O'Brien Talks South Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. -- NC State head coach Tom O'Brien discusses the season opener against South Carolina with the media.

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    Tom O'Brien

    Have you decided on a starting quarterback?
    No.

    When do you think you will decide?
    When we have to exchange with South Carolina... we'll do it then. If this was a normal week, we'd be doing this on Saturday. No sense rushing what we are doing right now. We just finished up the scrimmage last night.

    I have made the decision that we are going to redshirt [Mike] Glennon. While he's an exceptional talent, he's just not ready to handle some of the situations. It become apparent in the last scrimmage that we had prior to this one. We got together and talked about it... he's fine with that. It is down to [Daniel] Evans and [Russell] Wilson. [Harrison] Beck will be the third quarterback.

    Any thoughts on playing both Daniel Evans and Russell Wilson?
    That's possible, but I don't know that. My first couple of years at BC, we've had these situations. I started Matt Hasselbeck my first year, but then the next year it was Timmy Hasselbeck and Scott Mutryn. Then Mutryn started, and we had Hasselbeck with Brian St. Pierre.

    We've been in these situations, and we would put the other guy in the game sometime in the second quarter, just to get the starter out. Now, it depends on who it is. If it is Russell Wilson, maybe we will take him and put Daniel in, just so he can settle down and look at the defense. I can't answer that right now, but I've done it before.

    How much of an advantage is it for you knowing Daniel is so team-oriented?
    I think that is true, but that is also true of Russell Wilson and true of Mike Glennon, or any of them... the three of them. That is not taking anything away from Beck. All of those kids are the same way. I think that is one of the good things... I trust them all.

    Have you made a decision?
    No. We scrimmaged last night and looked at it, and then looked at it again this morning. We met and then we had to go to the all-coaches meeting this morning, so we've been doing other duties on campus.

    We'll get together again and go over the film again this afternoon, and then we will talk basically tomorrow and work hard on trying to figure out, not only the quarterback position, but all positions as we start our preparation for South Carolina tomorrow.

    Were Wilson and Evans splitting the reps?
    We only had two days of practice before we scrimmaged last night. They got most of the work, and then we gave Harrison a little work last night too because he'll be the third quarterback.

    How many positions are you still unsettled on?
    I think the offensive line. We still haven't put who the five guys that are going to be the starters are. We don't have that at fullback. We don't have that at wide receiver. We don't have that at quarterback. [Jamelle] Eugene will start and Andre [Brown] will backup at tailback. That is the only position on offense... [Anthony] Hill at tight end. We have two of them done.

    Defensively, we are pretty well set on the interior, but I'm not sure about the ends. The linebackers are pretty well set. The secondary, we are probably set on the starters, but it is just who is going to back up.

    Have you known for a while that Glennon would redshirt, but you kept him in the mix to see how how he'd handle the fire?
    I thought he was in the mix until I decided that he wasn't after the third scrimmage.

    A lot of the third scrimmage... it was game-ending situations where things have to happen fast. You are in the two-minute offense, you are in the four-minute offense. A lot of things that win games for you at the end of games.

    A lot of it is the experience factor and the college game moves an awful lot faster than the high school game did. Getting signals, knowing what the clock is doing, all of those things only come with experience. He has everything else, he just needs some time to soak.

    Does he see the benefit of redshirting?
    What we have done with redshirt quarterbacks in the past, and it goes through the history of all the guys at BC that came and played, they'll go to every quarterback meeting. They'll be in on every game plan and situation. I'll take him to all the away games, just so he travels and he learns how to do that part of it.

    We expect him to prepare each and every week like he is going to be the starting quarterback. Every guy that I had at BC has done the same thing. It is an advantage that way, so hopefully he'll learn. The best way to learn is to be on the practice field. We won't do that with him again until spring practice.

    What are some of the things you are seeing from Russell Wilson that is making this a tough decision?
    The more he plays, the better he gets and the more comfortable he feels. Everything goes fast. Well, the more you play, it slows down. Your execution gets better. The more he plays, the more... he executes the offense much better.

    When do you plan to swap depth charts with South Carolina?
    We called South Carolina and asked them when they want to do it. Whenever they want do it, we'll do it. Maybe they have some similar situations.

    I don't think so, but generally if this was a normal game week, we would do it on Sunday after a Saturday game. Last year, we did this on a Monday before the first game. Whenever they want to do it, we'll do it.

    What if they wanted to do it right now?
    I'm not ready... they will have to wait.

    How many players will you be taking to South Carolina?
    As many as we feel we have to take to win. Obviously, he likes to throw the football around, so we may have to bring a couple extra defensive linemen to rush the passer and do things like that.

    I don't like to travel with extra guys, but only guys that we feel will get into the football game and help us win.

    How do you plan on imitating the atmosphere you'll see down there?
    I don't think you can do that. I've never been one of the guys to pipe in noise and all that... you've just got to do the best job you can to prepare to win and you have to count on your senior leadership.

    The problem is we don't have a lot of senior leadership of guys who have played a lot. We moved [John] Bedics to the offensive line with [Curtis] Crouch and [Meares] Green. You've got [Anthony] Hill. You've got [Daniel] Evans and [Andre] Brown. I think that's all the seniors you have on offense. On defense, you've got [Antoine] Holmes, [Keith] Willis, Robbie Leonard, J.C. Neal, and Jeremy Gray. That's not a lot of seniors... there might be more freshmen and walk-ons on the two-deep than there are seniors.

    Regardless of which starts, are you confident you can win with either guy?
    Yes.

    Is Jamelle Eugene hurt?
    Not really.

    Do you expect him to be ready for the opener?
    Yes. He's not hurt anymore than anybody else has been. Last night we had to give Andre a lot of work so that's what we did. He hasn't had any work the last two scrimmages.

    Were you pleased with how Brown played?
    Yeah. I think that he came back, he ran hard, he ran with pretty good vision. His conditioning needs to improve, but that's why we tried to give him as much work as we could last night.

    Where is John Ware right now?
    John Ware has been suspended from school. He's academically suspended.

    Do you not expect him with the team for the duration of the fall?
    He's suspended. That doesn't mean he's out. He has to clear up some things academically, and he's going to come back.

    What do you have to do to win this game?
    With all their experience, they've got 10 starters back on defense and then they are getting three injured starters back. We're going to have to try and stay on the field the best we can.

    If they have the ball all night and throwing it around, it's going to really put our defense in a disadvantage. Somehow we've got to find a way to make first downs and stay on the field.

    And then, always on opening games you worry about the kicking game. As much as you work on it, you don't know what's going to happen that first night you punt the ball, snap the ball or do whatever you do.


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