O'Brien: 'I'm Going to Believe in These Guys'

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

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    Tom O'Brien Audio

    Can you talk about the value of having a multi-purpose guy like Darrell Blackman on your team?
    We always look for a big-play guy and he certainly is one. I would say right now after the first four games, he is the best football player on our team. We have to keep trying to get him the ball the best way we can because as he showed Saturday, he can score from anywhere on the field. I think he set a record with a 99-yard return, and outran their sprint champ so he's got tremendous speed, explosiveness, and he's a great weapon to have.

    Can you talk about Harrison Beck and his knee injury?
    They had told me that he would have been available. I didn't want to put him back in the game not knowing if he could be 100% or not, especially the speed the game was going. He practiced last night and seemed to be fine so I think he will be fine for Saturday.

    Is he still your starter?
    Yes. I haven't made a change.

    What stands out about Louisville?
    They have a tremendous quarterback in Brohm. He's thrown I think 67%. He's got a 5-to-1 TD/INT ratio, 15-3, which is really outstanding... he's thrown for a 1000 yards in I think the last two games.

    He's got two quality receivers. #85... Douglas, and then Urrutia is a giant. He's about 6'6 or something... similar to the two receivers Clemson had.

    The thing that is really amazing is they are 54% on third-down conversion which is basically unheard of in college football. I guess when you're that good on third down and a quarterback the way he is... this is a treat for us. We get to play the two best quarterbacks in the country within the same month.

    They've had new kids in the secondary. They lost three starters from last year and one of the kids they were counting on coming back had a knee in preseason. They've done some juggling around back there the last couple of weeks, and Syracuse fooled them a couple of times. I'm sure they will solve those problems... you just can't give up the deep passes they have been giving up.

    How frustrated have you been with the inability to establish the run?
    Anytime you lose it's frustrating. The only thing you can do, and what we've done for years, is you go back to the practice field and keep doing the fundamentals over-and-over again until we get them right. We make sure we can execute them, execute them with speed, and get our techniques right. If we do that, we can be a whole lot better up front running the football.

    Is this more of a rebuilding job than you expected?
    I don't know what I expected. Obviously when you're 1-3 you've got some things you have to take and do a lot better.

    We'll continue to do it. We're a third of the way through the year and we've got two/thirds left to go... no telling, maybe the light will turn on and we can win the rest of our games.

    How likely is it the light will turn on?
    Oh, I'm a positive guy. I'm going to believe in these guys. I don't know... as I said, a lot of this stuff takes time. We don't have a lot of time. We've got three days to get ready, and we've got to play again.

    I think in a perfect world... I was asked about the schedule. You probably would have liked to have had an offweek after your second or third game so you could evaluate where you are and maybe tinker with a few things. We haven't had that luxury. It doesn't come until the middle of the year. We'll continue to do the best we can and get better each-and-every week.

    You don't seem to be sugarcoating anything... you're saying it the way it is. Are the players responding to that?
    That's the way I am all the time. I haven't changed. We're going to find out tomorrow and the next day and the next day.

    Overconfidence still a problem?
    [Laughing]No, I don't think so.

    How about discipline?
    I think we've been alright. What's your definition of discipline. Are we executing what we're suppose to do and doing it with the mental discipline we have to? Probably not. Are we better off-the-field going to class and doing the things we're suppose to be doing? Yes, absolutely.

    It all comes in small steps. That's another one of those things that time will heal, but you know the time is now. The sooner that they buy in and get on board, the easier it will be.

    Penalties?
    I don't think the penalties... other than the 10-penalty day against Wofford. Obviously the jumping offsides at the end of the first half, when you make a penalty in a crucial spot it stands out.

    We've got 26 penalties through four games, and 10 were in one game. That's too many obviously, but I think we're okay.

    How do you balance being honest and straight forward about how good you are now and keeping them up?
    There's positive reinforcement. As much as you want to kick them in the butt, you have to hug and kiss them too when they do it right. They've got to understand it's not all bad. You're never as bad as you think you are, and you're never as good as you think you are.

    We do some nice games. There are some kids on this football team... Darrell Blackman you talked about, and I saw DaJuan Morgan out front. He's playing spectacular. He's like Darrell as the offense is what he's been to the defense.

    There are guys who have understood what we're trying to accomplish and they have stepped their game up and played better. You can't do it with two, you can't do it with five, you need 45 or 50 guys playing that way.

    Is DeMario back to 100%?
    Nobody is 100% after the fourth week of the year... the only thing I will say is this will be the first time that he will practice all week and play in the game on Saturday. If he makes it through this week and makes it to Saturday. That is a positive. As I said before, the only luck he has had is bad luck. Hopefully it has turned for him.

    How has your offensive line play been?
    I'd say it's been average at best. We haven't controlled the line of scrimmage against any good defensive football team yet so you can't consider yourself being a good offensive line.

    Do you have any young offensive linemen you may want to break in as you go along or is pretty much the guys you have now?
    The guys we have are the guys we're playing. We're going to try and redshirt some of those freshmen... it's all we have.


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