Kravitz: 'Every Play Is A Big Play'

Pack Pride recently interviewed Rick Kravitz, NC State's new safeties coach and special teams coordinator, for next month's issue. Here are extra comments from coach Kravitz not included in the magazine article.

How well did you know Chuck Amato prior to accepting the job at NC State?
"I didn't really know him very well; I knew coach Stroud a lot better.

"I coached Todd in high school and then he went to Florida State and I went to Florida A&M, which is right across the street there. So we saw each other there, and we coached together again at West Alabama ... and so I knew what was going on up here through him.

"My best friend is John Davis [former quarterback Jay Davis's father] down there in St. Petersburg, we grew up and played high school ball and the whole thing, coached together."

What will your recruiting responsibilities be?
"As far as I know, I'll have the west coast of Florida down to Naples, and probably something here in North Carolina, and that would be it.

"The area I grew up in, I spent all my life on the west coast of Florida. I've been all over the place in the state of Florida, but from Naples to Tampa, I'm very solid with connections with the other coaches and people I know. Actually from Tallahassee all the way over to Pensacola, I have quite a few connections.

"So those areas are the ones I feel the strongest in, but I've been to Miami, I've been to Belle Glade, I've been to other places in the state of Florida. So I know a good number of people down there."

Are you excited to be the special teams coordinator in addition to your other duties?
"That's going to be a challenge. I've never been a special teams coordinator. I've been very involved in the special teams, different pieces ... but it will be kind of a challenge to be involved in all of it.

"But we have a great coaching staff, and I'm fortunate that they have people here on the staff. Casey Dimeo does a great job; he's organized and he's going to help me a lot."

NC State has developed a reputation as a great kick-blocking team in recent years ...

DaJuan Morgan celebrates a blocked punt
"Absolutely. I'm not going to change that. It's one of those things ... they're good. I'll coach them hard, and just like on defense, you're going to tweak what best works for you.

"Special teams is attitude; special teams is want. We have our first [special teams] meeting [Tuesday], and I'll tell them, ‘Everybody can make a big play on special teams. You may be the L5 or R4 or whatever you may be, but you can go down and make a big tackle or cause a fumble or do what you're supposed to do ... you've got to think to yourself that every play is a big play.'

"I'll tell them, ‘Dream big plays, practice big plays, make big plays.' That's what you want to do."

Do you remember any of your safeties from the recruiting trail, guys like Garland Heath and DaJuan Morgan and Miguel Scott from the state of Florida?
"Oh, all of them ... all of them are great players, and we had them on our board [at South Florida] briefly before they came here. Garland—or Muck or whatever you want to call him— he knows a lot of the people I know.

"DaJuan Morgan, I coached his brother [at South Florida], so I know some people there. Miguel's from Miami Killian, and he knows some guys that I know and so it's kind of neat.

"They may think, ‘Who's this clown on our coaching staff?' Hopefully the people we all know say some good things about me.

Garland 'Muck Sauce' Heath
"And LeRue Rumph, I remember him. We almost had him; we made them fight for him."

As defensive coordinator, how did your philosophy differ from the one installed here at NC State?
"We were a little different team. We do more of a zone blitz and man here. We blitzed Louisville 63 times in one game. But we didn't have quite the athletes you have here; there are some great young athletes, if we put them in the right place.

"We played a different style of football because we didn't have so many athletes. But when you finish first and eighth the last two years, you're doing something right. So it's a little different, with the zone blitz [used at South Florida], but what they're doing is very good, so don't tweak what doesn't need to be tweaked."

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