O'Brien: Pirates a Confident Team

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

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    Tom O'Brien

    "They have been wonderful to have, and they have provided great leadership."

    "They are a very confident opponent right now. They've won a lot of close games. They are scoring a ton of points. They have a great tailback in Johnson. Kass is now the quarterback and he's doing a great job throwing the ball. As I said they put up a lot of points."

    "They are very fast on defense. They will play a lot of people up front. They play a lot of people on both sides of the ball, but especially their front seven. They've been shuffling guys in and out so they've got a lot of depth and speed."

    "I think [Jamelle Eugene] will be fine. He practices as hard as anybody, he's conditioned better than anybody on the football team so I don't think anymore carries is going to affect him."

    "It gave us an opportunity to go back to work fundamentals... we worked hard on individuals and fundamentals to try and get better as a football team. It had to help us."

    "I don't know. I think we're playing the best players we have. I think that's the conclusion we came to, and we've got to try and make those guys better."

    "You have to make an evaluation on their strengths and weaknesses and where you can make them stronger."

    "Specifically on defense, long runs and long passes we have to cut those out. You have to cut out the turnovers on offense. That's the particular emphasis as far as the team goes."

    "I don't know that. It depends on if he can practice this week. The medical people think he should be able to but I haven't seen him on the practice field yet... hence he's questionable."

    "I think there are some things that certainly we can do better. That's part of what we had to figure out."

    "Anything with Carolina in it is obviously a rivalry game here. I think that's good. If they are excited, then we ought to be excited."

    "I understand what a rivalry game is. I'm sure we'll figure it out this week... it was pretty obvious when I went around on the pulled pork circuit this summer that this was an important game."

    "I think you always assume you're going to lose a guy or two but never for season-ending injuries... to have the amount, I don't think you could ever foresee that this would happen to a football team. It did. It is what it is and we have to do our best. One man's misfortune is another man's opportunity. Jamelle Eugene wanted to be the starting tailback and now he is."

    "We have two tailbacks. That's why we started playing Underwood a couple of weeks ago as the third tailback to get him ready for this situation. If you lose another tailback then it's pretty tough to run the offense then maybe [moving Darrell Blackman] is a consideration but I don't think so right now."

    "His problem all the way through preseason was fumbling the football."

    "If you take away long runs, long passes, and you take away the turnover deficit you're probably looking at a different record right now. But we can't do that so the key is we have to play these next six games one game as a time and make sure after these six we're on the positive side of the turnover margin and there is not as many long runs and long passes... starting with East Carolina."

    "I think we look for a strong arm first. We look for a guy who has mobility, but it doesn't have to be great speed. He's got to be able to avoid the rush in the pocket and buy time to make plays. The hardest thing to measure is his understanding of the passing game. That, with a measure of his competitive spirit... the smarter guys, the guys with the strong arms, the guys that are great competitors end up being the best quarterbacks, in our offense, not necessarily the fastest runners."

    "We're very happy he's there. He's a tough guy and he doesn't miss anything. He's a throw-back type of player."

    "I'm really happy for those kids. I think they deserve everything that they've attained. [Boston College] has a heckuva a football team. They've got 17 or 18 fifth-year seniors, seven fourth-year seniors, a fourth-year punter, they've got a lot of experience... a defense that was built to win and maybe the best quarterback in the nation. Those are great kids and I'm really happy for their success, but I'm real happy to be here too. As I said before, this wasn't a one-game or a one-year deal. This was a five or ten-year deal. Time will tell if I knew what I was doing."

    "We've turned the ball over. That's an offensive problem and that's a coaching problem. We'll get it straightened out."

    "We've got good effort out of them the last two games, better than the previous four games... hopefully they are encouraged by that because we were as a staff."

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