We had the off week and I think that helped us get healthy. We had two good practices (last week) and gave them the weekend off and came back and had practice last night and we'll get into N.C. State tonight.
On the N.C. State offense:
N.C. State is playing very well right now offensively. They are ranked 20th in the country (in scoring offense) . They are averaging 31 points per game and 409 yards total offense (135 rushing/271 passing). They have a very big, strong offensive line. Tight end (George Bryan) is up for the Mackey award and is the leading receiver with 34 receptions.
Of course, when you are talking about their offense you have to talk about Russell Wilson who is ranked 17th nationally in passing efficiency. He's thrown 21 touchdown passes with six interceptions. I believe he had the NCAA record for consecutive throws without an interception earlier this year.
Jarvis Williams is their big play receiver. He has 26 catches. Owen Spencer had a career game last week with 185 yards and three touchdowns against Florida State.
On the N.C. State defense:
We have our work cut out for us. On defense, they have a couple of guys we really have to deal with. Alan-Michael Cash is a very good d-lineman and he'll be matched up against our guards. Willie Young has seven sacks this year is an excellent pass rusher. They've had some injuries, kind of similar to us.
On N.C. State's special teams:
T.J. Graham is an excellent return guy. He didn't play last week, and I don't know his status this week. He's averaging 10.4 yards on punt returns and 25 yards on kickoff returns.
On the N.C. State game:
They've lost four straight, we've lost three straight. They have a pretty potent offense. We've shown improvement on defense the last couple of weeks and that will be tested this week.
On the off week:
The biggest thing I wanted to do was try to get healthy. (Alex) Wujciak and Cory Jackson ... we kind of let them rest all week. Any one that had a nick or a bruise, we tried to let them get rested up also. We worked with our younger players and tried to see what we could improve with them also.
On how his role as a motivator has changed, if at all:
I do it constantly. I've been speaking to kids on a daily basis, individually as well as collectively. It's a very important thing for me to show by example by being up and being aggressive and not being down. I talked to our kids last night about learning some life lessons right now and where they are persevering. Especially when you are working hard and you don't see the immediate results from that. It's been my experience to keep working and eventually good things happen and that's what I plan on doing.
On the focus of coaching staff during the off week:
We are trying to get our running game going again. Our off-week, we did more stuff from a coaching aspect of what are we doing well, what we are not doing well and why are we not doing it well. We looked at explosive runs, the red zone and passing. Who's making plays and who isn't, why we aren't making sacks and the whole gamut. When you have so many guys that are nicked up, it's tough to get anything really done on the field because most of the guys you need to get it done with aren't practicing. So what we try to do is prepare for when they are practicing what we can do better as coaches.
On the strides the defense has made this season:
Defensively, we've made a lot of strides. I was looking at the ACC stats the other day and they break it down by overall games and then conference games. I think we are (eighth) in the conference in overall games in rushing defense, but when you get to conference games, we are first. There is a dramatic change there. And when you look at our last four games defensively, I think we've played pretty good with the exception of the Wake Forest first half. So I see some improvement there.