Amato: 'It's a Huge, Huge Game'

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

When do you think your guys started believing they can win these type of games?
It's hard to say. I think that first year with the way we won some games. Georgia Tech on ESPN was a big game for us. A couple of years ago when we won our ninth game down in Clemson, which people didn't believe we were worthy. Then the last 120 minutes of football we played [that year] when neither opponent scored an offensive touchdown... two of the biggest names in football, Notre Dame and Florida State.

That's what you need to do... beat those kind of people. Our kids believe that, I do believe that.

From what I understand, don't we have collapsable goalposts? We need to test that.

How did you talk Ohio State into coming down to NC State?
[Laughing] We made them an offer they couldn't refuse. I think they were looking to pick up a game in this area.

I know this, when I got here it wasn't going to be that we'd play a team like this in a two-year contract with both games at their place.

Talk about getting those recruits who wanted to go to Ohio State and are now playing for you.
I'm glad they are playing for us. We've been fortunate the last two years in recruiting to not only get some of those that were being recruited by Ohio State, but also the Tennessee's, the Miami's, the Michigan's, and so on.

That's what we've got to do.

It almost looks like it means a lot to come in second in the recruiting game.
There's no second in recruiting other than the fact that there may be a stump in the road or something happens. It's never over until it's over.

You never know what button will turn somebody on or off with recruiting. These youngsters are seventeen year old kids, and I know there was such a big [deal] a couple of years ago over a recruitment. That same year we lost five kids... that same night, that we thought were coming to our place.

That's the neat thing about recruiting.

How close were you to getting Santonio Holmes and can you talk about him?
We were in it... we were in it real strong. He's a tough one. He's a Jerricho Cotchery. He's going to take the ball away from you. You might cover him or you might not. He's going to go across the middle... he's one of those type kids.

How good can DaJuan Morgan be and how much of a surprise was it to you when you got him?
Morgan's very athletic... and he's a freshman. You may get to play sooner here than someplace else because of the way our program has started. He's big, fast, strong, and he's young.

Had you wrote him off after he committed to Ohio State?
[Amato smiles] That answer your question?

What did Marshall do so well against Ohio State?
They executed. They didn't get real fancy, and they executed on both sides of the ball. They ran the ball on an oustanding defense.

They were very, very aggressive. They were very agressive.

Any disadvantages to having the off week?
I don't know. I'm glad it's this way because really we have a very young team. Jay [Davis] is a fourth-year junior but has played just one half of a football game, and his backup the same. On the defensive line there's three sophomores and a junior, and the junior is a freshman at that position. Their backups are three freshmen and a junior. I can go on and on... we have two freshmen running backs.

All the work we can get, the better off it is. The work we are trying to get is the fundamentals of the game.

What's T.A. McLendon's situation and can you talk about what you saw out of your running backs in the first game?
T.A., well I don't know. He practiced well yesterday so that's good, and he had practiced so well before he pulled the hamstring. I just hope he makes it and come Friday we'll let you know.

I thought the thing the running backs did well was they were good without the football. Freshmen running backs don't like to play without the football... a lot of running backs don't. They did a good job in pass protection, and we did not lose a fumble.

Did you stack your schedule the way it is for the Ohio State game?
We were really trying to get Southern Cal and LSU to play before Ohio State. No... we weren't even scheduled to play Richmond. Navy was on the schedule, and they dropped us. We were just fighting to get a game or we'd be 0-0. Breaking in a new quarterback, I'm glad that were able to play like we did. We're going to play Ohio State this week no matter who we played last week.

*****

"There will be a fanny in every seat. I can guarantee you that, and they will all be wearing red." -- Chuck Amato


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