy that went from third string to starter, had to play against some difficult teams, I think he's done a nice job for them.
It's just like any young quarterback, there's things that I'm sure he's learning from and getting better from each week. You can see he's a gifted player.