I'm looking forward to playing Old Dominion this week. Had a much better Tuesday practice yesterday than we had a week ago. I was very disappointed in our execution in a lot of ways. I think practice makes permanent, and that's one thing that we've emphasized, and our guys have taken to heart this week.
I think Wednesday last week was pretty good, but Tuesday wasn't, and that's a very important day. We had a good practice this morning, as well, and I think our guys are looking forward to being back on the football field. Obviously disappointed in the outcome last week, but dwelling on it is not going to help us. We've worked really hard on getting our guys back, and looking forward to playing again this week.
To take a look back at the East Carolina game, just what you can say about their ability on the field and just what you took away from going up against Scottie Montgomery.
You know, he's got good skill, and I knew that going into the game. They always have, and their kids play hard. It was a hard-fought game on both sides, and I thought they made a couple more plays than we did. We made more mistakes than they did. In a close game, one-possession game, every play matters, and when it comes down to it, there's going to be about 25 plays that could have gone one way or another that changed the game.
As far as Matt Dayes back-to-back getting over 100 yards on the ground, what you can say about his output and what he's meant to this team and what he means to the team this year.
Yeah, Matt is an important member of our football team. They all are, but he's a captain and he's put in a lot of time. He's very well respected by his teammates. He prepares the right way. He practices hard. He did not have a bunch of yards early but he just kept pounding the rock and it opened up there for him as time went on.
I know it means a lot to him to have over 100 yards, but to seek the -- I guess you'd call it the grail of 1,000 yards because it hasn't been done at NC State in a long time. That's very important to our offensive line, our tight ends, and to Matt. I know he's going to work hard and so are they to try to continue to get that for him.
I wanted to ask about Stephen Louis. 36 yards a catch is pretty remarkable. Can you talk about him and what he brings to the table?
Yeah, probably one of my favorite practice players on our football team. He works really hard. He's got an edge to him. A lot of times when you lose the game of football to an injury, which he did, he played here as a true freshman and then he redshirted last year because he had to have his shoulder operated on, and he was an animal.
Every day we were practicing and getting ready for games, he was on the other field with our strength coach just grinding, and he did it all through the fall and had a very good spring. I said at the end of the spring he was our most improved player, and took it into the summer and fall camp, and he's playing at a high level, and he practices at a high level.
You have a little bit of versatility in your passing game. Can you talk about the guys that give you some -- it's not a one-man pass-catch thing.
Yeah. I think our offensive staff does a nice job of targeting guys that make plays, and I think that's the bottom line. You want to feed the guys you know are going to catch it and that can do something with it after the catch most of the time.
If you look at our skill set, Steph and Bra'Lon are guys that make plays when they catch it. J-Sam makes plays when he catches it, Matt Dayes. So you're going to find different ways to get those guys the football. We've got a young tight end named Thad Moss that is coming on in practice that I hope has a game where he kind of breaks out, as well, down the road.
But I think you earn those opportunities in practice, and it's something that Eli does a nice job when he's putting the passing game together of putting guys in the right places.
We're talking about the offense, but the offense actually performed at a pretty high level. Defense, what do you need to do to get the defense to where you want it to be?
Well, it all starts with leveraging tackling, and we missed too many tackles in that game. We had a couple critical penalties that were called, and one was a 3rd and 12 where we stopped them, and Bradley Chubb, one of our better players, lines up in the neutral zone, which we can't do. We can't beat ourselves. We had a pass interference call that I thought was a really good defense play, but it got called, and that was on a 3rd down, as well, and both of those plays ended up being points. Every play that changes the game from a points standpoint matters, and those were two of them.
I think we are playing hard. We've got to play smarter, and we've got to be very, very good tacklers in space. I think anyone that you watch in college football right now, if they're playing a spread opponent, you're going to find if they play well, they tackled well.