I was proud of our team taking a trip up to Syracuse and finding a way to win. I thought it was a good team performance offensively. Did really good on third down, 10 of 18, and had over 500 yards offense. I thought Ryan Finley really played a good football game and threw for over 300 yards for a third straight week that day. Had another nice day.
Defensively, held them to under 200 yards and less than a yard per carry rushing. Disappointed we gave up a couple of big plays, but other than that, I thought we really played well. When it counted, they blocked the punt and kind of came back on a run. Defense did a great job, held them to a field goal in the red zone on a really tough change.
So it was a really good team that went on the road and something we needed. Now play two games here in nine days. So Miami this weekend, really good football team, very athletic. Played a very tough schedule, and I think they're very physical on defense and multiple at that, and have good experience in the back end. They're young at linebacker, but they don't play that way. Good rotation and then depth on their D-line.
Offensively, Kaaya is a tremendous passer and has good skill around him. All the skill positions, running backs and tight ends and wideouts, it's a good group, and Coach Richt's done a good job. They don't turn the ball over, and they're playing hard. So it's going to be a great opportunity and a great challenge this week here at Carter-Finley.
So everybody kind of knew going into the year the play makers you had on offense, but Kelvin Harmon seems to be a guy that's breaking out a lot this year. How big of a boost has he been to this offense as just a true freshman?
He's done a great job not hitting the wall and just managing all the things that go with playing as a freshman. He doesn't play like a freshman. He's an all-time leading touchdown producer as a [freshman] receiver in NC State history.
He's done a great job. He's a big kid. He's tough. He's mature. He's handled his business the right way, and he's a great young man to coach because he shows up and works hard every day.
Seems like he has kind of a flair for making big catches.
How fun is that to watch as a coach and seeing him really be able to do it in ACC play?
It's just nice to know you can count on him. That's the big thing as a coach. You want to know, when you draw a play up, he's going to be the open guy and whatever it is to finish the play and make it. He's a guy that produces time in and time out and doesn't matter if they have someone on him or not. He's going to fight for the football and come down with it many times.
Dave, with all the espionage that goes on on the sidelines as far as sending signals in for plays, how much do you think -- how much sign stealing do you think is actually going on in college football? And if so, where do you think it's coming from? Is it coming from the other sideline? Is it coming from the press box?
We don't do it, so I can't tell you how other people do it. We know it happens. It's part of college football. People have GAs and quality controls. Some staffs have more money than others. So they have more quality control people than other people do, and they try to get their signals.
To me, I don't really worry about stuff like that. We've got to play football. We've got to run block and tackle. So I'm not worried about it.
Is it more of a part of the game, do you think, or is there an ethical question involved in that?
I think some coaches feel it's unethical. There's no rule saying you can't do it. Like you said, we don't practice it. I know that people do it. We see people on the other side taking notes and looking at different bodies and trying to figure out who your signalers are and those kinds of things. They can spend their time doing that. I'd rather coach our players.
Good afternoon. What did you feel you did particularly well on offense this past week compared to the recent weeks that you want to keep that going against Miami?
Well, we were great on third down. I already mentioned that. We were 10 of 18. In the red zone, we were 4 of 5 opportunities with touchdowns. That's been an area that we have not done well. So those are the two biggest things, I would say, stood out.
Dave, after ten games, how do you evaluate where Ryan Finley is in his development, you know, at a different school and just how he's managed to adapt?
Yeah, I think he just played his best game. So he is getting better. He's had to play against some tough defenses. He's played well. I mean, he's thrown for over 60 percent on the year. His touchdown to completion rate is where you would want it to be. It could be better. He's a very accurate kid. He prepares hard. Can he get better? Yes, and he will because he works at it.
But I've been pleased with his progress and the way he's handled some adversity because there's been some games where he's not done everything the way he wants to, and he's come in and took the coaching and learned from it and got better. That's all you can ask for as a coach. He's going to give you everything he has. If it's not good enough on a certain day, you know he's going to bounce back.
He does have another year of eligibility. Is that correct?
He has two more, yeah.
Oh, two more?
Where would you like to see him, the next steps you'd like to see him take then?
Just to continue to manage the offense. The biggest thing quarterbacks can do is avoid the bad play. I think there's still some opportunities for him to check and get us into some things, or go through his progression and manage it.
As a runner, I think he's a little beat up. When he's healthy, I think he's a better runner than he's been. I think that's one area that he could help grow once he gets healthy and has another year in the weight room.