Ten Questions With Tom O'Brien

NC State's fall camp begins tonight, as the Wolfpack players and coaches take the field looking to improve on last season's 5-7 record. Head coach Tom O'Brien is back for his second year and here are some more of his thoughts on the team.

Do you like have games against teams like South Carolina to start the season?
Yes, especially for where we are at right now in our program. From the first day we came back in January, there's been a little something about the conditioning program, the workout program, you went to spring practice, you know that you're going to be the first game of the year, you're going to be on national TV. I think the intensity, I think the concentration pick up, it certainly has trough the summer because they know they're going to have to be really good early.

It's not a conference game, but to your fans, it's a big game. Are you aware of the intensity of the rivalry with East Carolina?
Yeah, I said when I got here, it doesn't matter if it says East, North or South on it, if Carolina is attached to it, it's a big game for N.C. State. It's not brain surgery. Even going to South Carolina is a big game for our people, and we look forward to going down there and seeing what we have.

"Curtis is a big part of that."

How does Curtis Crouch fit into your picture this year?
Curtis is like rest of our offensive line, we have to be much better up front. We were second to last in rushing last year. Now we moved two guys from defense, Ted Larsen and John Bedics, to the offensive line to create depth and try to become a better offensive line. Anything we can do be a better offensive line, and Curtis is a big part of that, we need to do.

Where do you stand on the debate over instituting an early signing period, and how early should it be?
I think we should have one. I would do it before Christmas, because you already have the Junior College signing day that day. And that way it gives any kid that want to make official visits, he can make three…and then a kid can pretty much make up his mind. I think too many kids today are taking scholarships and trying to parlay them into better things… You might as well get them before Christmas, have a nice practice and get them off the books, then you don't have to go babysit them in January.

With Anthony Hill out last year, you had to go to Marcus Stone who had little experience. With Anthony back, how will that change your tight end sets and your offense?
I think the key to that is Anthony Hill. A year ago we felt he was going to be the best tight end in the conference, and we certainly feel that way again now. After having played against him, he was a tremendous blocker, he could run and get up the field, he could catch the football and run with it after he got the football. He's the key to any type of tight end formation you want to be in. We always play with two tight ends, so it doesn't change that as much.

How did the recruitment of Mike Glennon happen, and how did you lure him in?
Anytime you recruit, you have your contacts and you search. We were familiar with him from our time at Boston College, and when we came to State, we were able to get him to come down. He came to camp and worked out in camp, and we were excited about what we saw. And I think he feels, and speaking for him (which I probably shouldn't do), that what we do offensively [fits] his talents.

How much pride do you take when you see a guy come in in the beginning and see the way he is when he leaves? With Matt Ryan and watching his progress, is that one of the more special parts of your job?
That's the most fun. When the kids come in, whether it is academics or football, maturation wise, to see what they become four or five years down the road. And the effect you can have on them to make them a better student, to make them a better person, and certainly to make them a better football player so they have the opportunity to go on to play at the next level, that's the most fun.

"In my opinion he
was the best high school
quarterback in the country ."

Could you tell that he was capable of coming in and contributing right away?
I don't know that yet... that he can. That's something that we have to determine in preseason practice. I know that he's a very talented individual. In my opinion he was the best high school quarterback in the country coming into the college ranks this year, for what we do. So, we'll see. There's a lot that goes into being a quarterback, if it was easy, everyone could do it.

How much do you feel Dwayne Maddox will contribute to your linebacking corp this year, and will Terrell Manning be able to contribute?
Terrell Manning will not be playing this year, that's one injury that I know. He won't play. Dwayne has to play. We're very thin at linebacker, and it's great for us that he came in and was able to get spring practice under his belt.

Does it get you down at all to consider that N.C. State was picked to finish sixth in the division, last in the division?
Consider the source.

Pack Pride Top Stories