Recap: 2007 ACC Football Kickoff

If you were busy the past few days and missed our coverage of the 2007 ACC Football Kickoff, here is the recap of interviews, audio, roster updates, and much more from the Pack Pride staff.

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2007 ACC Football Kickoff Recap

Tom O'Brien Audio + Quotes

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.

"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.

DeMario Pressley Audio + Quotes

If not NC State, who is the team to beat this year?
I can't pick us? Do they have to be in the ACC? Clemson... they have a great offensive line and then they've got James Davis who is amazing and then you have another amazing back with Spiller. With him coming in plus the speed that he has, it's like a 1-2 punch.

What did you know about coach O'Brien over the last couple of years? One thing I knew from playing them is that he runs a tight ship. They never really committed that many penalties at all, and if I'm not mistaken the time we went up there I don't think they had one penalty the entire game.

Darrell Blackman Audio + Quotes

On the role of the receivers in the offense:
They want to get the ball down the field in the hurry. Not try to get Toney and Andre's bodies beat up, they are trying to conserve Tony and Andre a little bit more.
"The only way we can do that is to throw the ball a little bit more."

The only way we can do that is to throw the ball a little bit more. We've got the guys that can do that – go down there and make the catches. We just have to get the guy who can get the ball down the field.

On NC State's trip to Boston College this season:
Going back up there to play after the coaching change is going to be real emotional for coach O'Brien and their fans. He's done so much for the school and for the program. It's going to be heartwarming for him to go back up there and coach in the stadium that he basically grew up in and changed a lot. Now to be on the opposite side of the field coaches against them is going to be emotional for him and some of the fans.

Tom O'Brien Notables

After being asked what he thought of being picked last in the Atlantic Division, O'Brien replied he didn't think "anybody has any idea" how the season will end up. He went on to mention that staying healthy will be the most important factor for NC State this season, because of the lack of quality depth on the team. "I think there is talent... I don't know if there is enough depth."

O'Brien said the key to reducing mistakes with this team is borrowing from the Marine mentality of teamwork: "I want players to worry more about the guy next to you and the guy behind you. If they get to that point they aren't going to be jumping offsides and creating stupid penalties."

The new Wolfpack head coach talked briefly about the differences in recruiting between Boston College and NC State. He mentioned the greater number of good players available in the state and how his staff was focusing on in-state recruiting. "At Boston College we recruited from the Catholic high schools – that was our tie-in. Here we are a state university, that's our tie-in." He also said the main difference is that he can now jump in his car to make a visit as opposed to hoping on a plane. When questioned about competing with four other Division-I programs in the state for recruits, O'Brien joked that he always has to recruit against five schools because kids get five visits so it doesn't make much of a difference.

Darrell Blackman and DeMario Pressley Notables


  • DeMario Pressley spoke openly with the media, and what stood out most was just how genuinely scared of Tom O'Brien he is, which drew a lot of laughter from the media. "I don't know why I'm so scared of him," remarked Pressley. He said O'Brien is a big change from the "rah-rah" attitude of Chuck Amato, and it has taken some time to get used to him.

  • Pressley stated he's not heard Tom O'Brien ever raise his voice around the team. No matter the circumstances, he's never heard him raise his voice.

  • When asked about what player he feels will surprise defensively in 2007, Pressley mentioned that "there are a few of them." You get the sense he really believes Martrel Brown is one of the most underrated players around. "Martrel Brown will definitely stand out," said Pressley. "He looks awesome.

    "Morgan's aggressiveness and hard-hitting ability are his strong suits."

    He had seven sacks last year... he's great." He added that he feels Jeremy Gray and DaJuan Morgan will have big years in the defensive backfield playing zone, stating that Gray's size and athleticism could lead to some turnovers and Morgan's aggressiveness and hard-hitting ability are his strong suits.


  • Blackman hinted that Jamelle Eugene has really caught the eye of the coaches and could steal reps from Toney Baker and Andre Brown.

  • He believes the wide receivers will become a bigger part of the offense this season. Blackman said he'll be running more deep routes and trying to move the ball down the field quickly to take some pressure off the running backs.

  • The senior wide receiver said the former coaching staff failed to adapt its offensive philosophy after the departure of Philip Rivers. He specifically mentioned their failure to tailor the offense around Marcus Stone's running ability - "We tried to run the same system with a quarterback that was more of a running quarterback when Marcus Stone was back there. He liked to get out in the open and we were still in that Rivers era – trying to sit back there and pick teams apart. We needed to change the concept of the offense so we could move the ball like we wanted to, but that just wasn't happening."

    State Picked Sixth in the Atlantic

    Members of the media met in Pinehurst, NC and released their preseason ACC football predictions for each division and named who they feel will be the ACC championship game winner later this year. NC State was picked to finish sixth in the Atlantic Division, recording 144 total points, 12 points behind Maryland.

    Miller, Vogt to Transfer

    NC State head coach Tom O'Brien announced at the 2007 ACC Kickoff that lineman Gerard Miller and linebacker Avery Vogt have elected to transfer.

    Three Recruits Fail to Qualify

    NC State head coach Tom O'Brien announced today at the 2007 ACC Kickoff that three freshmen will not be enrolling this fall.

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