Amato: Heath Is The 'Perfect' Safety

NC State head coach Chuck Amato discusses the upcoming bowl game at his pre-practice press conference.

Can you talk about the progress Garland Heath has made?
Without a doubt, that's an enjoyment to talk about, what he has done and how far he has come. Here is somebody we tried to redshirt a couple of years ago, and he played on all the special teams and just got better and better.

He's right up there in interceptions in the league. He makes big plays when you need them. He's got a lot of vision. He's a perfect safety back there.

Can you point to a single thing you've seen as a sign of maturity with Marcus Stone since he has been starting?
I think he feels more at ease, and he's accepted the responsibility of being the starting quarterback, knowing that he doesn't have to look over his shoulder.

Some of his mannerisms actually remind me a little bit of Philip (Rivers). He's starting to take control as a real good field general.

The biggest thing is he's 4-1 as a starter. His stats may not be what you think would be super, super good, but he doesn't make mistakes. Since that first game he's made very, very few mistakes and that's one of the reasons we've been on this roll.

Is there anything in particular that reminds you of Philip in how he does things?
It's just the way he handles himself in the huddle.

Based on past experiences, how long does it take the players to get back in the flow after the holidays?
Well, that's hard to say. We sent them home in pretty good shape and then they ran pretty good after practice yesterday. We ran them pretty hard and pretty long.

But it's hard to compete with Santa Claus as we all know. We've got that before-Santa Claus weight and that after-Santa Claus weight and we all have got to get it off. Everybody waits until New Year's but we can't wait that long.

We've really stressed conditioning.

Darrell Blackman, Toney Baker, and Andre Brown ... do you think there will be a lot of carries for them all or just one?
We're just going to see how things go. If somebody gets in there and gets hot like Andre did in the Southern Miss. game we'll stay with it, but we want to keep them all rested and get the ball in their hands as much as we can.

Do you feel the offense will mirror what we saw the last five games of the year?
Come to the game.

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