Monday PC: Amato Meets the Media

<B>Raleigh, NC -- </b>NC State head coach Chuck Amato met with the media today, and here is a sampler of what they had to say.

Can you give us a preview of Virginia Tech?
Just what you would think. They are very physical up front and their offensive linemen are huge. Their defensive linemen aren't as tall as you would believe, but their whole football team from the waist down is very, very strong.

You see the quarterback break tackles. You see the tailback, who may be bigger than he's advertised, break tackles. You see linemen knock people off the ball, and the defensive linemen knock offensive linemen backwards. That's leg strength.

They are very, very physical.

Aside from telling the kids to tone down and be smart, is there anything else you can do to get the players not have so many penalties?
What do I do? I won't change anything now. I will not change the aggression of my football team. I will not do it! The team that leads this league in defense, usually leads it in penalties.

Aggressive penalties, I talk about foolish penalties all the time. I don't like them. No coach does. We've worked too hard to get our kids aggressive. Aggressive. Aggressive.

Maybe we're starting to play defense here. If that game would have been lost 72-70, people would have smiles on their faces. 'Maybe we'll learn how to win football games with defense.'

You all didn't say anything about how poor Ohio State's offense was. I didn't hear a daggone thing. 137 yards of total offense. I don't think I've ever been associated with a defensive team against a quality offensive team like Ohio State and held them to that few yards. Ever... in thirty-five minutes.

Foolish penalties... go to the block point when you block a punt. If you can't get there you pull back, and you won't run into the kicker.

That has nothing to do with being a thug! That has nothing to do with that, not at all. People that don't know about football don't realize that. It has to deal with a learning process.

I want aggression.

When FSU was really, really good on defense they would lead the league in penalties. That's what you're talking about?
Like they are down now. 'I didn't say that Bobby, he did.'

The University of Maryland when Jerry Claiborne was there. They led the league in that because they wanted their kids aggressive. Aggressive. Aggressive.

It's easier to slow them down than it is to speed them up. It's taken us five years to speed them up. Five years and guess what? It's poor english, but 'I ain't changing.'

So out of the fourteen, how many would you categorize as aggressive and how many as stupid?
There were too many foolish penalties. Too many.

But you know what? Before you start writing articles you ought to analyze everyone else who plays the game against a quality opponent. Here's an outstanding Virginia Tech football team. In their opening game, they had four penalties of not having enough people on the line of scrimmage. Is Frank Beamer a poor coach? Nah, not at all.

Their quarterback threw two interceptions in the first half of that game. But, Jay Davis goes up in front of you people and says, 'I blew the game.' Nobody blows the game. I blew the game.

You can chastize me all you want, and it doesn't bother me. It doesn't bother me one bit.

Both Virginia Tech and NC State have had a lot of success blocking kicks. Why do you think that is?
I think it's the emphasis we have on that. Somebody told me that NC State's blocked more kicks than anybody since 2000. That's because we emphasize it.

We always talk about blocking kicks. That's hidden yardage.

We talk offense and we talk defense, but I always say if we win the kicking game that we'll win the football game. 90% of the time we'll win the football game.

Everybody seems to be using two or three tailbacks. Why has it changed from using just one back?
I think the passing game has changed some of that. I think some tailbacks can and can't [catch]. I think we're fortunate to have a couple of tailbacks who can do that. We have to take advantage of that.

Defensively, you guys are #1 in the nation. Is that a fluke?
[Laughing] It was a fluke after the Richmond game, I know that. That's what you people thought. Then we played Ohio State. The Big Ten... Ohio State. We played Tressell ball. Ohio State, who won the national championship two years ago, and we held their offense to 137 yards.

You answer that question. I wish this was the last game of the season, and I'd say we're good, but we've got nine more games. There's an awful lot of potential there.

They are young. They are young and inexperienced. A lot of people that play on that defense have been here twelve months. Most great programs, those players would have been red-shirted. Hopefully some day we'll get to that point, and we can do that.

Could this defense be up there near the top all season?
If we stay healthy and continue to improve.

I was really impressed with the way we held the line of scrimmage, and I was very impressed with the way we covered. When they caught passes we had people around them and against quality receivers.

We did a good job with covering along with putting pressure on the quarterback.

We've got to stop the run this week or we won't have to worry about covering people.

Sometimes, when you're leading the country in pass defense it's because you can't slow anybody down.

What's your thoughts on Bryan Randall?
He's experienced. That's the big thing, and he's very mobile. He's probably more athletic than the quarterback from Richmond with a better supporting cast.

He's a good one.

What can you do as coaches to change the penalties?
That's a good question. We're having a hard time finding officials to come to our practice. Why don't you write a story about that? If there are any college or high school officials in this city, we'd love to have them every Tuesday or Wednesday.

That's the thing that can really help us.

Do you think Jay's final drive will give him some confidence heading into the Virginia Tech game?
I don't know why it wouldn't. I really don't know why it wouldn't. There were some dropped passes that could have been huge, that had nothing to do with the guy who threw the ball. That tends to be forgotten.

But, I think it's good that it happened.

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