Newly-hired NC State head coach Tom O'Brien has been busy acclimating himself to his new surroundings in Raleigh, making contact with recruits and considering the possibilities of his future Wolfpack staff. Friday in Spartanburg, SC, O'Brien was on hand along with Phil Fulmer (Tennessee), Butch Davis (UNC), Jim Grobe (Wake Forest) and Tommy Bowden (Clemson) to speak to players selected to the 2006 Shrine Bowl and the Spartanburg Touchdown Club. Pack Pride spoke exclusively with O'Brien after the event.
Talk about what this first couple of weeks has been like on the job at NC State.
"It's been hectic but it was expected. I've gotten to meet so many people on so many different levels at the university but I've been impressed with the level of professionalism of everybody there and their desire to be the best possible university they can be. We're going to do everything we can within the rules and regulations of the NCAA to be the best football team we can be."
With so many things to do initially, what have you tried to focus on so far?
"What I've tried to do the first week is figure out the lay of the land- who works where, who does what- especially in the Murphy Center, who my staff will be there. My focus in the future will be putting a staff together and I left all my guys in Boston. You know it's very important for that Boston College team to win their tenth game and I didn't want to slight them in any way, shape or form. After I get finished addressing and assessing the support staff here, then I'll get my staff together and hopefully by right after the first of the year, we'll hit the ground running."
How has the reception been from the NC State community?
"They've been very gracious in every place I've gone and everywhere I've been so it's exciting to see the great support. I knew that, coming in, they were the most passionate football fans in the state of North Carolina and that's something I want to be a part of."
You were extremely successful recruiting Massachusetts while at Boston College. How important will recruiting the state of North Carolina be for you and your staff?
"Well, it's very important. It starts at home and you have to work your way out. I remember when I went with coach Welsh to Virginia, he talked about how you can't put a fence around a state but we have to get our fair share and we're going to work to make sure that happens."