Kickoff: Chuck Amato Q&A

<B>GREENSBORO, N.C. --</b> NC State Head Coach Chuck Amato met with the media at the ACC Football Kickoff and here's a sampling of what he had to say.

Is this really not a rebuilding year with Philip not being there?
"Who said it's not a rebuilding year? I don't know… every year is a rebuilding year, but we have a lot coming back. We have those five freshman on defense who are real men now."

With Reggie Herring, what was the decision behind that and what will he bring to the staff?
"I heard so much about him and I watched him at Clemson… I actually tried to hire him. He brings intensity, toughness… he's smart and he's been in a system for a long time."

Is he similar to you as an assistant coach?
"I hope he's better, and I think he is. He's just a funny individual that is a great teacher of the game. I'm tickled to death… I really am."

Can you talk about the quarterback situation, and is it a close battle right now?
"We haven't practiced since the spring so nothing has really changed. We are going to see how things go in two-a-days. We've got twenty-nine practice opportunities, but I'm not concerned about it.

It's so funny, maybe because it's such a difficult position. But, no one's asking who will be that starting right guard, or that wide receiver, or who's going to be that starting corner because there is three good ones. It's always just that one position, and rightfully so, but there are other positions on the field where there will be some good battles."

C.J. Hunter continues to be the focal point of negative news lately. Are you still confident that he'll be with you?
"I hope so… I really do. This is something that happened before we hired him, and what we sometimes forget is that it was his wife. That was his wife. He's done a great job for us with the kids, and I just hope he's there. And I think he will be."

Looking at the preseason poll, does 7th look kind of low to you?
"I was hoping for 11th… to help motivate a little bit. But, you guys didn't really think a lot about the Big Four. Maybe if it was basketball things would be the other way around. But, that's just a poll."

NC State Head Coach Chuck Amato talks Wolfpack football with the media.

Do you expect Miami to at least be challenged more than Florida State was when they entered?
"Yes, because there's Florida State. They have to deal with Florida State and FSU didn't have to deal with Miami their time around. But, I think the league was underrated even before expansion. We have some awfully good coaches in this league… teams in this league."

I don't think there's any question, at least in my opinion, that the teams in the league now are overall much better than when Florida State came in."

What kind of development do you normally see from a freshman to a sophomore?
"I think there's a couple of them that I can mention. Take Mario Williams… from the last play in the Tangerine Bowl to the first snap in spring practice the difference was night and day. He's so much more relaxed and comfortable. You could just tell that he was a different player. He was 19 years old instead of 18. He's 290 as opposed to 260... and that means a lot. He wasn't 290 in the spring but he is now... and that means a lot.

With those five freshmen up front only one had redshirted and that was McCargo. The other four probably should have been redshirted but we couldn't afford to. If they all stick around for their whole eligibility we'll have a chance."

Offensively will things stay the same or will it be more run-oriented with guys like T.A. McLendon, Tramain and some other backs that you have?
"We're going to the wishbone… oops you guys aren't suppose to hear that. [Laughing] We had the greatest quarterback to ever play in the Atlantic Coast Conference. We had the greatest quarterback to ever play at NC State, and we took advantage of it. Sure, I hope our running game is much better but only time will tell. But time will tell if Colmer's going to be there, if Fowler's going to be there, and if others will be out there. I don't care if it's T.A. or if we go down to Miami and talk Ricky Williams out of retirement to play. I hope we can run it better, but injuries are going to be a part of it."

What did you learn with Mario and the other defensive lineman that will help with Demario Pressley when he comes in?
"Not many of those guys are ready when they come in. Playing in the trenches is tough and some of those guys are playing against fifth-year seniors who may be twenty-three years old."

How much do you think you'll count on Demario?
"I can't tell you that until we go out there and put the pads on."

How does Tramain Hall rate among players that like to talk a lot?
"[Laughing] He's no Deion… that's for sure. He's another Philip [Rivers]. He has great leadership qualities both on and off the field. He's done so good academically and has a spiritual side to him that he leans on. These kids really look up to him."

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