Yeah, we're looking forward to going down to North Carolina State and playing a really good Wolfpack team. They've got a great defense. They're 26th in total defense in the country, 12th against the run. They've got some outstanding players up front, well-coached, tough, fundamental players.
On offense they're a real balanced team, run, pass. I think the quarterback has done a great job with a 62.8 percent completion ratio. I think their running back Dayes is fantastic. They've got good skill players. I think Dave has got a really good team, done a great job with his football team. They're well-coached. They're fundamental. They play hard, and it'll be a tough task for us.
We're looking forward to getting down there and getting going.
What is your quarterback situation looking like going into this game?
Well, we'll have to wait and see. Obviously Pat pulled his hamstring in that last game and we had to take him out. He is starting to get back involved, and I think we'll just have to wait and see where he's at. Honestly at game time because he'll need every one of these days to get to full capacity.
But we have obviously Darius Wade and Anthony Brown. Both guys have worked hard this year. Darius was our starter a year ago before he got hurt for the season, and Anthony is an exceptional freshman, just a really exceptional talent that we have, and they're both getting ready.
If you do have to start Darius, will the game plan be the same as it would for Patrick, or would you try and take advantage of some other things that he can do?
You know, they really are quite similar in a lot of ways. Darius -- Pat can really throw and run and he's big, Darius can run and throw. Darius is a little quicker change of direction, so you can do a couple more things with that. But they're both guys that are throwers that can run. They run differently. Pat is more of a power runner, a bigger guy. Darius is more of a change direction quick guy, and Anthony is a powerful guy, as well, Anthony Brown. He's just got a rocket arm and a quick release. They're all somewhat similar but different.
Where is the mindset of the team right now? Obviously you've had some tough losses here and some close losses, too, so where are the guys at right now?
I think the guys are great. We just got off the field this morning. We had a great practice. We've got a young team that loves football, loves competing, and really kind of just takes it and goes. Like I said, the players watch the tape, they see the opportunities that were missed, and their object is how do we take advantage of those opportunities. We're growing and developing each week, and they can see that. They have a passion for the game. Do they get disappointed, sure, there are disappointments, but they also understand big picture what we're capable of doing, and we're in a footrace to get to our potential and develop our young guys and develop our football team.
We've played a tough schedule, you know, the way our schedule is configured this year, and it's been hard, herky-jerky in terms of getting -- establishing some form of momentum here, but that's not going to change, and they know that. So we've just got to dig in each week and try to get better and try to develop and find a win, and I think you're going to see a very physical, hard-fighting football team, which is what you have seen. Last week was a very physical, hard-fought game until the bitter end.
Our hope is that we can get all our players back healthy, Strachan and Jon Hilliman and Pat Towles and get everything back healthy because we need everyone.
You've played a couple fast offenses this year. You've got a couple more on your slate, Louisville notably. These offenses are getting plays off every 20, 25 seconds, but the games last a little longer, push 3:30, four hours. What are your thoughts on these longer games extending a little bit into the threes, almost four hours, and will you prepare differently for a game that might last longer and maybe drag on?
I mean, I have no thoughts on that. If the game takes two hours, five hours or ten hours. The game is the game. You fight from the start to the finish. It is what it is. It never matters. In terms of preparing for those teams. You have some slightly different preparation, obviously, whether your offense can replicate it whether you have to use multiple huddles. I think Pat Narduzzi was talking about that. I think it's getting your players used to the fast tempo, and also the realization that tempo is tempo if they get a 1st down. If they don't get a 1st down, there's no tempo.
These are things you're working on. All offenses present unique and different challenges. They're all different, whether you're running a power offense, a spread offense, a tempo offense. There's great things within each offense, and uniquenesses that you have to work against when you're on defense against those offenses. As I said, they can all be challenging, especially based on what your deficiencies or your strengths might be.
The tempo is just another rage that's hitting right now that has value, and it's like anything else, you find out what sustains the test of time.
At Air Force they've experimented with eating meals closer to kickoff because the games are longer. Have you experimented with anything along those lines?
Sounds great to me. All that stuff I think is fantastic, but I'm more interested right now in -- to me it comes down to if you're on defense, stopping the run, stopping the pass, getting off the field. I mean, whatever you've got to do to hydrate, whatever you've got to do to eat, I'll let that to the experts. But that might be just a little too scientific for me.
Can you talk about Landry and what he means to your team?
Yeah, Harold has really done a great job. He's developing as a pass rusher. He's got some great quick twitch and great change of direction, and he's made an impact this season, obviously. He's working hard on playing the run, playing the pass. He's developing as a player. I think Paul Pasqualoni has done a great job in his development, and I think he sees that as a player, and players love it when they can continue to grow and reach their potential. So Harold is having a good year, and we're excited for him.
What does it mean for your defense?
Well, I mean, it gives you that twitch guy off the edge that can really create havoc, especially in 3rd down where these tackles -- the last thing when you're a tackler you want to see are those explosive, twitchy guys that can beat you inside, beat you around the horn, and I think pass rush is so critical on 3rd down to get a team off the field, whether you're coming with four, five, three, whatever your number is. If a guy can beat a guy one-on-one it creates a problem for the offense and they've got to adjust, whether they slide to him, whether they chip him, whatever they do, they've got to take their attention and they've got to direct it that way if they feel like he can impact the game.
Do you feel like the league has several of these players?
Yeah, I mean, I think the ACC right now without a doubt is one of the -- I think it's the premier conference in America right now. Why? Because I think there are great defenses in our conference, and there are outstanding quarterbacks in our conference, and I think that the level of play is the highest it's ever been in our conference. That's without a doubt.
And what you're seeing is some elite players playing at a high, high level, which is -- I remember when I was in the SEC for all those years, that's the way it was, and that's the way it is now in the ACC. The ACC has really come a long way. I mean, from back in the day to where it is now, I mean, this is the premier conference.
QUOTABLES: Steve Addazio