Thoughts On Jacoby Brissett playing tonight...
I wish I could go to the game. We talked about it the other night, if there was any way to do it with the kids having school. We got obligations here, obviously, her. Joe McKillip, my operations guy, is going to the game with Allison. We'll be watching it. I know my kids will see the whole thing. I'll get to see part of it, but he's going to do a great job. I know he's going to play really hard, and we're all really happy for him.
I'm sure people will be interested in the process pre-draft. Did you talk to representatives of the Patriots at all when they were showing some interest in him?
Yeah, we talked to the scouts quite a bit. Sometimes their position coaches will talk to ours and things like that. There was 3 teams that were all kind of in the same boat. We had them, we had the Cowboys, and the Saints that all have premiere quarterbacks that are in the later stages of their careers that were trying to find the next guy to groom.
Jacoby was well thought of by all three, and Bill Parcells has a unique relationship with Jacoby and obviously with him being with the Patriots, I think he helped him a lot there too.
Throughout your coaching career, whether you were an assistant coach or now as a head coach, is there a special sense of pride you get from watching some of your guys go on and play football as the highest level like that?
It's not just that. It's whatever their dreams are, whatever you find out that they're going to be able to accomplish what they set out to do. Sometimes it's a kid that doesn't want to play in the NFL and they got into medical school and that's the greatest thing that could ever happen to them. Whenever you're around a young man, you know that you helped him and you're watching him do what he dreamed about doing, it makes you feel good as a coach.
NC State, third year in a row, gets a solid win over Old Dominion and you did it really, it's as clean as I've seen the team play in a while, especially rebound from ECU, did you guys feel like you've corrected a lot of mistakes that you had that ECU game?
I do. I think there was a lot of plays that we didn't make that we should have made, and our focus is to make the plays that we can make and not put ourselves in situations that we controlled that aren't good for our football team.
We weren't perfect by any means. We still had a penalty that took a touchdown away on a punt return. We had a couple of drops here. We gave up a couple of big plays that were later in the game on defense that hurt us. It was a lot better. Shoot, through 3 1/2 quarters they had a really good tailback. He had 30 yards.
I thought offensively 14 players touched the ball. Ryan was really efficient. Jalan made a bunch of plays at quarterback when he came in. The offensive line protected the quarterback. We gave up one sack the whole game. Not that you ever want to give up any, but they're doing pretty good up there, again, for guys playing their first year together.
I will say this too, aside from that game, even a week like this that's an open week, it just seems like the mentality at practice, the focus around, this is an open week of practice. A lot of times guys will kind of put it in cruise control. I didn't see that a lot today. It just seems like you guys have kind of taken really a chip on their shoulders and trying to take this thing to another level.
A bye week for us isn't a week off. It's a week to improve. That's what I told the players on Sunday. I said, look, this is a week of reflection. We're all going to reflect on what we've done, coaches, players, strength coaches, trainers, everybody. What have we done well? What have we done that we wish we could do better? If we locate that bank, then we can do better and let's have a plan to fix it.
Everybody, I pushed my coaches to look at their schemes, and offense, defense, special team. Every coach has made things for his players to look at that he can improve his game and asked him how he was going to do it. That's all I've bee doing when I see guys. We call it your one more. What's your one more today? What are you really focused on?
I think the thing that stands out to me, and you said it when we were talking earlier. Our leadership of our football team is a little different. Not that it was poor before but it's definitely more, we're very vocal about guys following through on what they said they were going to do. They're holding guys accountable to that and that's different. We've always had guys that spoke up, but now it's holding guys accountable. That and empowerment that we've allowed them to have and them using it is going to help us in the long run big time.
Dave, this is 2 years in a row you've completely shut down Ray Lawry of Old Dominion, and he is a premier back. He is a terrific back. He put up great numbers all 3 years of his career. Does that really show an attention to detail when you're able to shut a guy like that down 2 years in a row?
I believe whatever you really put your mind to do, whatever you focus on, whatever detail with your players, you usually get it back on game day. We've made a point, obviously, to do a great job on the line of scrimmage, fitting the runs the right way, and tackling with multiple players at the point of attack. We're able to do that. They weren't really able to do a whole lot in the box.
Most of their plays came on corner routes and things were, we weren't able to help guys. I think if you have to throw the ball all the way to the sideline to make a play, you're doing a pretty decent job on defense. You want to always start inside out.
Darian Roseboro at defensive end had a big game, 3 sacks, 6 tackles. He's a guy that is a highly recruited player, he was your defensive rookie of the year last season, is a freshman. Is he on a path that you would have expected given his ability right now?
I'm proud of Darian for how much he's matured. Last year he'll tell you, he didn't prepare as well as he could. Not that he was lazy but he didn't understand the value of how to practice and what it meant on game day if you practice the right way.
Right now he's practicing his butt off, man. He's preparing, he's learning. Last year he couldn't handle all of the things that the end had to do. Now he's playing end to end tackle, and he's not making mistakes. He's making plays, and so he's grown up a lot. I'm proud of him. He's going to continue to make plays as long as he continues to trust the preparation.
Offensively it looks like... we talked about that with a completion percentage with the tight ends. What he's doing as far as finding receivers, it looks like he's starting to get this, I don't know if you call it a relationship that a quarterback has with Steph Louis, a receiver, and Kelvin Harmon, a freshman, how hard he's playing as a receiver. How important is that for your offense?
It's fun to watch.
Ryan knows the progression. What I mean by that, he knows the 1st guy, 2nd guy, 3rd guy, 4th guy, and the 5th guy and he goes through it, he trusts his protection, he understands what Coach Drink's looking at and why, and he operates quickly. I think he has a lot of poise. The guys are catching the ball for him and they're making plays. I think that's the one thing of being a receiver or a tight end or a back right now, you've better be ready because he'll find you now if your open. He throws a really catchable football. He puts it right on their face. It's not too hard, it's not too soft, and that's the one thing. You watch him in practice and the ball is right where it needs to be and it's on time.
I was bringing in some numbers today, coach. Through 3 games, NC State's averaging 6.8 yards per play, compared to 5.5 yards per play through 3 games last year, which isn't bad. Even though it's a small sampling, does that indicate to you that this is a team that may be more capable of creating explosive plays?
We've had a lot more explosive plays, and I think that was one of the things. When I was looking for the type of offense I wanted to run, we have some good players that can make plays and space and obviously we can use our run game to do that, but we wanted to have multiple ways in the passing game to get the ball in space and let our guys run around and make plays, and now we have some bigger guys, you know, with Steph and Kelvin that are going up and making plays in traffic as well. That's the technique you like too see. You're taking advantage of their opportunities.
You ever count on the explosive plays?
We had 8 last week. I think it's 26 in 3 games.
For the fans listening, how do you define an explosive play?
A run over 10 and a pass over 20. NC State's been doing it. It's chunk plays early in the season.
In goal line situations, Jalan McClendon has scored 2 touchdowns rushing, he had a passing touchdown as well to Thad Moss, and Coach, for him, how valuable was that opportunity not only to perform but also to just kind of keep him engaged in what's going on.
It's huge. I mean, first of all, I'm really happy for him and I'm proud of him. That package can grow, obviously, and it will be something that eventually we can carry in other situations.
Coach gave him 3 or 4 plays. He mastered them. He ran them well. They blocked him well. Thad made a nice catch.
I said that from the start. We have a lot of respect and love for Jalan and he needs to play so he can continue to develop. The hard part is right now our quarterback's 2nd in the nation in pass efficiency, so you're pulling a guy off the field to put another guy in the game, so it's hard. What he did in that game helped us win. I know Coach Drink's fired up about it.
Yeah, Ryan Finley is 76%, completion rate that is, as coach said number 2 in the country, and it's hard to do that with no defense out there, you know what I mean? Philip Rivers, his last year here for the entire season, I think you played against him you were in Kansas, he completed 72% for the entire season.
In the 2nd half we kind of gave up some of those bigger plays. What were you seeing on some of those big plays that you were given up there in the second half?
We got beat on the corner route, man to man, and it was just a matter of a player getting beat on a route. The long run, the same run they ran earlier on 3rd and 2 and we tackled for a loss. We had a bunch of our backup players in their and they didn't fit it right. We missed a tackle at free safety.
Those were two big plays that kind of leave you sour because they would have been around 250 yards with 30 yards rushing without the long run. You don't get to take them back, but when you go into a game and do the things that we did, we had a bunch of sacks, we stopped the run, and when the backups went in there, unfortunately, we gave up a couple of plays there that hurt us.
Coach, he would like to see the kickers keep the ball out of the end zone on kickoffs. I'm sure you would too.
I would too.
What's the answer there?
I wish I could tell you, and it would be fixed. We got one guy, Kyle, that's more of a hang time placement kicker, and he's been kicking because Jackson has struggled with the direction of his ball, and Jackson doesn't kick it high. If he's not kicking it deep, it puts us in a bad spot.
A low hang time kick that's returnable is not a good thing for your coverage unit. Hopefully this bye week we can get Jackson going again because he helped us a lot with is distance last year.
You have a great weapon with Nyheim Hines back there, obviously, and now coming up you're going to be playing teams that have great return men. Just how good does your kickoff coverage have to be in order to control these guys?
It's critical. I mean, defensively, it's a totally different game if they're playing inside the 20 as opposed to out on the 40. That's a different type of situation for a play caller. Last year we were very effective with our kickoff coverage and we gave up one long return in the Wake game actually last year and got out to the 50 and that was the longest return of the year.
Hopefully we can continue to do what we've done the last 2 games. I thought we played well on kickoff coverage last 2 weeks. If we can get Jackson kicking again, that would help us.
When it came to the offense, getting back over a 1,000 yards, you give lot of reps to Matt Dayes, do you spread out the wealth with Gallaspy and even a guy like Johnny Frasier?
Matt Dayes and Reggie will get a lot of carries, there's no doubt. Dakwa Nichols is playing good when he goes in the game. In the game that we just played, Matt obviously could have had 100 yards if we could have left him in in the 4th quarter, and it just felt like ACC play coming up, every hit, you don't want to risk it. All of us would like to make sure that he's at 1,000 by the end of the year, it's just you got to pick your points in time where it's not smart to do.
Matt should have around 20 carries a game if we're doing what we're supposed to do.
We see it around here a lot at NC State where its so important of quarterbacks to develop a trust in the wide receivers. Philip Rivers had it, Russell Wilson when he was here had Jarvis Williams and Owen Spencer. It's just a trust that developed there. Do you like the way this interplay between Ryan Finley and some of your young receivers, that trust factor is starting to build.
It's growing. I was with Ryan actually this morning and that was one of the things we talked about, was just to continue to build those relationships because he's a 3rd year player but he's only been here for a short period of time. He does a good job of that.
He's not a super outgoing guy, but he does make a point to go over and talk to the guys and be around them and him and Steph and Jaylen and Kelvin, guys that are getting the ball, you can tell that they're getting closer and closer to being on the same page all the time.
What happen on the almost kneel down penalty that the ball came out of the end zone.
The ruling on the field was that he took a knee in the end zone before the ball crosses the goal line, which means it's a touchback, and he did not blow a whistle, which all of us think there should have been a whistle blown. If you take a knee, you're a protected player, and our player obviously didn't see it that way because the whistle didn't blow.
It's a teachable moment for a young player.Nick McCloud is a true freshman who's been coached hard to play to the whistle, and unfortunately I'm not sure why you don't blow the whistle there, but that's what went down. I thought the ball came out. They said it came out after is knee touched the ground. That's how it was ruled.
We were talking about Steph Louis and we mentioned him so much. He's a great success story here for the first 3 games. Among other things, he's averaging 25 yards per catch for NC State. I'll put that into perspective. The all time record holder in a career for a yards per catch is Herman Moore. You remember he played at UVA, went onto the Lions, averaged 21 yards per catch. Now it's only 3 games, it's a small sampling for Steph Louis, but I bring him up, coach, because he's a guy that had surgery on both shoulders and now he's coming back and he's playing this level of football. What did you learn about him during that ordeal?
He is a warrior.
The way that he trained, because he would be out there every day. He would lift weights, then he would watch practice, and then he'd warm up at the end and he would go through a receiver workout with the strength coaches. It was just fun to watch. You knew he was on a mission, and you knew he was going to be successful at the end of it.
I had him in my office 2 days ago. I told him how proud I am of him and just to trust that what he has done has put him where he is and he needs to continue doing what he's doing and how fun it is as a coach just to watch the guy go on a mission like he has and to take advantage of it.
There's a player in the room with him right now named Kelvin Harmon that plays hard too and he'll follow Steph, and that's going to bring everybody in that room along. We're really excited about it and it couldn't happen to a better person.
Steph Louis is one of the greatest kids. If you eve get a chance to meet him, you'll know where I'm coming from. We're really happy for him.
Nyheim Hines... what is his progress, will we see him on the field again?
Yeah, Nyheim hurt his ankle as everybody knows a couple of weeks ago. Today he went to there and ran. We didn't practice him yet. Obviously we don't have a game Saturday so we're trying to get him back. The trainers said he will be available to go through practice on Sunday full speed. A couple of more days of recovery and without any setbacks, he should be fine going ahead.
Josh Jones leads NC State tackles with 24 early in the season and a lot of times you don't want your safety leading in tackles but we do see Josh Jones a lot up around the line of scrimmage. Does he bring a level of physicality that you like at that position?
Our free safety position when we get certain formations is on the box. He's like a linebacker at times. Depending on down and distance... formations, you'll see him at linebacker depth. The fact that he's making tackles in the box it's okay. It's the ones where he's go to make them down the field that concern you.
He's playing better. I thought he had his best game of the year. He's getting more and more patient and he's letting things develop. He's got good speed and instinct, so he's just got to play the game and let it come to him.