I'd like to start out thanking our fans and students for being apart of the environment on Saturday Night. It was very special to have the military and to have them the way we did with so many present was incredible. For me to be apart of that, my father was in the Navy and my father-in-law was in the Army. To see Brady's dad and the pride that he had being apart of that with his son, knowing that he's going to be deployed again. It was a really special night and just want to thank everybody that was apart of it and helped plan it.
One of the members of the military and I can get his name, handed me a coin right before the game and wished me luck. It said honor, courage, and commitment. It was really awesome to be apart of that night. It really was. I want to thank them for that.
Going to our team, I was proud of the way our guys prepared and how hard they played. Disappointed that we didn't get the pleasure of the victory, obviously. Didn't put the game away. We had four red-zone opportunities offensively and only scored one touchdown and that's a big part of why the score was the way it was. We had an opportunity obviously with an interception that we couldn't catch. Those are the plays that you see. There's a lot of plays within the game.
The pain comes in the closeness of where we're at. The progress is there, but the ultimate goal is to win, so that's what we've got to keep battling. I've never met a champion that was a quitter and there isn't one in this building. I can tell you that. Our guys are going to keep fighting. Our coaches and players are tough and resilient and we will continue to battle as we move forward and work with these guys to get the most we can out of them. I don't think a lot of people outside of this building know how hard these kids work or the coaches work and what goes into it with our football family. It is our everything. We're going to do everything can to get it where we make that final play.
That's what this week is about. It's a new week. It's a new opportunity. In the game I was impressed with our ability to stop Dalvin Cook. I thought defensively we did a great job. There was one run where he broke three or four tackles, but other than that he was sewed up for most of the day. I thought Matt Dayes played really hard. I thought the line battled for him. Jay Sam and Nyheim both played hard and played well for us in that game.
Ryan had some really good plays. There was two or three opportunities I know he wishes he had back. Bottom line is, there was a lot of things last week that were better than the week before and we need to build on that. That's what we do now.
This next week we need to have the same effort that we had in the Florida State game, in the Clemson game. We get to do it against a unique opponent.
Syracuse runs an innovative offense. Coach Babers is a really good offense football coach. He's got a talented stable of receivers to throw the ball to. Number seven, Etta-Tawo is over a thousand yards receiving, averaging fifteen per catch, with seven touchdowns. Philips, Ishmael, Estime, all guys we're familiar with. Combined have nine touchdowns between them and those four wide-outs are their offense. They're really really talented.
They're quarterback did get injured in the game. I haven't heard if he's going to play or not, but he was playing at a high level and was their second leading rusher, very efficient, scrambled around, made plays, understood the offense well. We'll see how that develops, whether they're going to play which backup or both backups if he's out. As much as they throw the football, their quarterback doesn't get hit a lot. They're only giving up a sack every sixteen passes. Doing a pretty good job protecting him.
Defensively they blitz a lot. There's a lot of movement. They do play different coverages within it, cover two, cover three, cover one, but there's a ton of movement and pressure. A little undersized, but quick up front. Their linebackers I think are good players. I think Franklin and Bennett are both their top two tacklers and had over twelve and a half TFL's between them. Between them they've forced five fumbles, so they're both disruptive linebackers. They play downhill and they're in the blitzes a lot.
We've got to do a great job on the road of taking care of the football and winning the turnover battle and not giving up big plays. I think it's an opportunity for us offensively, we've got to really do a good job of building on last week's run game, so that we can be balanced again. I think that's when we play our best on offense and showing that we can improve in the red-zone when we get down there. Questions?
I thought the linebackers did really well Saturday pertaining to Cook, this is completely different though with Syracuse. How big is their performance going to be on Saturday?
There's a lot of underneath stuff. They'll get in empty, five wide receiver, and their top routes are to run option routes or we call shake routes on the linebackers. Those guys really have to be fundamentally sound and know where their help is, whether they've got a nickel helping them outside or safety on top or a hole player inside. There's a lot of ways that we can defend empty and we're going to have to show them different pictures, because they're too good at picking you apart underneath.
The linebackers, the nickels, the corners, the safety's, and even the D-lineman at times when we're dropping people, have to understand formations and be able to match up routes. They're going to complete passes. They're averaging almost a hundred plays a game and are throwing it sixty to seventy times. We've just got to tackle well and force turnovers and keep it in front of us.
Along those lines, they've been preaching getting rid of the ball within X amount of seconds.
They do too.
Is there things that you could do defensively that I guess, maybe combat some of that? Or maybe do more practice, because you know they're going to try those short quick practices?
Yeah I think you have to be diverse enough, where he can't just say, "All right here's what they're in, here's where I'm going". You've got to make him make some decisions after the snap. We do have to mix press and off-coverage both. We have to change the shell of the secondary. We can't just be a two high or a one high the whole game.
All of those things tie into the rush as well. If we're giving the rush time like you're talking about, but the rush has got a win. There's a lot of one-on-one's. There's a lot of them, so we've got to make sure that we're winning our fair share of them. It may not be the sacks as it is the hits and the pressures, then you get some bad throws and some picks. That's what we need to do. We need to get the ball back for our offense.
Coach, how much has Syracuse's offense changed over the years since you've been here at NC State?
It's totally different. The first year they were a run team, out of normal formations. The second a year they were an up-tempo team and then the third year they were an option team. Now they're wide open. It's Baylor's offense, so it's completely different. He's still recruiting to fit his system. He had the receivers. Those four wide-outs could play for anybody. They're really good.
Dayes is a hundred and sixty nine yards away from a thousand, what would that mean for the program to snap that streak and would that help a little bit in recruiting too?
I think it'd mean more to win. Individual statistics are good. I know it's a goal of Matt's. It's a goal of the O-line's and we'll take pride in it, but I promise you Matt would rather win, so whatever it takes to do that. From a recruiting standpoint, I think the backs that we recruit understand what our offense is. We talk to them.
We show them the film they know that we believe in that and we do it under center and behind the quarterback. We're not always off-set, which a lot of guys want to learn how to be able to do that, so they can have a chance to play at the next level, but for everybody's sake I would love for Matt to have fifteen hundred yards and for us to win the next three games, but I would rather win the next three games.
Unfortunately it's along the same lines. He's about to enter the top five all time in rushing yards. Often they'll ask an offensive lineman, "What does that mean?" Well what does that mean to a head coach that he's going to be one of the great running backs ever at State?
You bet. Well look I love Matt Dayes to death and so if we can bet him as high as we can and win, that's what we want to do, but I think at the end of the day it goes back to winning.
For Matt he's had a tremendous impact on our football team. He's done it with injuries even. He's done it sharing times in the backfield. This is his year to be the guy and I think he's really taking advantage of it. I played tight end basically in an offense where I was an O-lineman, so I understand how much you want your backs to be successful.
So that's for Matt, something those guys are going to take a lot of pride in.