Trestman: This Game Is 'Critically' Important

NC State offensive coordinator Marc Trestman fielded questions today during his weekly teleconference and here is a sampler of what he had to say.

What has it been like for you in terms of tweaking the offense from a pass-oriented offense to run-oriented?
Ever since we started we have always been working at the running game as hard as we were on the passing game.   We were giving it equal time in our practices early on, and we continue to do that throughout the season... trying not only to develop our passing game but also to develop our running game.  And some of our very good players are running backs, as everybody knows.

Going into the season we had a senior quarterback playing who had a legitimate amount of time playing in the previous year, and we were probably a little bit more multiple in the things we were doing both in our formations and in our shifts.  We were going no huddle, doing a lot more things.

As the season progressed, we got into this discussion... we just felt we hit a wall so to speak. Whether it was intentionally or by virtue of the teams we were playing, we just weren't doing anything offensively and making anything happen.  At the same time, Andre Brown was getting work during practice and continuing to get a better understanding of what we were trying to accomplish offensively.  At the same time, our line was continuing to get work together and developing.  When Marcus took over the offense, we realized with his inexperience, we needed to do some things to help complement him and help him.  We found that Andre was ready to go, and I think you can see what has transpired since then.

If someone had told you in the beginning of the season that you would have had won two games where you passed for under 100 yards, what would you have thought?
Well when you run for less than a hundred or pass for less than a hundred, you wouldn't expect to have enough productivity to win a game. The bottomline has always been to protect the football and you are going to win most of your games.  In the last four games, we have turned the ball over twice, and one of them was in a critical situation at the end of the half, but other than that we have done a pretty good job of protecting the football and keeping it off the ground.  That has kept us in the games.  The bottomline is we've been able to win the games where we have protected the football.

Thoughts on Maryland's defense and linebacker D'Qwell Jackson:
They are a pretty multiple defense like most of the defenses that we have seen in the ACC.  You got a guy who can do a lot of things very well both against the run and the pass.  He's around the ball all the time.  At the same time, they've got a scheme where they move people around and get people in different places, and present challenges in terms of attacking our schemes.

How would you access your return to college football?
I can say that I have just loved every minute of it.  It goes far beyond the wins and losses.  The impact that you can have on a day-to-day basis with these kids both relative to their athletic lives, and academic life is dramatic.  I've enjoyed that.  It's allowed me also to balance that with my family obligations that are important.  As I've looked at it, we are in our 11th game, and in the NFL you are talking five more weeks at a minimum 100 hours a week. That's going to be dramatically different.

Right now if you were 5-5 in the National Football League, you would feel you were in a great position to make the playoffs and get into a January game. It's kind of similar to that and relative to that this week, as it was last week.

I've really enjoyed it. I'm disappointed that we have not been as productive as I would have liked us to be and as we would have liked to be.  I am not discouraged at all. I'm very, very optimistic about the direction we are going, and I see real good things in our future.  Hopefully we can have some of those things in our future happen to us on Saturday.

Were there things that were more difficult or easier than you expected?
That's a good question.  The hardest part of the adjustment was recognizing that you don't get your time with the players relative to teaching them football.  That's been the hardest part about it, and trying to learn how to coach offense in college football, an offense you truly believe in.  Yet you don't have the time to do it exactly the way you would have liked it because your meeting time is limited, and as I've watched football I see that.  I am starting to understand how coaches and successful offenses, not withstanding a player or two, they get it done.  How they define and scheme their offense so they teach the things that are necessary.

You have to rely on the players to watch more tape on their own.
We all hope that happens, but also in putting practices together and meeting time, and the more detailed things like: how many protections can you truly run, how many patterns can you have in a gameplan, how many formations can you really build in and have enough time to teach these kids. When they come in during the day they haven't been thinking at all about football.  They may have just taken an exam.  They have class preparation. Plus they are younger and they are maturing kids more than they are grown men. So there are all these kinds of variables that come into play that you don't even think about when you are coaching in the National Football League, and they do have an impact with what you see on Saturday.  It has been an unbelievable learning experience for me in terms of trying to understand how this all comes together so you can put a group on the field that can get the job done on Saturday.  The change is dramatic, there is no question about it.

In your first year, would you say that the ACC has been more difficult than you would have thought?
My idea of it is as I've watched teams in the ACC, it's very much like the National Football League. The teams are very, very even.  We didn't see Miami. We did see Virginia Tech.  We did see Florida State.  We've seen how on any Saturday you can beat a team.  We've seen that, and you can lose to a team that you expected to beat.  The thing is No. 1 I think the coaching is really outstanding in the ACC.  The player talent is pretty equally distributed.  There is always a player or two on each team, but for the most part the differences in talent is minimal, I think.  Anything can happen on game day.

Do you get a feel for how critical this game is for the program?
I think that there is a genuine feeling that it is critically important.   We win this football game, and we get back into a bowl after last year. That has been the number one goal.  You could feel that as early as yesterday when the players came back.

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