Gottfried: "I Have A Job To Do"

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Mark Gottfried fielded questions from the media following Tuesday's practice.

Opening Statement:
Let me start off and say that I know all of you pretty well and have great respect for you. You have a job to do and ask questions, and I have a job to do so I'm going to answer any questions regarding the game tomorrow night. 

I'm not going to get into any rumors and innuendo. I understand that you have a job to do, but so do I. Right now my focus with our team is getting them ready to play against North Carolina.

I still believe in our team. I believe we've shown at times how good we can be, and my hope is we can turn this around so we can get into the tournament for our fifth time in six years.

That's where I'm at personally and any questions you want to ask me about the game I'll be more than happy to answer.  I have a great respect for you guys, but I have a job to do too.

Any questions?

It's obviously a unique situation given what I reported last night.  How has that affected preparation for the game?
We're preparing for the game as if it was any other game. They are really, really good and we know it. The last game in Chapel Hill was a disaster. We know it.  

We have to turn that around.  We have to play a lot better and execute our offense. We turned the ball over... it was a myriad of things we did wrong.

We've had great preparation, and our guys have had an unbelievable spirit in practice... we're excited to play a really good team tomorrow night.

After Wake Forest you said it's more about focusing on what you're doing and not reinventing the wheel.  How have you addressed that in practice?
With us, it's not a matter sometimes of what you're doing. It's how well we've done it. At times we've done things well... we've defended well, executed well, and at other times we haven't.

We've allowed adversity steamroll and get worse... that's happened too many times.  In those games where we've had lopsided losses, and the tend of the day it's my responsibility.  We have to get more consistent to handle adversity.

I watched the Duke game this morning... we were down 11 or 13 and then we chipped it down to four or six and took the lead. We have to do that more often. 

For tomorrow, they'll come in here guns loaded. There's no question about it, they are good. We have to make sure we match that.

What has this season been like for you personally?
Every season is different. There's been some fun moments and a lot of tough ones too. There's a lot of basketball left, regardless of what everybody might think.

You guys can look right back there at that banner, 1983.  That team wasn't going anywhere at the end of the year. They weren't going anywhere. I remember UCONN having to win five games in the tournament just to get in the NCAA Tournament.  I want to say that UCONN team, their last regular season game they lost by 40.

Anything is possible.  My job is to keep our spirits high. Our players have had a great couple of days, we have to make sure we can turn this thing around and play our best basketball.

Keyshawn Woods and Joel Berry accused your team of quitting. What's your response to that?
I'm not going to respond to that.

Is this team desperate? Is desperate a fair word for this group?
I don't know that I'd use the word desperate. There's no doubt though that our backs are against the wall. We've been there before since I've been here.

In the past our teams have always played our best basketball at the end. We're running out of time and we have to do it... it has to happen for us.

We're running out of time. We have to do it and it has to happen for us.

Our guys are excited about tomorrow and each opportunity they'll have the rest of the way.

Has anything been communicated to you about your job status, now or later?
I told you, I'm not going to answer that question.

Is it fair to say this week, the past four days have been the most adverse of the season?
I don't think this week has been a difficult thing.  I think our players are going to be excited about playing. I really believe that.

How has their focus been this week?
I think it's been great. We had a great practice yesterday and a lot of spirit today... paying attention to everything we're trying to do within the game.

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