Kickoff: Tom O'Brien Audio + Quotes

PINEHURST, N.C. -– NC State head coach Tom O'Brien shared his thoughts on the upcoming season with the media at the 2007 ACC Kickoff. Here is a sampler of what the standout lineman had to say.

Tom O'Brien Audio

NC State Head Coach Tom O'Brien

Is there a quick Anthony Hill update?
Is there a starting time for this? I have no update on Anthony.

Is he injured?
No. There is one guy that's not going to start, that is Rashad Phillips. He's the only guy that is out right now from practice. Everybody else is still on board and we'll see where we go.

We have two kids, Avery Vogt and Gerard Miller, transferring, and Gavin Smith withdrew from school in the spring. Those are the only people that won't be available when we start.

Of your 21 recruits, are they all in?
No, there are three right now... Ellis, Linney, and Whaley did not qualify.

What do you think about being picked sixth in the Atlantic?
I never gave it any [thought] whatsoever where we were picked. As I said a long time ago, if you guys knew what you were doing you would be doing something else.

What is your biggest concern entering the fall?
Well we're not set at a lot of different positions. We're short at some positions. We've got to make sure we get the right players in the right spots and that's what will be the focus in our preseason camp.

What do you feel the strongest about?
Our best position is obviously tailback. We have three kids who can play at that position. That's the deepest, strongest position we have so I wish we were three-deep everywhere.

How do you keep three tailbacks happy?
They'll be happy because you always need three tailbacks. We always have had to have three tailbacks the way that we've run them and the way we've utilized them. The three of them are going to play and they will be in the football game.

It's not going to be important probably who starts but maybe who finishes the game.

We're going to do what we have to do to win football games. There is no question, it is no mystery that tailback is our best position. So they are going to have to carry a big burden of the offense.

The strength of the division, Wake was picked fourth... can you talk about the strength over all?
I don't think anybody has any idea of who is going to win the division, one way or another. I think when you look at it, the most important thing about teams coming back is who has the best quarterback. That gives you the best chance to win. You have the opportunity if you have a quarterback to move the football and get things done.

Obviously if you play great defense and if you have a kicker and a punter... those are all the ingredients that you look at.

Now the most important thing in football today with the 85-limit is to stay healthy. If you can have that same starting lineup in the first game and the last game you've got a chance to win a lot of football games.

You've seen this program from the outside and now you have a chance to see it from the inside. What is the biggest opportunity for improvement within this program?
Recruiting is different than New England. New England had 10 kids a year that you could sign to scholarships. Here they've averaged 60 kids a year I think from 2000-on to sign scholarships so the proximity of more players makes it... recruiting is never easy but it gives you an opportunity to get kids into your program that you want in your program.

Thoughts on quarterback situation:
We'll name him before the first game. If we can name him sooner we'll name him sooner. There is no real set timetable, but it has got to be done by then. Hopefully someone will seperate from the pack right now.

You'd like to have one guy [emerge as your starter]... if you have two quarterbacks you don't have any.

More thoughts:
Anytime you are 3-9 you have a lot of work to do. I think those kids were embarrassed that they were 3-9 and they want to be a much better football team. They've worked extremely hard. Now it is up to us to coach them up and get them in the right spots so they can win.

If they want to have a winning football program we've got a pretty good track record of making things work. If they follow our instructions and do what we want them to do we'll probably have a chance to win some football games.

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