We're coming off a good win at home last week against Duke. We're really looking forward to this game Saturday against North Carolina State. They are a very, very good football team, very physical and they are very, very well-coached. They have got good schemes in offense, defense and special teams. So it will be a great challenge for us, and it's our homecoming weekend, so we're looking forward to having a great crowd.
Working on a story about NFL coaches who go back to that. What was your motivation?
That was a long time ago, so I'm just worried about playing North Carolina State this weekend.
Can you just say about things that you --
I really can't. I really can't. I mean, I don't really have an answers for anybody else's decisions to do things. So I really don't know.
Coming off the 24 points in the win against Duke, any improvements offensively you're seeking this week?
We need to be more consistent. We didn't have a lot of touches in that game and we had some good drives and came away with no points, so we've got to take care of the football.
When we get in the red zone, we have to make our field goals and have to be more consistent as far as not losing yards. We're a good offense when we're moving forward and not losing yards and that hurt us at times, too.
NC State's defense played well against Clemson in the last game. When you look at that game film, what stood out to you to explain -- what concerns do they pose for you?
They have a great defensive front. They have good linebackers, secondary. Seems like we've been playing against the same guys for three years, so we know a lot about them and have lot of respect for them.
After the game plan that Duke had against you guys, do you feel like other teams might try to follow that lead and try and play keep away from Lamar and the offense as much as they can?
Yeah, I don't know. I know that North Carolina State has strong beliefs in what they do and I would expect they will just come in and execute their game plan and work their offense the way they know how to.
Were you surprised about the way that Duke played you guys?
You know, nothing surprises you any more, so it was just one of those things where they were trying to shorten the game and if we would have been able to score there in the third quarter, when we had the ball down and didn't get a penalty where they called our offensive linemen in the backfield when he wasn't, you know, we would have been able to put more pressure on them with a bigger lead.
So it was really up to us to be able to go score points and get the lead and force their hand.
What have you seen from Lamar's attitude or anything or mood that he has risen to this Heisman superstar frontrunner status this year?
Lamar is great. He's the same person he's always been, comes to work, works extremely hard, has a big smile on his face. Yesterday in practice he's trying to lead and make sure everyone is doing their part and threw the ball really well, when he did take off and run, he ran as hard as he could and as fast as he could. He's a great young man with a tremendous attitude. He's been able to handle all this great and I'm just really proud of him.
Maybe it was the Duke game -- I don't think he got in the game but what's his status been like and maybe plans for him going forward?
Yeah, Amonte came out and warmed up. We wanted him to go through the process of warming up. He's still working back to get full and healthy and ready to go.
Talk about NC State, they are coming off a tough over time loss, what do you see on film getting ready for that game this Saturday?
Yeah, they are a good football team. They really run the ball well. We've got a very experienced offensive line. I think their quarterback is doing a great job for them executing their offense and getting completions.
Defensively they are a physical team. They have guys up front that are very active and rush the passer. The same group of linebackers and most of the secondary guys have been battling for the last couple years. We know each other real well and we have a tremendous amount of respect for them.
Seems like their rushing defense is pretty good, too. Is that something you have to try to fix?
Yeah, they have been very good and you know, a lot of that is they stop the run and they get sacks. When you sack people, it takes off of their rushing yardage in college football. That's something that's really helped them but they are a physical bunch.
If you could, talk about the development of your defense, the things that I guess compared to beginning of the season, that you've been encouraged about and I guess a guy like James Hearns in particular, developing into a pass rusher.
Yeah, James is a really active guy. He's got great get-off and speed and does a really nice job with his hands. He's been very, very productive for us and he gets to play a lot more now because he understands the entire defense and not only how to help us in rushing the passer but defending the run. You know, we've been a good defense. We've got to continue to do the things we do well, which is stop the run and rush the quarterback.
What's the process been like for developing that depth?
We go to practice and you work hard at practice and you work hard at getting better as an individual on your technique and fundamentals and our guys on defense are smart. They understand the schemes that we use and they also understand a lot of what the offensive schemes are. I think they do a good job of communicating and knowing what's coming before the ball is snapped.
Staples and Quick have the two best yards-for-reception average in the league. Can you talk about that as a philosophy? A lot of teams love the first short, and you guys obviously take the shots downfield.
We've been trying to be more aggressive and work it so we run the ball well and then we throw the ball deep well.
We keep working at it hard in practice, and Lamar has a very good arm. He's been accurate with his deep throws and those guys as well as Jaylen Smith have been able to run the ball down and make plays down the field. Hopefully we can continue doing it.
Is it more of a high-risk situation, or do you feel like completing one deep pass is worth two or three really short ones?
Yeah, I've never felt that as a high risk. You've got to be able to protect and you've got to be able to make sure that you attack the different coverages that you see, but so far, we've done a nice job with it.