Looking forward to playing our first game of the season. It's been a great fall camp for our players. At this point you're 15 spring practices and 29 fall practices added up, and you're around 43 to 44 practices without a game. The guys are ready to get on the field and the coaches are ready to see them play.
Thankful to be at home and in a sold-out atmosphere, and appreciative to our fans for that. Looking forward to getting back in Carter-Finley.
Had a great recruiting class a year ago. Some of those kids will play, and just having a chance to see them in their first college games, and some of the guys that redshirted that have been in the program a couple years have developed into guys that get their first college reps.
It's exciting, and you can see it in their faces. As a coach to get out there and hope that the jitters don't hurt us too much and have an athletic team coming to town in Troy that has nine starters back.
Neal Brown, the head coach, also calling the plays, a really good offensive coordinator, and puts up a lot of points, runs an up tempo system, so it'll be a great challenge for our defense in the opener.
Defensively they lost quite a bit off their roster but have a very experienced play caller in Coach Koenning. I'm not sure exactly schematically what we'll see, but try to prepare the guys for a lot of different looks. Looking forward to the opportunity.
To look at the quarterback position
going into the season, just what you can say
about Jacoby (Brissett). I know he's grown a
lot over his time there, but if there's anything
else that he's been able to add to his game or
anything that sticks out to you from the fall?
Yeah, I mean, he's in a great place right now mentally. I think last year was his first year as a starter, so this time last year he was pretty nervous, and he just looks like a guy that's played a lot of football, knows the system, very dependable and consistent and worked a lot in the off-season on his play action game and has done a really nice job in fall camp with those throws.
Looking forward to his senior year. I think any time you have a returning starter at the senior quarterback, it's exciting for your offense.
I talked about the recruiting class
finally getting some reps and getting out there.
Who were some of those guys that you've
really keyed in on that are going to get an
opportunity this season to be something really
special for NC State?
Well, in the most immediate class, Nyheim Hines will play, be a starter for us in our efforts at the slot. He's had a great fall camp. Will Richardson was a redshirt a year ago, a redshirt freshman, now will start at right tackle, and so those two guys will play offensively.
Defensively, Darian Roseboro is going to play quite a bit on our defensive line, and excited to see him out there, and it's great to have Monty Nelson back, who redshirted last year, had some injuries. Excited for his return.
And then we have three brand new kicker, snapper and punter, Kyle Bambard is our kicker, and excited to see him; AJ Cole and Tyler Griffiths are our snapper and punter. Those will probably be the freshest faces, and then at running back, Reggie Gallaspy, we're planning on playing him, as well.
With Dayes filling in for (Shadrach Thornton, can you go more into the Pack's depth at that position at running back?
Yeah, Matt will play the majority of the snaps, and Dakwa Nichols, Reggie Gallaspy, and then Jaylen Samuels, those will be the four primary ball carriers in the game, and then we have the luxury of really all four of those guys getting significant snaps in the last week. We feel like they're all ready. They're all a little different from each other and they're all versatile guys that can play in space or play downhill.
Excited for Matt, though. I think he's had a really good camp, and for him to be able to get the majority of the carries, it'll be a good day for him.
With Vic Koenning as the defensive
coordinator, is there any familiarity from when
you faced him when he was at North Carolina,
and how do you prepare for Coach Neal Brown
that kind of likes to sling it around air-raid
Yeah, well, as far as Vic, we know what he did at UNC. We also know he's got different personnel, and there's some things he probably wishes he would have done at UNC maybe that I don't know if he wasn't allowed to do or couldn't do because of personnel.
But when he was at Clemson and Kansas State, we know there's other things that he's got in his packages. We've played a lot against our own defense, and in this league, played some of the coverage concepts that we don't run that they ran at UNC. So that's kind of how we prepared. But we expect to see some of the same and some different from him, and that's kind of what you get in every opening game.
As far as playing Neal, he does a great job on offense. We expect a lot of quick passes, a lot of run-pass type plays where there are screens with the run game based on numbers and the quick game that he has, the crossing routes and the hitches and the outs and things where the O-line doesn't have to protect him very long. I don't think anybody when you play them up a level wants to play drop-back pass football. It's just not what he's going to want to do.
We expect to see a lot of quick game, a lot of tempo, and to simulate it, we've got two sets of receivers that sprint through the line when the play is over so we've got a fresh batch every snap for the defense to have to go against. We've been able to play pretty well against the tempo teams we've faced, so that part of it is not like we haven't seen an up-tempo team before.
We all know about Jacoby and what
he did last year and the fact that he's the guy,
but do you have any plans to work in
somebody else just to give yourself an option
there at quarterback?
No. Jalan (McClendon) is ready to play if something happens where Jacoby needs a break, then Jalan will play. If we get up enough and we feel like Jalan can finish the game, then Jalan will play. But we don't have a rotation set to get him in there. We practice hard and he gets a lot of good reps against our starting defense in practice.
So that's the preparation that he's been getting. I just don't think that's -- that's not my style on game day to rotate quarterbacks. I'd rather let the guy that's earned the job carry the team and get the other guy in there when you have a situation that allows it.
Do you do anything -- Jacoby
scrambles so much, sometimes takes some
tough hits. Do you do anything to try to avoid
contact with him?
Well, we talk to him about it, and he's actually learned how to slide better and spent some time with Coach (Elliott) Avent in training camp learning how to slide. He actually did that, spent about 20 minutes on a crash pad sliding with our baseball coach.
But he understands you only get so many hits as a player. He's got to be smart. He's got to learn how to not take hits, and he's also a big guy. I think he's a lot more sturdy than people probably understand. But we're not going to put any needed hits on him, and when he gets out of the pocket and does his own thing, he just has to be smart and understand what's going on around him, and I think he's learned the hard way a couple times on that.
Any certain area you're most
looking to learn about your team in this
There's a lot of areas. There's a lot of guys that haven't played and just want to see how they react to game day. Game 1 is a real test for a lot of players, and there's a lot of improvement that takes place after game 1. You just hope that there's not a significant drop-off from what you've seen in the practice and scrimmages that allowed them to get playing time.