Amato: 'We're Just Thankful'

NC State head coach Chuck Amato fielded questions from the media after accepting an invitation to play in this year's Meineke Car Care Bowl and here is a sampler of what he had to say.

Will you practice before final exams or afterwards?
We'll wait. We'll wait until after final exams because that is such an important thing here. It's hard to handle two things that important at one time, and we'll go from there.

We'll have to do a couple of two-a-day practices, and we'll do that. I think that's more important then trying to have them practice and study for exams at the same time.

Playing in Charlotte, is that a big deal staying in-state for the game?
We would go anywhere. We're just happy with the way we ended the season.

To be in our home state and have the fanbase so close and so accessible to the Meineke Car Care Bowl, it's so fitting for the way the season has gone and the support that our people have for not only football but all the sports here at NC State.

Is that a huge advantage?
It's not a disadvantage.

Can you talk about the job coach Leavitt has done at South Florida?
He's done an unbelievable job. He's in a state that's got so many players, and that's a big plus.

He has done an outstanding job there. He's a tireless worker. I met him when he was at Kansas State, along with Bobby Stoops, when they would visit Florida State. I was impressed with then, and I have got to know him over the years.

What do you feel is the biggest thing you get out of attending a bowl game?

I think the biggest thing is the reward the players get. All the other [things] are added incentives, they are added things to help us. Exposure, recruiting, extra practices, so on and so on.

The biggest thing is that for these youngsters, or any team that gets to go to a bowl, it's a reward that we can go to and have some fun. The most fun that you can have when you do go is to win, and both teams will be fighting to do that when we get to Charlotte.

Can you touch again on what it's like to be going to a bowl with the situation you had been in?
It's very rewarding. It says bundles about what these young men did in the fact that they just hung in there, they wouldn't flinch, and they just kept on working to improve daily.

If we had started the season 4-1 and ended up 2-4, we'd have the same record but it might not be as important to us because we might be upset because we had such a big start.

The final analysis is what you end up with at the end of the season.

I told these young men that when they come back for a 10-year reunion this could be as rewarding a season that they ever play in.

At what point did you think it was going to be Charlotte?
I didn't. It's like the weather, and you can't mess with the elements. We had no control over it. We are just happy and glad that Will and the rest of the people at the Meineke Car Care Bowl jumped on us when they had the opportunity. We're just thankful for it.

We'll go wherever they want us, and we are so glad that Charlotte did.

Is this getting the best of both worlds where you can go home for Christmas and get a bowl too?
Oh yea. There's a lot of advantages for that. It's hard to compete with Santa Claus, it really is. I don't care how old you are or where you're from. It's a family thing and a great time of the year.

If you can do them both it really makes for a great Christmas present and a great New Year's present.

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