Can you assess how having last week off might have helped you after the Virginia Tech game?
"You never know how it affects you until you get to play again, but hopefully, we were able to get healthier."
How much do you worry about the N.C. State game and the fact that all their talent might come together against you this week?
"You have to worry about yourself more than you do about the other team. You're trying to prepare your own team to play the best that we can play so you can't be worried about what other teams are doing, what they might be doing, or what they haven't done. You would drive yourself crazy thinking about all of those things."
Can you talk about how tough it is to maintain confidence after the Virginia Tech game?
"Again, you don't know that until you play. The attitude of our guys is always pretty good when we walk out there on the practice field. You have to get back in a certain mindset to go back out there and play well."
WillEric Henderson be able to play this week?
"No, I don't think he'll be able to."
Do you like Thursday night games?
"From a timing point of view, they're not ideal, but they're great for your program. You get national exposure and that's good because people from other parts of the country get a chance to see us play."
Do you sense a different atmosphere during Thursday games as compared to Saturday games?
"It really depends on the crowd and the type of game we're playing."
Is it a positive regardless of whether you play well or not?
"Well, I think you need to play well and win, which obviously helps. The thirty-second clips about our school that come on during the game give exposure to the program and that's always a positive."
Can you talk about Eric Henderson and how important it was for him coming into this season to be able to stay healthy? And how is he handling the injury this year?
"He's hurting, both physically and emotionally. I tell him that he can only worry about the things that he can control, and that he can't control how bad the injury is. What he can do right now is support this team emotionally. He along with three others (Gerris Wilkinson, Chris Reis, and P.J. Daniels) were just voted permanent team captains for this year by their teammates, and that's a big responsibility."
Can you talk about P.J. Daniels and his emotional leadership on and off the field?
"What you see is what you get from him. The enthusiasm and the way that he lights up a room when he walks in is what you get from him when he's in the huddle, locker room, and on the sidelines."
With P.J. being out for a few games last year, how can he provide that leadership while off the field?
"It's harder to do when you're not playing. You can always do it in the locker room or on the sidelines, but if you're not playing during the game, it's a little tougher to provide that leadership."
How hard is it not having Eric (Henderson) in the game in regards to your pass rush and how successful it's been in terms of interceptions this year?
"I have to give credit to the other guys that have stepped up and played because they must be doing something right. Any time that you lose an All-Conference performer and someone who led the conference in sacks during his sophomore year, you lose a very important part of your defense."
What has N.C. State done defensively in the past few years that sticks out in your mind?
"They play a little more zone, but we're only talking about five to eight percent more, and not thirty to forty percent. Coach Amato has a strong influence on that side of the ball and they're using a lot of things that he learned while at Florida State."
Are (Mario) Williams and (Manny) Lawson the two best combination of defensive ends that a team can face?
"They're two big, strong ends that can run and play at an angle and challenge you to stop them if you can. It's pretty impressive what they can do."
How has Darrell Robertson played and how much has he grown this year based on the number of increased snaps he's been getting?
"He's getting better every week. The problem is that he can't put on enough weight fast enough. He's playing defensive end at the same size that Gerris (Wilkinson) was when he played end a couple of seasons ago, and that's hard to do."
Can you talk about the fact that people tend to forget about how big of a recruit he was because of the hype around Calvin Johnson when he signed here?
"He was a highly recruited young man and we were excited about him when he decided to sign here. I think it's paid off for both of us and that he has a very bright future ahead of him."
What are your thoughts regarding your running game and your ability to get that going again?
"Well, we had a one bad game against a very good defense, and we face another one again this week. We'll just have to find ways to run the ball and hope that we can be successful at it. The challenge is to be able to do that against these big defensive ends and linebackers that have played in the system for a few years."
Are you content with the balance between your running and passing attack?
"If you want to get true statistics, you have to look at the plays that are called during the first half of every game. In the second half, you're going run the ball more if you're ahead and pass more if you're losing. We're the type of team that is going to take what the opposing defense is giving us. We'll always try to run the ball though, because that's what you need to be able to do to be successful."
How smooth has Brad Honeycutt's transition been from guard to tackle?
"He's done a fine job and handled it really well. He's had the chance to play at the tackle position before so it hasn't been that big of an adjustment for him. I think it's more of a natural position for him because he has such great athletic talent which helps him deal with the defensive end with more ease."
Why have you had so much success against N.C State's offense in the past couple of years?
"I think that we've really mixed up things well against their quarterbacks and have been able to keep them off-balance by bringing in guys from different spots on the field. This year, I feel like they're more of a ball-control passing team and they tend not to throw the ball down the field as much. That will make it tougher on us so we'll have to find different ways to try and create indecision by the quarterback."
Could you discuss (Jon) Tenuta's defensive philosophy?
"His philosophy is to bring pressure, and to find ways to create blocking scheme and protection problems. We try to get to the quarterback and we'll bring everybody on the defense in order to be able to do that. His main goal is to create confusion and he's been very successful at it."
Why is it that there have been so many close games in the recent past between the two teams and Tech has always managed to come out on top?
"Every game has been different but I think we've been fortunate to win each year. I can't put my finger on one specific thing that has won it for us each of those years. It seems to me that someone has always made big plays in those games that maybe had not been stepping up in previous games during the season."