The initial question for Coach Demarest dealt with the defensive backs and how they have a tendency this year to not look at the quarterback and/or the football. Coach explained that the Wolfpack defense is based on the defenders playing man coverage on the edge and they are supposed to have their attention and eyes focused on the wide receiver. NC State tries to funnel most passing plays to the outside edge because those passes generally yield a lower completion rate, but this season quarterbacks have made some great passes on the same plays that fell incomplete last year. Man-to-man defense is designed to lead to punts more so than interceptions, and State wants to get the ball in the offense's hands as soon as possible. The pass defense has to improve, but it's a coordinated effort, along with the frontline and the linebackers who work together with the defensive backs to stop the pass (like they do against the run).
The next topic referred to NC State's inability to stop the slant passes by opposing offenses, and Haynes noted that other teams are surely going to try and use the same pattern to beat NC State.
Coach Demarest pointed out that wide receivers have been attacking the outside shoulder of NC State's DB's and doing a good job of it. The slant will lead to about a 5-yard gain, but NC State's tackling must improve because we are giving up 10-12 yards on those same routes. Demarest then stated that on defense the Wolfpack needs to make tackles when they are in position so they can end drives.
Another question from the audience focused on why NC State's been using a 3-man rush recently in 3rd down situations and how it appeared the Wolfpack adjusted at half-time and went to a 4-man rush. Demarest stated that was indeed the case and once they made that adjustment at half-time Georgia Tech was held to one touchdown... a touchdown that was aided by 45 yards in personal fouls. Undisciplined mistakes such as those NC State can't have because football's a game of inches... and those mistakes lead to the other team sustaining drives.
On the same point as personal fouls and mental errors, Coach Demarest said the way to stop that is to make all players accountable for their actions and that's what the Wolfpack does. If a player makes a mistake, they will run gassers in practice, or they will sit down for a series or two. They are always going to be held accountable because that's the only way to make sure these mistakes stop occurring.
One fan next asked about John Richter and what exactly led to his ejection. Coach mentioned that the referee said "something" happened at the bottom of the pile or a punch was thrown, but honestly the same stuff had happened on 5 or 6 other plays and all the staff wants is consistency in those calls.
Tony Haynes then mentioned the UCONN team to Coach Demarest and asked what he thought about those guys. He stated that they have a quarterback who's a 300-yard passer and is very similar to Philip Rivers. He's not very mobile, but the Huskies will lean heavily on him after losing their top running back against Virginia Tech. What NC State may try and do is bring some pressure at him to force quick decisions and to utilize their speed against his immobility.
Another question focused on A.J. Davis and his progress, along with what redshirt players have been impressive thus far. Demarest pointed out that A.J's only a freshman this year and actually spent a year away from football last year. He's shown glimpses of his ability and is going to be a great player but is still a freshman. Other young players who have stood out are Marcus Stone, Jimmy Sutton, and Jamesley Jean. He also stressed that James Martin and Maurice Charles would have fit into that category, but they were forced to play early this season as true freshmen.
One fan asked about walk-on linebacker A.J. Booth, wondering if there was a chance he'd see the field because he's an amazing story. Coach Demarest said there's a chance he would on special teams but because of the speed that NC State has above him at linebacker, it may be a lot to ask of him to break the rotation there. As far as heart goes, he's up there with all those guys though.
Demarest then mentioned Terrance Chapman and the impact he would have had on the Wolfpack defense. He would have been the perfect compliment to Mario on the other side and NC State would rarely need to rush more than four with Chapman. He tried Canada for a bit, but he's back in Raleigh now and is trying to stay in shape for the NFL draft and free agency next season. He has NFL-type ability according to Coach "Demo" and is a heckuva prospect.
Haynes next asked Coach Demarest about a defensive back he inherited when he came to Raleigh, Minnesota Vikings DB Brian Williams. Demarest pointed out that he's excelling for the Vikings, with two interceptions and leading them in pass breakups. He's a focused kid who fits into the vikings scheme at cornerback. He's got a bright future in the NFL and it's good he's an alumni of NC State because he can help sell the program in the future.
Coach Demarest then wanted to end this week's edition by stating that the Wolfpack staff's doing everything in their power to correct the mistakes that are going on. "We'll turn it around," he said before closing out this week's program.
Next Tuesday's "Coaches Corner" features Defensive Backs Coach Greg Williams and as always will be held at Playmakers!