Tom O'Brien Talks Clemson

N.C. State head coach Tom O'Brien talks about his team's matchup with Clemson this Saturday in the ACC's weekly teleconference.

ON THE MATCHUP WITH CLEMSON: It's the ACC opener for both State and Clemson so we will go down there with great anticipation to see how we will matchup with the preseason favorites in the ACC.

ON IMPROVED PLAY OF THE WOLFPACK SECONDARY: I think when we came here last year we explained the fact that previously we were a man-to-man coverage team and that we were going to a zone concept that Mike Archer brought. Sitting in the same system, not the same zone coverages all the time, but coaching the zone coverage defense plus that we have gotten a lot of pressure from our front four without having to blitz and get after the quarterback. So the pressure of the front four [has helped] and the zone concept Mike is teaching I think the kids understand it better- we are getting pretty good breaks on the football. Last year we were batting them down and this year we are catching them.

WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FROM RUSSELL WILSON? Russell is pretty much still an unknown quantity. As we said after the opening game, once we took him out and he got back in there he looked very relaxed and started moving the football team and changed field position. Looked like we had an opportunity to get ourselves in a situation to score. Once again this is going to be like a season opener for him. We'll see how it goes and hopefully he can perform to the level we think he can.

CAN YOU GAIN SOMETHING FROM THE ALABAMA GAME ON DEFENSE? Alabama, they are a different defense. They are a 3-4 defense we are a 4-3 defense. It's a different schematic than what we do. Our advantage is that Clemson is a 4-3 team so they play themselves but in the first two games they played 3-4 teams so they'll have to change some things up front. Hopefully we can take advantage of that. But it's key to stop the run. Last year we didn't stop the run last year at all and it was probably the worst game we played stopping the rush. So that point of emphasis we started with last January was to be a better defense against the run and certainly we will be tested Saturday in Death Valley.

HAVE YOU SPOKEN WITH YOUR SON (G.A. AT ALABAMA) ABOUT ALABAMA? I talked to my son. But he's a graduate assistant but sometimes they don't know what day it is. So I don't think I got a lot of information.

ON NATE IRVING: He's an individual as the year progressed last year certainly warranted more time on the field and ended up starting the last three or four games of the year. He's picked up where he left off last year. He has a great football I.Q. and he reacts fast and is very comfortable in the scheme we are in right now and he makes plays. He gets his hands on the ball ... the interception he made against South Carolina in the first week was really a remarkable play and he got a tipped ball Saturday. He always seems to be in the right place in the right time and he's the best defensive player we have today.

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