Teleconference: Amato Discusses Virginia Tech Loss

Wolfpack head coach Chuck Amato talked with the media today via teleconference and here is a sampler of what he had to say.

Thoughts on offense after reviewing the game tape:
I thought they did a really good job. We had an awful lot of good things. Jay was very poised, we ran the ball good, the offensive line did a good job, we did a good job of mixing up formations and things of that sort.

After watching the film did you get a sense for how many penalties were heat of the moment?
I think a good majority of them were heat of the moment. I don't think any of them were done intentionally, and that's really as far as I can go with the officiating part of it.

Thoughts on Demario Pressley's play:
Demario did good. He's young. In a physical game like that he played up a little too high technically and fundamentally, but all he's going to do is get better and better.

What pleased you the most about the game and what didn't you like about the game?
The thing that pleased me the most about the game is we did an awful lot of things well. For an opening game there weren't a lot of jumping offsides.

We had three turnovers. The first one was an overthrow that was to somebody that wide open. The second one was football... the fumble. I mean Darrell Blackman makes a great run and he just gets clobbered. I don't know if anybody else would not have fumbled as well on that particular [play]. The last thing was thrown up... you're taking a shot with seven seconds left to go in a game.

Defensively, I felt that during the game we had given up more than we did. I looked at the stats, and I saw that they had 232 yards, and I thought it was a typographical mistake to be honest with you. But we have so much area for improvement in all phases.

The kicking game, Deraney punted for a 40-plus average and made three field goals. I didn't like his kickoffs. The kickoff coverage was good. We didn't get anything blocked there, but we made some mental mistakes obviously. We executed a fake punt to a 't.' I am surprised that wasn't a fake-in and then go outside which probably would have been a touchdown, which would have tied the game up at that point.

But we did an awful lot of good things. To oversee the bad things that everybody in the stands sees. We had some outstanding second efforts in many, many, many cases. We've got a long ways to go. It's a great thing to start to play a game of that magnitude, and play as physical as we did. As we all know, the other things have to be taken care of.

A lot of people got the sense that NC State outplayed Virginia Tech. In watching the tape did you get that same sense?
Yea, the tape is the same as the game... there's no doubt about that. To say outplay them, when you look at statistics, they really don't mean a whole lot because there are so many hidden yardage in the football game that is unnoticed statistically. The object is to end up with more points than the opponent, and we didn't do that.

Did you like the running back rotation and will you stay with what we saw?
We've got to get Toney [Baker] more touches, and we got to get the other ones in there as well because they all can do some good things. The running backs got to hit the right tracks when they run those inside zone plays... that is something that can be improved on. I thought our faking was good, I thought Jay did some good things in faking, but we've got to try and get everybody involved.

Can you talk about how Darrell Blackman played at running back?
Again, when you look at his statistics and what he did with the ball, and these running backs, and they are all young. Reggie Davis is playing a lot right now because he knows what is going on. He's been in games, and he knows the system. These young running backs, when you give them the football they know what to do with it. The thing they have to learn to do is to play without the football, and they have to learn how to protect.

Darrell is an outstanding [back], and he does everything probably a little better than everybody right now. But, he has got to protect the ball better. He got really, really [hit] hard when he fumbled, and had he attacked the tacklers he probably would not have got turned back like he did. Within a two-minute period he made two big, big, big mistakes. Those are the things that youngsters have to learn to cope with and stop. When Darrell has his hands on the football he can do a lot of good things.

Can you break down the pod formation? Did Spurrier start that?
Spurrier? I don't think so. Spurrier's formations are pretty simple to be honest with you. It's all about execution. Call them whatever you want to.

What did you think of Virginia Tech? Are they better than last year?
That's hard to tell, I mean we are only comparing them with each other. They've got an awful lot of people returning from that team last year that won the conference championship. I mean an awful lot on both sides of the football. They are well-coached, they don't beat themselves and it will take them a long, long way. They are going to win an awful lot of football games.

What are your thoughts now on kicking the field goal with eight minutes to play?
I still think it was the right thing because it was a defensive game with field position. Every point that you got was going to be valuable. I felt that if we get three, we stop and get the ball back, and there was plenty of time left in the game. I think there was eight minutes left to go in the game.

Look what we did with thirty-something seconds left to go in the game. Look at what we did at the end of the first half, moving the ball down the field with no timeouts to get into position.

We felt that the points were important, and let's get what we can. If Morgan zips in and zips out on the fake punt we wouldn't have to worry about that.

We had opportunities. We missed a couple of interceptions. We missed a big interception that would have been a great, great play. On the very next play was a seven-point swing down there in the end zone. So many of those things there go unnoticed. I don't think there is any question that we felt it was the right thing to do.

What do we draw from what's happened so far in the ACC?
Just drwa that 50% of the teams won and 50% of the teams lost this weekend, and there is a lot of season left. I think the two wins of Clemson and Georgia Tech against non-conference teams were huge. In the state of North Carolina, ACC teams were 0-fer, and probably everyone of them could have won, or had opportunities to [win].

I think it shows it is going to be a long year. With the league like it is right now, it gives everybody a chance, there's no doubt about it.

How do you plan to approach the next two weeks with the bye week?
We have two weeks, and we are going to take advantage of it. We are not allowed out recruiting here in the state of North Carolina, which we had planned on doing this coming weekend, so our coaches will be in and we are going to build on what we started this past weekend. We are going to correct mistakes and we are going to truck forward with fundamentals and getting better.

How do you read the psyche of your team right now?
In the locker room, which is the last time I've seen them as a unit, they were passionately upset about losing which I feel good about. I think the seniors will handle this and get us going in a positive manner.

Do you learn more in a game like this than when you go and run over an opponent?
I don't know. I know we did learn an awful lot. We did not quit. These kids did not quit at the end of the game. It would have been very easy at the end of the game, when we got the call of running into the kicker on the field goal, and they missed it. We would have had the ball on the 30 with two and a half minutes left to go in the game, with one timeout, as opposed to having it on the 20 with thirty-something seconds left to go in the game.

Those kids could have quit. They could have just thrown it right in the tank, and they didn't. We put ourselves into position on the last play to possibly win the game.

I think we did so many good things well against a really, really, really good football team. If we just build on that I think things can be real good.

Talk about the play of linebackers Oliver Hoyte and Stephen Tulloch?
Those two young men are the keys back there because they have experience. They played well. They made a couple missed assignments, especially little things that they'll be able to correct. They are two outstanding linebackers. They're physical, they're fast, they're smart and they have good instincts.

What do you think the key tonight will be?
What do I think the key tonight will be? Well, my wife makes me a good meal. What are you talking about?

The game in Tallahassee...
Oh, what time is that? What time is that?

It's on television, Chuck.
Oh thank you, and my TV does work. I'm looking forward to it. I talked with coach Bowden last week a couple of times. It could be a game like ours. The team that makes the most mistakes is going to lose.

On the replay last night, do you feel like it was handled quickly? Was it relayed well to you?
Yeah, in fact they told us that they knew the arm was going forward. The only thing they wanted to make sure of was did the ball hit the ground or did they catch in the air. That's what he didn't know. Which would have been an interception. If it hits the ground obviously it would have been an incomplete pass. The ruling was the arm was going forward, period. That's not what they were questioning. Their question was if the ball hit the ground or not.

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