O'Brien: 'Harrison Will Start at Quarterback'

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien discusses the upcoming game against Wofford with the media.

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    Tom O'Brien Audio

    How bad does the team need the win?
    Obviously we're 0-2 and you need a victory. We've got to learn how to win, and there is no time like the present to start doing that.

    Thoughts on the quarterback situation:
    Harrison will start at quarterback. We're not making any changes. After looking at the tape and evaluating the situation, I still think he gives us the best opportunity to win the football game. Obviously he wasn't very pleased with his performance, and I think he will be much better this week.

    Is Jerrail McCuller any closer to being out there?
    Yea, he might be around in the future here.

    Thoughts on Effort:
    The kids kept playing. We went into the game with one focus, and that was to play hard for 60 minutes, play every play as hard as we can. I think we got pretty close to that goal.

    Now we didn't win the football game because we didn't play smart obviously, but we've got to take this thing in increments. At least we played hard for the whole game.

    Because you got a different feeling, do you now since you can work with what you got? I guess as opposed to a mass overhaul.
    Well I'm going to work with what I've got no matter what the feeling is. We only have so many options right now, as far as playing kids, unless we wholesale start playing freshmen. I don't intend to do that at this point.

    It's a growing process and it's a maturation process for them and also for us to make sure that we've got the right guys on the field.

    Is it imperative that you get the quarterback structure figured out?
    That would help because everything on the offense revolves around the quarterback. He has to be your leader and as he goes so goes the football team.

    If you look at them, most teams across the nation with experienced quarterbacks are the better football teams right now. We don't have that right now, but we're getting that and we're going to work real hard with... he's got the ability to be a big-league quarterback. Now whether he's going to end up making decisions and doing the right thing, the jury is still out.

    He's made a commitment. He came to me last night after practice and wanted to talk. He talked about that he knows he wasn't very good on Saturday, there is a lot of things that he has to do personally to be better, and he was going to re-dedicate himself to this football team and to do the best job he could do in practice this week, and we would see a much better quarterback on Saturday in executing the offense in the way that Dana Bible and I want it executed.

    If he works within the framework of the offense he will maintain his confidence... when he isn't asked to take a shot down the field and dump the ball off he better start dumping it off. You get the ball to Brown or Eugene a couple of times like he's done, and let them take it and run with it, that's as good as handing it to them.

    Is the distance between Harrison and Daniel right now greater than it was between Daniel and Harrison?
    I think it's different now because Harrison has played in some games and he's got some experience. I think there is definitely a difference in arm strength and things of that nature.

    What did Beck do well against Boston College?
    He took us on a 98-yard drive. That's pretty good. He made two great throws on that series and got out of the pocket and made throws. He took it in on the naked. That was a good decision because the tight end was open and he ran it in instead of taking a touchdown pass.

    There's a lot of positives, even in the second half some of the throws and decisions that he made are positives to build on.

    Thoughts on Wofford:
    Wow. They are a wishbone team. They rush for 357 yards a game. They've got 8 starters back on both sides of the football. This is the third week in a row that we're playing someone's best football team that they've got.

    They've got all seniors and juniors on defense... they've got one sophomore on offense and the rest are juniors and seniors. They are a very experienced team. They are a top-10 Championships Division team. They've won 71% of their games over the last five years, he's been there 20 years. They are in a system and understand what they are doing.

    The biggest concern is you play the option offense they have and you have to be disciplined on defense. That hasn't been our strong suit... you have to be disciplined in everything you do.

    They are a 3-4 team... the same thing. They have coached it forever and the kids are in a system they understand and they know how to play the system. All you have to do is talk about Ann Arbor.

    You have a guy like Mike Ayers, as good a coach as he is, who has put that system together that they have. The coaches have been around a long time. They are going to come in here and they are going to execute. They aren't going to lose the football game. They are going to make us beat them, and we haven't proven that we can beat anybody.

    What is your healthy scholarship count?
    Healthy, we went in with I think 79 and we've got five or six guys out for the year... somewhere at 75 or below.

    Thoughts on punter situation:
    Pierson will start on Saturday. Pierson will start.

    Thoughts on the problems with run blocking:

    I thought about it as we were flying back Saturday night. We don't have anything to fall back on.

    It's a whole new defense basically because of the techniques up front and the zone coverages mixing in man. It's the same thing on offense with the run blocking. If you practice against it and they see it, they're pretty good at it. When something changes, they can't translate what they are suppose to do... I talk about Wofford being in a system, those kids know how to fix it on the field.

    The thing is we haven't been in this system long enough to be as efficient as we want to be, but we're not going to change. We're going to do the same thing, and we're going to keep doing it until we do it well.

    Thoughts on Beck's attitude:
    Amnesia is a good trait to have as a quarterback... as I said to him, the five [interceptions] aren't on him.

    You said you talked to him last night, was it different?
    Yes... different than my past conversations with him. As I said, he came to me.

    Was that a good thing?
    I think it's a positive... a very positive thing.

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