9/21/04: Coaches Corner Recap with Mike Barry

This week's "Coaches Corner" at Hi-Five featured offensive line coach Mike Barry and here are some highlights from today's event.

Barry began by discussing the offensive line's performance against Ohio State this past weekend.

"They played hard and that's all as a coach you can ask your kids to do," Barry said. "They made mistakes, but I was really, really encouraged by their effort. They got after Ohio State's butt."

"The preseason was Richmond," he added. "Let's get real. Ohio State came in here and that was our first game against someone big-time. Now, can we make an improvement from Ohio State to Virginia Tech? That's what I'm looking for. I told my guys I'm proud as heck of them."

"We had eleven mental mistakes and those are the things we need to correct this week."

Individually, Coach Barry pointed out that the offensive linemen put up some impressive numbers against a tough, physical Ohio State defensive line.

"We had more knockdowns, when you knock a defender down, and we had more intimidations, when you take a guy and drive him into the ground," Barry said. "We also have 'Raleigh Rails,' that's when you hook up with a defender and drive him for five yards. We had more of those three in this game than we've ever had before."

"Colmer and Jed Paulsen had ten knockdowns and Leroy Harris had nine 'Raleigh Rails," he added. "It's an imaginary track from Raleigh to the airport... and he had nine of them on 61 plays. Colmer had six intimidation blocks, where he put the guy's face or body into the ground. He also got a 'two-fer,' where he knocked two guys down on the same play."

It's a known fact that quarterback Jay Davis had three interceptions in the game, but one fan mentioned that on two of the interceptions Davis was hit by a defender. Was that a blocking error?

"There were two," Barry said. "One, Jed Paulsen overset his guy, and the guy beat him. The other one, John McKeon, who played a heck of a ballgame, didn't use the right technique, and Jay got hit."

"Those are things were if you are under pressure, you just don't throw the ball up," Barry added. "One was a little bit on Jay when he shouldn't have thrown the ball, and the other one I felt there were some people in his face."

The next question centered around the future of the offensive line, and Coach Barry indicated that the line will be a priority on the recruiting trail this season.

"We lose Chris Colmer and Jed Paulsen, they are both seniors," Barry said. "The second team guys: John Holt, [James] Newby, Kalani Heppe, and Luke Lathan are coming on. The hardest thing to get those guys is experience. The third's? We don't have third's. We are a little bit depleted from getting offensive linemen recruited or to commit."

"We're going to sign five offensive linemen this year, and I've got a great deal to offer them," Barry added. "Like in the movie, 'if we build it they will come.' I tell them to just come and we'll build."

Because offensive linemen usually take the longest of any position to be able to contribute, it's important that NC State lands talented linemen who can learn the system.

"Tony Bosselli is probably the best player I've ever coached, and he was a fifth-year guy," Barry said. "He was a dominant player in that fifth year, but in year's one and two he was okay. But, that fifth year he was a dominant player and would have probably been the greatest offensive tackle to ever play in the NFL if he hadn't torn his ankle and shoulder up."

Next, Coach Barry was asked to compare NC State's defense with the Ohio State defense he faced on Saturday.

"It's really apples and oranges," Barry said. "We're so fast and our defense is very confusing. Ohio State's is a little more static, but I'll tell you Coach Herring has our guys coming from all over the place."

"It's like if you're on the practice field and the helicopters fly over and guys jump out in black pajamas," he added. "They are coming from all over. I'll say, 'where did that guy come from.' It's like they have 12 or 13 players."

Although Ohio State was a tough defense for the Wolfpack to prepare for, Coach Barry seemed to indicate that Virginia Tech's defense wouldn't be any easier.

"I think they are more of an eight-man front with four down linemen, four linebackers, and two rovers with a three-deep secondary," Barry said. "Ohio State was more of a four-down lineman and three-linebacker set and was more exotic on passing downs."

"I don't think Virginia Tech has as good of athletes in the secondary but their front and two linebackers are very good," he added. "It's really two different defenses, but Virginia Tech's a real good football team."

Offensive lineman Chris Colmer is back on the field after missing last season with an injury. Is he 100% and how are his pro chances following the injury?

"He's not healthy," Barry said. "He's playing with pain everyday, but he's mean and nasty and plays 100% on every play. What's nice about having him is I can point to him and say, 'guys, that's how you play the game."

"If he can get that virus under control he's going to have a heckuva pro career."

The last question for Coach Barry centered around the status of right guard Ricky Fowler.

"He's injured," Barry said. "He just came off of knee surgery and he's gimpy."

"He's trying as hard as he can but he just can't get from here to over there," Barry added. "I wish he could come back because he's pretty good when he's healthy."

Next Tuesday, quarterbacks coach Curt Cignetti will be the guest at Hi-Five's "Coaches Corner."

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