Gottfried: "Buzz Has Them Playing Well"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried met with the media to discuss the upcoming game against Virginia Tech.

AUDIO: Mark Gottfried Interview (.mp3 File)

What did you try to impart to your crew after the loss and practice these days?
First of all, I think we've had two really good days, and I think what we have is a lot of inexperienced players the need to learn how to win in this league and how hard it is to win in this league. When you make mistakes, people make you pay, the teams make you pay. We have to learn how to win and what it takes to win. I think right now we're learning that.

We have a lot of young guys that haven't played a ton in this league or at this level, and it's a process where they've got to learn and they've got to learn quick. I think that's probably been the most important thing. I think in turn, we've had two unbelievable competitive practices. They went at each other pretty hard, and that's kind of where we are and that's kind of where we're trying to get to.

Have the points in the paint stat come back at you? 16 or something like that.
I think it was second-chance points down there. It was not paying attention to detail. It was losing our man. It's a play here, a play there, another play here, and next thing you know, you're down 12.

That's what happens when you play good teams. You play bad teams, they just miss a shot anyway, even if you don't play good defense. Good teams make you pay, so our team has to learn how to win, how to compete, what it takes to compete at this level, and that's I think what our team's learning right now.

You were optimistic after Illinois that your team would figure out how to defend better and for the most part they did in December. Are you still optimistic after watching your team defend at Miami and that they can solve some of those lapses?
No doubt I'm optimistic all the time. I'm also realistic, and I also realize I look out there and see Dennis and Markell are both freshman, Omer's a freshman, Ted's a freshman, Torin hasn't played at this level, Terry's not played in this league.

There's a process, too. I have to understand that as a coach. Don't really care if anybody else does or not, but I need to and these guys need to grow up quick. They need to learn fast what it takes at this level. Paying attention to detail, and a mistake here, a mistake there, and a mistake there, and now you're in a hole.

Whether it's executing our offense, whether it's losing our man defensively, whether it's a block out on a foul shot or just on a normal defensive play, those things add up quick in this conference. I'm very optimistic with our team, although I also know where we are. I know where we need to get to.

You mentioned last week that Miami was easy to scout, tough to beat. I'm guessing Virginia Tech is not easy to scout.
I think Virginia Tech's playing as good as they've played in a long time. Buzz has them playing well. They're quick, they penetrate, they get to the rim. They'll run some different things offensively, but at the end of the day, their penetration is what fuels them.

Their fastbreak fuels them, and then those things lead to three-point shots, where they're really good, as well. I think the last two days we've covered them pretty well, but I think at the same time, we're covering us. We've got to make sure we're getting better. We've got take care of us first and also take care of our opponent and get ready to play against someone else.

It's one game. How do you balance not wanting your team to panic but also trying to give them a sense of urgency and a sense that, "Well your defensive effort wasn't very good against Miami?"
Needs to be a whole lot better. That's my point that the guys need to learn. You come out with your cool jacket on, you're going to get your ass kicked. That's just the bottom line in this conference.

That's part of learning what it takes at this level. I think the most important thing for me right now is every practice we have, they better understand it. It needs to be addressed. It's not because there's not a will to or a want to, it's learning how to. You better learn how to play at this level.

Like I said earlier, I think our last two practices, we got better yesterday, and then I think we got better today. Now let's go play tomorrow.

Haven't had a marque opponent in PNC Arena... 9pm tip... how do you think the crowd will be like?
I hope our crowd is great, I really do. We've got great fans. I love our fans, but you know what I tell our team? I don't care if there's 5 people there or 55,000 there, that shouldn't have anything to do with how hard our team plays. It really shouldn't.

That's not something we really dwell on ever. We've got great fans, hope they're there. Either way, we better play, and we better be ready to play.

When you show them the Virginia Tech film and what they did against Duke, everybody wants Duke, does that get their attention that, oh, Virginia Tech's pretty good?
If you're asking if they get attention from fans, I have no idea and I don't care. From our perspective, have we expressed to our team how good they are? Absolutely, and they need to understand that.

We're playing a good team and what's going to happen in this conference is you're going to play good teams most every night. You're going to turnaround on Saturday and play North Carolina, then you're going to go to Boston College. I watched that tape, too, and the way they manhandled Syracuse.

It's not about one game or one team being good. It's about this league being good, and we've got to learn how to win at this level. That's what we've got to do.

How do you think you do adjusting the fact that they take LeDay and they take Allen and bring them off the bench, two fifth-year seniors who were starters last year? Very unorthodox.
Yeah, we don't really dwell too much on that. I think in the meat and potatoes of the game, we know who's going to be playing. That's who we need to be getting ready to play against. 

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