Working hard here in the short week to get ready to go to Lane Stadium and play against Virginia Tech. Excited for the opportunity, you know, for the coverage and the stage that we get to play on. I know our team is really excited to be in that environment, and not sure who we'll see at quarterback, but preparing for both guys, and physical, defensive football team. Three all-conference D linemen that are really twitchy and run around and hit, and then a linebacker I think is really playing well for them. So great challenge, and like I said in my press conference earlier, honored to coach in a game against Coach Beamer. I just think so much of him professionally. So great o pportunity for our staff. Questions.
Coach, you mentioned the quarterback situation. How much does that impact your preparation?
Well, you have to be ready for more pass game. I think there's just more they can do from a dropback and route concept standpoint with Brewer, you know. He's more experienced and he's played more at the position and has a whole season under his belt, you know. So I don't know if it's real that going to play or talk, but we're going to prepare like he is and the defensive kids just have to get ready for more. You have an athletic quarterback that still throws it and Brewer himself is a really good athlete. It's just how much he'd want to run coming off a shoulder injury.
And they've had some trouble giving up some big plays defensively. They're playing some young kids in the secondary. What do you see there in terms of vulnerability?
Well, you know, the style of defense they play, they put a lot of people in the box, and you know, you're obviously playing gap defense and you've got your safety behind it to make tackles. And they've play in and play out, you know, if you watch them, they do a lot of things well, and then there's just a handful of plays a game that have popped and created big plays, big chunk yardage and statistically that kind of throws you out of lock. 90 percent of the snaps they're pretty salty now. So we've gotta do a really good job of not putting ourselves behind the sticks and staying on schedule and being patient and being opportunistic, which is something I don't think we did a good job of a week ago. We gotta really take advantage of loose balls that we create on defense and interception opportunities when the ball is in the air offensively, you know, snagging passing and running through maybe one guy because if you break one tackle against a team like this, you can get huge yards, and we gotta be able to run through the first tackler.
And their offensive line, do you see issues in terms of blocking in scheme or was it guys just getting beat one on one execution?
I think Pitt, you know, has a good front first of all, and they brought six guys a lot and forced Virginia Tech to play one-on-one football, and they played a lot of zone blitz and zero coverages behind it. And you know, it's forced them to throw the ball. And the weather that they were playing in, and the quarterback struggled with it, you know. I don't know if it's anything schematically that they're doing that no one else does. It's just when you get five or six guys in a rush, you're going to be one on one, and as a quarterback, you gotta be able to handle that. So Pitt did a nice job.
I'm curious, with you guys playing on Friday, that's kind of a trend in ACC for football and national football. I'm curious as to how you feel about more football games on Friday and if that's a concern at all kind of infringing on high school football in North Carolina and Virginia where it's a big deal?
Yeah. I think every high school coach would tell you that they would prefer us not to play on a Friday, and we would love to be able to make everybody happy. But you're talking to a guy that was in the MAC playing on Wednesday and Tuesday for two years. So to me it's an opportunity for our university and Virginia tech to be on the national stage and be the only two teams on that network that night, and that's a great thing for both of our schools. I think you can't do it too often, but it is a great opportunity for us, and we're excited about it.
Good afternoon, Coach. Now, obviously there were some issues on first down for your offense against U of L. Basically in a nutshell, as a team, what would be done for the Pack to come out of Blacksburg with a victory?
It's about security and execution. I think they tackled us 13 times in our backfield. We tackled them 14. It was a one-possession game. They created two turnovers against our offense that were both in scoring position drives, and we didn't create any. And that's the game. I mean you have to be on schedule; you have to take care of the football. After every offensive possession ends with a kick, whether it's a field goal or an extra point or a punt, that's a good thing. We can't turn the ball over. That's the bottom line.
Thank you, Coach. And much success on Friday night.
I wanted to ask about your running game. I mean it had been so potent up until last week, and last week it just never got going. Is it a breakdown on your part or is it something Louisville was doing, just a better level of competition or --
Yeah, I think -- I think anytime you play against two defensive tackles like Louisville has, it's gotta be tough to get yards inside. You know, those two guys redshirt junior, redshirt senior, 300-some-pound guys that are really good. And we're not the only ones that have struggled running the ball up the middle on Louisville. And that's why we tried to get on the edges, and at times we were successful; at times we weren't. Biggest reason our rushing stats weren't good is because we had 14 tackles in our backfield for minus 60 yards. That comes off your rushing stats. You know. So when you're only out there for 23 plays in the first half because you're not putting yourself in manageable third downs, you're not going to have great statistics throwing or running, because you're not out there enough. And that's one thing we've done a great job of, until that game, is putting ourselves in great third down, down and distances, staying on the field, which has led to time in possession, and you know, they did a great job on their D line. We have to play better up front, and obviously you gotta be able to throw the ball a little. The rain impacted that a little bit. But we have to be balanced on first down and allow our guys to make plays in the pass game as well.
You kind of alluded to this, Louisville's defense. Your guys (NC State) are third in the nation in total defense. The ACC has three of the top four and six of the Top 20 defenses. Is it a cyclic thing that the ACC is so good on defense this year?
Yeah. I don't know. Hard for me to answer that. There's a lot of returning players on defense, and you can't replace experience. I mean to me that's a bigger deal if there's players back. I mean if you look at all the good football players that are on defense that we're playing against week in and week out like Virginia Tech has redshirt senior, D linemen that are all ACC players. That's going to make them good up front, you know. I mean that's just how it is. If you got returning players, you're going to have a better chance to be good on that side of the football.
Dave, the atmosphere up at Blacksburg is always pretty good, and you mentioned your experience playing in weeknight games where it's the only game in town. How much does that intensity of the whole kind of get amped up in games like that?
It definitely can. We're excited. Obviously we're -- we only get to play at Virginia Tech every 12 years. I mean that to me is crazy the way the ACC schedules our games like.